Tomas Ford's CHASE!

Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

22/02/2017 - 23/02/2017

Q Theatre, The Vault, Auckland

28/02/2017 - 04/03/2017

NZ Fringe Festival 2017 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Auckland Fringe 2017

Production Details

Ford. Tomás Ford. A fantastic crooner by night, a terrible assassin by day. Join him as he travels the world on an epic manhunt, without realising that he just might be the one being hunted.

Hilarious and nail-bitingly tense, the mission plays out over eleven killer new songs and globe-trotting visuals.  

Directed by Levon J Polinelli (Werewolf Priest!) 

“Lights! Camera! Action! It’s a film without a camera! A vivid tale of passion, betrayal and way too much booze that stays with you after the final rifle sight has faded from the screen.” ★★★★ – Ben Walters, The Scotsman 

“funny, intriguing and sexy.” – Myron My, Theatre Press  

“Tomás Ford isn’t so much several steps ahead of the competition as living on an entirely separate planet” – The Music Perth   

Coming in 2017: the CHASE! web series and LP. It kicks off January 26, with a new video every week. Check it (and Tomás’ other stupid videos) out at or add Tomás Ford on Facebook.

Gryphon Theatre – 22 Ghuznee St, Te Aro, Wellington
Feb 23-25 2017
TICKETS: $20/$17/$17/$16

Q Theatre The Vault
Tuesday Feb 28 – Saturday Mar 4 2017
$16-$20 (booking fees may apply)

Theatre , Musical , Comedy ,

1 hr

Speed on Stage

Review by Tim George 04th Mar 2017

A fast-moving blend of singing, ranting and waterboarding, Tomás Ford’s Chase! is like a fever dream during a drive-in movie.  

Framed in front of two large screens, secret agent Tomás Ford (Tomás Ford) regales the audience with the story of his chase around the globe to locate the woman he loves.

Behind our psychopathic anti-hero, black and white footage flickers across the screens. A mix of media clips, music videos and Ford’s own filmed sequences, the screens act as a reflection of Ford’s subconscious, as unpleasant memories and fantasies bubble to the surface. [More]


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Entertaining scenes and dull songs makes chase more like a walk

Review by Cassandra Tse 24th Feb 2017

Tomás Ford stands in front of two black-and-white film projections as he ushers the audience into the auditorium, haranguing those who don’t dare to sit in the front row. His onstage persona is confident, swaggering and aggressive, singling out specific audience members to make the object of his jokes.

It takes a while to become accustomed to Ford’s demeanour; it seems that an uncompromising commitment to unsettling his audience is a core part of Ford’s work in ‘alt-cabaret’, for which he is well-known in Australia.

Tomás Ford’s Chase, however, is not so much a cabaret as a one man musical-comedy-thriller. Ford plays himself as an Australian secret agent whose wife mysteriously disappears, setting him off on a drunken journey around Southeast Asia to find the culprit. The expected tropes of the spy genre – femme fatales, bumbling henchmen, double agents, last-minute escapes – are trotted out in homage to James Bond and John le Carré, with quite a bit of Jason Bourne-style violence thrown in for good measure.

The comedy comes from Ford treating his profession as if it was a mid-level bureaucratic position, comparing the less savoury elements of spying (like torture) to “something you hate at your job – filing. Or Karen from HR.”

The story plays out through Ford’s energetic first person narration, with seamlessly integrated projections working to build a broader sense of the world beyond the stage. The show’s sound design is excellent, if sometimes distorted by the Gryphon’s sound system; the entire show is scored, with driving bass beats keeping the tension elevated and musical shifts allowing for elegant transitions from scene to scene.

Every few minutes, this score gives way to a full musical number. Ford’s voice is a parody of a rock tenor, replete with guttural growls, soulful falsetto and Creed-style vowel mangling; his raw vocal power is impressive. Musically, the moody original songs that punctuate Chase are tuneful, if forgettable.

Lyrically, however, they leave a lot to be desired. Each has a pop song structure, with vaguely evocative verses (usually just stating the situation that the singer has found himself in) building to repeated choruses – and no attempt is made to make these lyrics funny. This means that any comedic momentum Ford has built up in the preceding scene is lost once each song begins, and the audience resigns itself to silently waiting for two minutes for the next joke. 

It’s unclear how Ford intends the songs to function in the show. Is their mere presence, as musical interludes in a violent spy thriller, supposed to be inherently funny? Or are they dramatic moments, meant to make us feel a genuine connection to Ford’s unlikeable spy persona? They don’t seem to succeed on either level.

This is not to say that the entire show is unsuccessful. Ford gets great comic mileage out of several set-pieces, most notably a fight scene in which he demonstrates via projection a number of idiosyncratic combat moves, such as ‘The Shredder’, which is any move that results in the agent throwing his assailants off a roof and into a rubbish skip, or the ‘Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill’, in which the agent is attacked by go-go dancers – “less of a move, and more of a problem,” as Ford wryly puts it. A sudden cut into a public service announcement reminding viewers not to imitate Ford’s violent actions at home is also an entertaining moment of meta-humour. 

With the on-stage action split between entertaining scenes and dull songs, the result is an uneven show that excels on many technical levels but never manages to deliver the mad-cap exhilaration promised by its premise. Without building the momentum required for a comedy thriller, Tomás Ford’s Chase ends up feeling more like a walk.


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