Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

14/05/2014 - 17/05/2014

BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington

06/05/2014 - 10/05/2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details

After last year’s sell out season, New Zealand’s tallest comedic duo has returned to the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival. And this time, it’s personal … that uncomfortable, skin-crawly type of personal.

Ludicrously choreographed and dangerously fast-paced, The Bakery Presents: Tighty Whiteys, putting the theatrical microscope on the unspoken conduct of Friendship. With their award winning formula of sketch, song, dance, and showing too much of their bodies, Hayley Sproull & Chris Parker are set to take things to the ‘nek’ level. And only a true friend would laugh at that joke.

Simon and Garfunkel, Thelma and Louise, Parker and Sproull … Sproull and Parker? These two have got this duo thing down. What makes a great partnership? How close is too close? And is it okay to spoon for warmth and warmth only?

Chris and Hayley are tight; they’ve cried together, laughed together and for a little while shared the same bed together. They’ve got a firm handle on what it means to be in a platonic friendship. Now it’s time to strip it down and go commando. With a passion for making audiences laugh, cry and reflect, The Bakery are committed to exploring new ways of performing that are hilarious, seriously creative and innovative. They’re tight, taught and tuned. The creators of Outsiders’ Guide and Miss Fletcher Sings the Blues bring you Tighty Whiteys – a brief exploration into an insanely supportive friendship.

Hyperactive comedy” – Theatrescenes

Off-the-wall yet all too recognizable.” – Theatreview

Hayley Sproull – 2013 Chapman Tripp Theatre Award, Most Promising Female Newcomer 2012 NZ International Comedy Festival Best Newcomer

As part of the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival in cahoots with Old Mout Cider, grab some mates and join us for a great night of laughs from 24 April – 18 May. For the full Comedy Fest show line-up head to comedyfestival.co.nz

Dates: Tue 6 – Sat 10 May, 6.30pm
Venue: BATS Theatre, Cnr Cuba & Dixon Sts
Tickets: $15 – $18
Bookings: 04 802 4175 // bats.co.nz

Dates: Wed 14 – Sat 17 May, 10pm
Venue: The Basement, Lower Greys Ave
Tickets: $15 – $18
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) // ticketek.co.nz

Grab your BFF

Review by Matt Baker 16th May 2014

Comedy duos have been a long-standing part of the entertainment industry; from Abbott and Costello to Martin and Lewis, the combination of the complementary and oppositional dynamic that is required for success is a fundamentally subtle gameplay, and not one to be underestimated. It is this dynamic, and the various by-products of it, that are highlighted in Hayley Sproull and Chris Parker’s 2014 International Comedy Festival show, Tighty Whiteys

Following an enthusiastic and well-choreographed opening number, the show immediately kicks off with a great amount of hubristic proclamations of love and respect for one another, which quickly dissolves due to the foibles that inevitably arise when addressing every aspect of a close friend. [More


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Supportively insane enabling of possible genius

Review by Nik Smythe 15th May 2014

It’s odd seeing microphones on The Basement stage: somewhat overkill in such an intimate venue.  It turns out they’re not there to hide behind, they’re just two of several well-appointed props for Hayley Sproull and Chris Parker’s sophomore post-modern avant-garde multi-media social essay slash comedy double-act.

Following up 2013’s impetuous guide-to-life Outsider’s Guide, this time it’s personal.  Which is to say it addresses, interrogates, slaps around a bit then kisses and makes up with the always-relevant topic of Friendship.  Specifically their own friendship, of which they are celebrating the five-year anniversary, since they first met on the Drama School dance floor.

The format is recognisable to anyone who saw them last year: a dynamic synchronised dance routine leads into a madly sophisticated rhythmic beat-poetry duet introducing eachother and the friendship theme.  Then they talk a bit about what they’ve learned from eachother before busting into another rhyme accompanied by gymnastic moves with a Swiss-ball representing friendship. 

