Martin Luckie Park, Lavaud Street, Berhampore, Wellington

24/02/2023 - 26/02/2023

NZ Fringe Festival 2023

Production Details


Something unexpected has come to life in Martin Luckie Park… will you be there to see it? U R Here is a brand new live event experience: a show, a game, a walk in the park – a day out like you’ve never had before!

Barbarian Productions bring their radical theatre magic to the great outdoors, transforming a little-known park into an open-world adventure full of weirdness and wonder. Luckie you! Are you ready to play?

Suitable for the adventurous at heart – come for an hour, or until they close at 6pm. It’s your game at your pace. Suitable for all ages.

You’ll find Martin Luckie Park on Lavaud Street, between Berhampore and Island Bay.

Martin Luckie Park, Lavaud Street, Berhampore
Fri 24 – Sun 26 Feb 2023
Various times [see here]

Cast members are: Ben Ashby, Batanai Mashingaidze, Elliot Vaughan, Emma Barrett, Hannah Kelly, J'than Morgan, Maria Williams, Regan Taylor, Sepelini Mua'au, Stevie Hancox-Monk, Vida Gibson, Nī Dekkers Reihana, Arlo Gibson, Finley Hughes, Jacob Brown, Trae Te Wiki, Anais Reymond, Bethany Miller, Joe Folau, John Ulu Va'a, Kyra Loomans, Mycah Keall, Poe Tiare Tararo, Roy Iro, Waitahi McGee and Gideon Smith.

Outdoor , Puppetry , Theatre ,

Unique Fringe work offers joy in the stories and worlds they imply

Review by Emma Maguire 25th Feb 2023

Let me preface this review by writing that I saw this show in the rain, by myself attached to a group, and as an adult. All three of these factors have coloured my view on the piece. I absolutely recommend your getting along to see this show as it is a performance work unlike many others you’ll ever get to see again.

Barbarian’s U R HERE markets itself as a “new live event experience; a show, a game, a walk in the park,” and it’s certainly all of those things. Sprawled across Berhampore’s Martin Luckie Park, a cast and crew of 20+ brings abstract puppetry, music, games and introspective questions to life via clowning and illustrious costumes.

There’s something growing in Martin Luckie Park – a creature, perhaps – and some of our hosts are fascinated by it. Others want to sing it a love song. Regardless, it’s a big secret and only by completing some games, finding our mantras and speaking our truths can we find out what.

The strengths of this work truly lie in the performers. All are welcoming, inhabiting bizarre and beautiful characters with ease. We’re greeted by the ‘Aunties’, all dressed in 80s athletics fare, who get us into groups and lead us into warmups. We scream mantras, and I’m buoyed along by this welcoming energy for a while as I bob through activities down on the field; writing innate truths on popsicle sticks, and recording my voice inside a giant metal egg. Creatures visit as I do, with large paper mache heads (one looks like a cross between a cow and a flower), who ask, “Whooooo are you?” I wish I knew.   

On our spin about the park we find ourselves with the Banana Roses, a band having a practice amongst the pine trees. Dressed in white suits with stegosaurus spikes, this band is my highlight of the show as they sing us the song they’ve made up for the creature, alongside other hit tunes. Other creature groups delight the small children in my group; a character dressed in an elaborate fabric and metal costume reaches out to us and then turns and hisses, running away when we get too close. These performances are delightful, a masterwork of body control and skill.

What doesn’t quite resonate with me is the overall thrust of the show. So many good ideas come together within the piece, but not with much synchronicity – such is often the challenge of devised work. The aligned joy and energy of the work that I felt when entering the park quickly falls away, and soon I am walking between performance groups placed too far apart in an endless field, losing much of the flow and idea of the world. It does not feel like a synthesized flow of a show, but rather one that leaves me dissonant and a little lost, wondering why I am standing in a field with wet shoes.

What I also find challenging is the description of the accessibility of the venue. I’m a city/flat hiker so I have a reasonable level of fitness, but I did not anticipate walking downhill through gorse to get between performance spots, on uneven and slippery terrain. I know this is partially due to weather conditions, but it should have been more descriptive on this show’s event listing, as there’s significant difference between flat pathed trails or grass (like the anticipated top of Martin Luckie Park) and other terrain. The conditions are such that they aggravate a previous injury of mine and I was limping heavily by the time the show ended.  In all, U R HERE has some gorgeous performances and excellent crowd work, but suffers from a common challenge of devised performance – finding a definitive point amongst the spectacle. However, I absolutely recommend you check it out. It’s one of the most unique Fringe works I’ve ever seen, and I’m sure younger people will find joy in the stories and worlds they imply. More outdoor theatre please!


John Smythe February 25th, 2023

The "walking downhill" is definitely a thing but "through gorse" is misleading. The track is well clear of some baby gorse. I concur with the pleasure to be had - a wealth of Wellington talent adds heaps of value. As for "the creature", was it abject servitude or adoration it accolytes were expressing. Initially thinking it may be an enemy, I realise it is an anemone.

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