Basement Theatre Studio, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

25/02/2013 - 01/03/2013

Auckland Fringe 2013

Production Details



Sam and Jelly know the world is full of beasts. They’ve seen them, and they’ve been seen. Showing at the Basement Studio from February 25th to March 1st, Wild Beasts will follow these two little girls as they run from the beasts they know, right into the arms of the beasts they don’t… begging the question: is it really better the devil you know?

Brought to you by Lucy + Luke Create, the brand spanking new theatre company from Kitsch Bitches duo Lucy Bennett and Luke Wilson, Wild Beasts will transform the cosy Basement Studio into the whimsical woods the beasts inhabit. You will be transported to a world as wonderful as it is worrying, a world that will remind you of the questions you have been asking since childhood… What is real? What is make-believe? And can you ever really return home?

Auckland Fringe runs from 15 February to 10 March 2013. For more Auckland Fringe information go to www.aucklandfringe.co.nz

February 25th – March 1st, 8.30pm,
Duration: 55 minutes
Venue: The Basement Studio, Lower Greys Avenue, Auckland CBD.
Tickets are $15 adult, $10 students and children
Bookings: iTicket – http://www.iticket.co.nz/  or (09) 361 1000 

55 mins

A fantastic idea

Review by Stephen Lunt 26th Feb 2013

Reading the title and the premise of Wild Beasts reminds me of Where the Wild Things Are and this dark fairy-tale leads you along a very similar path.  In The Basement Studio we enter a tent, meticulously sewn together from every patterned sheet you can imagine.  Fairy-lights surround the seating and sitting down on cushions and cross legged on the floor, we are ready to be told a story.

This story surrounds two little girls, expertly acted by Katrina Wesseling and Sez Niederer, who have run away from home.  The fact that these little girls are played by fully grown adults never seems to be an issue, as feeling like children ourselves, they are just one of us.  We are visited by several ‘Beasts’ taking many forms, some closer to human, some animal and some, well, we aren’t quite sure even they know what they are; they are just ‘me’. 

The tent within a tent is an inspired idea. The Boy within teases us by only revealing the shadow of his face.  It also adds a comic element to this black comedy, when the girls heads poke out the top of the tent in true Alice in Wonderland style.  Lighting gives the piece a cosy atmosphere, with only one main light at floor level and the Sucker Beast being introduced using only a flash-light.

The true star of this story though, is the writing.  Written by Lucinda Bennett, Wild Beasts has a unique style and darkness to it that balances the comedy beautifully.  Lucinda has certainly achieved the tone she was after with her quirky dialogue.

Unfortunately as the show progresses, it seems to lose its way a little.  We never quite find out why the girls have run away from home, which may make for matter for intrigue but it also leads to a lack of empathy for them.  Our only clues lie within the beasts. We see so little of some of them, though, that we are again left guessing. 

The actors playing the beasts tend to retreat into repetitive voice patterns which may be a sign of the lack of knowledge surrounding them too.  Some of the more interesting devices used in the piece could also lift some of the more static moments, which tend to linger a little too long. 

This is a fantastic idea though and with further character development and trusting in the writing, there is definitely a great play here. 

Wild Beasts is hugely entertaining Prepare to run away to the imagination of your youth; I did.  If you miss telling stories under Mum’s old sheets, get along to The Basement. They’ve even made the tent for you.  


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