This rapid-fire form is maintained throughout the generous hour; if any scene looks like it might be going to settle down they violently intercept it with the next concept, delineating each progressive ‘friendship’ stage with twee chiming chapter title voiceovers: ‘Honesty’, ‘Boundaries’, ‘Confrontation’ … etc. 

Exchanges of gifts of affection and lovingly composed acrostic poems are interspersed with spiteful retaliations to each other’s less commendable traits.  Sometimes they engage with the audience, subverting the typical stand-up small talk with their thinly veiled agendas to put one over on the other and/or make them jealous. 

There is of course an undeniable core of truth to Parker and Sproull’s treatise on the nature and function of being a friend.  As abstract and absurd as their paradoxical cerebral stupidity may appear, perhaps this is just your typical comedy-leaning Drama School graduates’ natural way of expressing themselves.  Pretension with a genuine purpose. 

The promotional claim to this show being a ‘brief exploration into an insanely supportive relationship’ might more accurately have said ‘supportively insane’, as in enabling each other’s incorrigible lunacy.  I’m tempted to call it genius.


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Mighty good

Review by John Smythe 07th May 2014

It’s becoming a trend for Toi Whakaari graduates who have gone on to be in shows together to then make a show about very close friendship and the ways it gets tested. 

In this year’s Fringe, having toured last year in EnsembleImpact’s She’ll Be Write, Ria Simmons, Carrie Green and Andrew Patterson created I Could Live Here to explore that theme. Now, as a sequel to last year’s Outsiders’ Guide in the Comedy Festival, Hayley Sproull and Chris Parker bring us Tighty Whiteys.

“This time we’re going inside,” they proclaim. “And this time, it’s personal,” their publicity promises; “that uncomfortable, skin-crawly type of personal.” Yup. They certainly deliver on their promise in what is now established as their own inimitable style, abetted by directors Aaron Cortesi and Leon Wadham. 

After some pre-start creepy weepy, it’s all upbeat dancey wancey … until it’s not. This prologue disjunction /dysfunction captures the essence of the aspiration v reality scenarios to come. This is the high-fiving, party-partying, ‘Yay!’ generation after all, thoroughly conditioned to project total awesomeness no matter what. 

Rhyming couplets mash the metaphors splendidly. Mental telepathy proves just how close they are. The unveiling of … what they’ve created to celebrate the fifth anniversary of their first meeting in a dance studio at drama school exposes the proverbial writing on the wall. And that’s just the intro sequence.  

As with Outsiders’ Guide, but without the projections, there are chapter titles: ‘Values’; ‘Affirmation’; ‘Honesty’; ‘Experimentation’; ‘Invitation’; ‘Collaboration’; ‘Boundaries’; ‘Substitution’; ‘Confrontation’; ‘Resurrection’; ‘Restoration’.  Yes, it could be described as a 21st century Restoration Comedy; a Travesty of Manners; (a Comedy of Manus?).  

The Swiss ball as metaphor, a eulogy the deceased gets to improve upon and acrostic poems are all employed to prove the value of friendship. A recurring ‘awkward moments at a party’ sequence, confidential chats about embarrassing moments, significant gift-giving and the minefield of “I’ve been meaning to say this for a while now” honesty all serve to explore their theme further. And many memorable moments prove to be set-ups that pay off later.

Song and dance punctuate the show and boy /girl do they nail it! But hey, everyone knows that BPFs (Best Platonic Friends) should not try to go to the ‘next level’, don’t they? OMG – what some actors will do to re-examine eternal truths …!

When reality bites and the truth hurts, the line in the sand becomes a chasm. So how do you audition a substitute friend? And how do you resurrect the lost friendship? Suffice to say audience participation is very well handled and everything comes together most satisfactorily.  

As a finale number, ‘Friendship’ from the 1930s American musical Anything Goes, rounds the hour off brilliantly. These Tighty Whiteys are mighty good.


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