Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

27/05/2014 - 31/05/2014

Production Details


Combining physical theatre, hip hop dance, dark comedy and the drama of the everyday, Winners is a motivational guide on how to win. Originally conceived at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School, Winners is a collection of four short works – bringing the audience a diverse comedy experience. 

Winners is brought to you by But Seriously Though Collective– a group of recent Toi Whakaari graduates. Winners is on at The Basement, Lower Greys Avenue, Auckland CBD, 1010; it opens on Tuesday 27th May at 6.30pm and runs until Saturday 31st May. Exploring the light that can always be found within the dark, Winners promises a unique and original comedy show – with something for everyone in this mash-up of fresh new works.

Lucy Suttor – Meg  
Never underestimate the potential of the seemingly smallest lives. Suttor invites you to follow Meg, as she grapples with what it takes to hold your own in a fantastically mundane world. Meg is both magical and incredibly bleak – and the stakes have never been higher in this small-town supermarket epic. 

Keagan Carr Fransch – Waiting for GoDoor
You’re stuck in a waiting room with a colourful bunch of fools. What do you do? You hurry up and wait for opportunity to knock.  Carr Fransch’s lovable yet hapless group of fools engage and test the audience through a piece that is sure to charm, confront and crack you up.

Susie Berry – Journey to the Drive-Through  
Dustin Hoffman on “Tootsie”: 
“…I was shocked that I wasn’t more attractive; because I thought – if I was going to be a woman, I should be as beautiful as possible…I said; I have to make this picture, because I think I am an interesting woman. And I know that if I met myself at a party, I would never talk to that character, because she doesn’t fulfil physically the demands that we’re brought up to think women should have in order to ask them out…there’s too many interesting women I have not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed”. Using movement, mime and hip-hop dance, Berry confronts the mind games we play when we allow voices that are not our own inside our heads. 

Taylor Hall – Something is Coming!
Realise your potential and join the revolution! This piece revolves around themes of empathy, delusion, pressure and the power of influence.  Who do we choose to listen to? Which direction do we go? What do we produce? Exploring archetypes drawn from modern society – Hall explores dark themes through lighter forms.

6.30pm : 27th – 31st of May 2014
The Basement Theatre

Fresh new talents to relish

Review by Johnny Givins 28th May 2014

Basement Theatre again opens its studio venue to recent graduates from Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School with a phenomenally energetic, creative and disciplined series of four one-actor performances called Winners! 

Each piece was originally conceived as part of the 2013 Go Solo Season where third year students devised, wrote and performed a solo work (directed by Anya Tate-Manning).  This show, directed by Luci Hare, introduces four of these fresh professional actors to Auckland audiences at the beginning of their careers. 

A young graduate actor has trained for anything the creative industry can throw at them and is ready to both grab and create opportunities and apply their new craft skills in performance.  This needs total commitment (physically, vocally and emotionally) as they harness their growing creative energy and techniques. All these young graduates illustrate these achievements. 

Winners! has three women and one male actor, each with a very different dynamic. Its excellence is only compromised by a very silly ‘linking’ comedy in which the actors ‘compete’ for the next performance slot.  The sound track is the kitsch music of Chariots of Fire and the slow motion action is trite. It’s unnecessary and only adds superficiality to the show.

Lucy Suttor in Meg becomes a small town supermarket checkout operator who has the boring and mundane outer activity but with a fantastical inner world.  Her bleak daily life comes alive as she imagines what could be if only …! It has a drive and pace that is only broken with unnecessary short black outs. A new female popular staff member conjures deep jealously and sets the story to a surprising conclusion.

Keagan Carr Fransch’s Waiting for GoDoor is set in a waiting room where six characters emerge trying to convince an unseen door keeper to “let them through the door”.  Fransch, who hails from Zimbabwe and sounds English, plays the six roles with clarity, energy, and precision.  Each has their own voice, physical world and personal drive.  There is the East London saucy hairdresser, the hip hop groover, the Biafran refugee, the philosopher and the silent cleaner.  Watch out for the ending again: it is quiet yet profound. 

Susie Berry’s Journey to the Drive-Though has the most fascinating hip hop sound track as she creates a number of characters around one character who is getting takeaways at a drive through. Watch out for the banana gulping typist!  This is a full body actor who moves with lightning speed and dances with the joy of a South Auckland hip hop team. Nothing seems to stand in her way.  There are no live vocals but she exudes energy and the joy of life which is infectious. 

The big surprise for me is Taylor Hall with Something is Coming: one of the best pieces of solo performance I have seen for some time.  He captures the essence of great theatre in creating a connection with the audience which is startling and unique.  Starting with his back to the audience in a meditative pose with a yoga-like chant that vibrates the theatre, he turns and comes toward the audience … and keeps on going … right into the audience whom he touches and anoints as if he is some god like figure.  The wonderful thing is, he is totally convincing and every person he touches responds in kind.  There is even a divine orgasm through index finger connection with a beautiful young woman – hilarious but deeply affective. 

As he morphs into an alien creature, then a sort of lizard, then appears to vomit a new creation, the audience leans forward, just waiting for the next revelation.  Each creation had a soul.  This young actor has discovered those important great theatre connections: talent connected to imagination to superb physical and vocal techniques, and finally a total commitment to the creation that emerges.  It is breath-taking and also very funny. 

Winners! is an excellent 75-minute show that lets us relish fresh new talents of the future. It only plays this week at The Basement Theatre Studio.


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