Fringe Bar, 26-32 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington

26/02/2014 - 01/03/2014

Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

17/02/2016 - 20/02/2016

NZ Fringe Festival 2014

NZ Fringe Festival 2016 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details


(NZ Fringe 2014)


Body-poet Sabrina D’Angelo tells the story of her life (and the life of her story). Enter a bizarre silent film world where bears, bum-worms and Madame Bovary burst forth like hot-air buffoons. Described as ‘Kate Bush meets Mr. Bean’, Sabrina probes into the grand themes of life, love and identity with the grace and zest of an excited toddler. Wickedly funny and heartwarmingly tender, it’s the physical comedy that’s all in your mind.

“An amazing array of physical comedy on display. You will be rewarded with dozens of laughs and get many more as you revisit the stranger moments after you leave.” Crikey

“Will have you in stitches.” The Age

“Horrifically funny.” Time Out Melbourne

“Comedy equals tragedy plus mime.” All mimes

Created with Cal McCrystal (One Man, Two Guvnors) & Justin Heazlewood (The Bedroom Philosopher) 

GENRE: Physical Theatre, Comedy
VENUE: Gryphon Theatre 
Full: $18.00

2014 Production:

A physical comedy that’s all in your mind

Following a smash hit season at the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2013, Australian body-poet Sabrina D’Angelo makes her NZ Fringe Festival debut with the dazzlingly absurd physical comedy, Why Do I Dream?

Described as ‘Kate Bush meets Mr Bean’, Sabrina is the dream weaver in this one woman tour de farce, combining 80’s dance, 60’s folk ballads, 90’s magic tricks and a haunting teddy bear for all ages. Why Do I Dream? was created with acclaimed UK comedy director Cal McCrystal (Mighty Boosh, Sacha Baron Cohen) and plays at the Fringe Bar for four nights only.

Enter a bizarre old-gold world where bears and bum-worms burst forth like hot-air buffoons. 

Why Do I Dream? sees Sabrina unlocking a Pandora’s Bumbag of characters – you’ll meet a tragic magician, a trash fashion model, a low rent Madame Bovary and a high rent chimp. Why Do I Dream? is the story of her life (and the life of her story).

Why Do I Dream? Is the result of the Australia Council’s JUMP Mentorship grant. Sabrina travelled to the UK to work intensively with renowned comedy director Cal McCrystal, whose credits include the forthcoming Spiderman movie and the West End smash One Man, Two Guvnors.

Sabrina made waves at Melbourne International Comedy Festival with her debut physical comedy Body Poet, directed by The Bedroom Philosopher. She joins the new wave of alternative physical comedy, along with the likes of award-winning Dr. Brown and Slow Clap. 

Sabrina’s previous works include Body Poet, directed by the Bedroom Philosopher and presented at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2013, We Are Happy (Melbourne Fringe Festival 2012) and Fin (Melbourne Fringe Festival 2010). She is an alumna of Victorian College of the Art’s Puppetry program and is thrilled to be part of the growing movement of physical comedy and alternative female performers.  

“Will have you in stitches” – The Age
“Horrifically funny” – TimeOut Melbourne
“Bizarrely hilarious… a dazzling array of physical comedy” – Crikey
“Comedy equals tragedy plus mime” – All mimes 


VENUE: Fringe Bar, 26-32 Allen St. 
DATES: 26th Feb – 1st March
TIME: 9.30pm (50min) 
TICKETS: $10-20 
BOOKINGS: fringe.co.nz

Sabrina D'Angelo

Physical , Dance , Comedy ,

50 mins

Deserving of a much larger audience

Review by Anna Bate 18th Feb 2016

Aptly billed as a physical theatre, comedy ‘Why Do I Dream?’, performed and devised by Sydney-based Sabrina D’Angelo, opened last night at Gryphon Theatre in central Wellington.    

This show generally traces the narrative of  ‘Madame Bovary’ by Gustave Flaubert and is also peppered with tales from Sabrina’s own past. Structurally it weaves between sincerely delivered, concise text and absurd, physical, silent scenarios.   

Armed with a fanny pack full of foldable props Sabrina is a magician of sorts, consistently surprising with wild comic acts, which correlate, and provide a counter, to the traditionally delivered ‘story’. She is an exceptionally diverse performer, physically and vocally –  and she is also a wonderful host.

Full credit to Sabrina D’Angelo as she easily carries her small audience with her throughout the duration of the work. It would be brilliant to see this show played to a fuller house. You could imagine the volume of contagious laughter that would reverberate throughout space. Infecting all. So help make it happen! With a 9.30pm start it’s a perfect dinner and show combo night. 

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Intimate body comedy executed with dedication

Review by Lucy O'Connor 27th Feb 2014

Sadly, not many people decided to come out to the Fringe Bar tonight. I would say the more affluent are at an Arts Festival show while the typically less are spending their time and money at the bar during Orientation Week. No need to explain who this group is. The Fringe punters that are here tonight are in good spirits however, which is the main thing for most comedy actors.  

Sabrina D’Angelo starts by admitting she had no idea she was Chinese until she was 16. This is well received albeit a tad hesitantly for any PC New Zealander anxious about potential racial slurs. She explains she will be taking us on a physical journey through Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and reads a summarized passage from a paperback. But this is for the most part the only speaking we hear from D’angelo.

If you know the novel well, you may loosely follow the physically re-enacted story line. If not, you are still in for a positively absurd show. Key word: positively.

Her body comedy executed with dedication, patience and without fear of discomfort. More than once, we are astounded as D’Angelo throws herself fully in to what would be, and probably have been, others’ nightmares. Her nether regions are referred to on several occasions and by using several different objects. At one point, a terrified audience member is heard saying, “I’ve never nearly been violated by a teddy before.” Well, D’Angelo practically was. I would be calling the cops had her own hand not been in control of the bear!

Her use of props is ever surprising, notably the bum bag she wears, which is so much more. It is a strangely sexual monster and from it emerge the props. One thin pale pink scarf is presented and re-created to represent several different characters while a simple plastic bag becomes a nappy, a phallic symbol and a man’s beard. She is an everyday-object illusionist.

D’Angelo has more commitment than a suicide bomber and is a practiced actor, which is most apparent through isolation. The seemingly disconnected way in which her body moves makes it seem as if each limb has its own brain. While her face creates the most amazing expressions, her arms are entirely different entities portraying different characteristics and motivations.  

It’s not 100% physical though. She stops at appropriate points to either summarize the next chapters in the novel or to give the audience a small break from interpreting her movements. The self-created and self titled ‘Intermission Impossible’ displays her capability in delivering a punch line as audience members are tricked into being the joke (in a completely harmless, non-red-cheek-inducing-way). 

It is an intimate performance, and not just because there isn’t much of a crowd. Not once does D’Angelo hold back from creating those frozen moments of awkwardness-forcing. If this really is a re-enactment of a 19th Century French novel, I wish I’d had her as a teacher in high school.


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