Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

28/04/2012 - 05/05/2012

BATS Theatre, Wellington

08/05/2012 - 12/05/2012

NZ International Comedy Festival 2012

Production Details


NZ’s theatrical comedy wonder-kids are back!

Once again, the comedy writing triumvirate of Natalie Medlock (Shortland St, I AM YETI), Dan Musgrove (Underbelly, TOYS), and Tom Sainsbury (SuperCity, CRIMS), bring their warped world of hilarious shtick to the NZ Comedy Festival – at Auckland’s BASEMENT Theatre from April 28, and BATS Theatre in Wellington, from May 8.

It’s been one year since Tom Sainsbury killed the Yeti that seduced him and ruined his marriage. Life was hard after that. He cried. Big tears. But now life is great…he has a new flat, new flatmates, and he has jaundice. It’s almost perfect. With the help of his actor flatmates, Nat and Dan – Tom escapes into a world of pure imagination. But is this new life a reality or the result of some messed-up amateur role-play? Is the Yeti properly dead? And why is his liver failing?

From the writers of the smash hits Christ Almighty!, TOYS, and the co-writer of TV’s SuperCity, YETI IS DEAD/I AM TOM  is edge-of-your-seat theatre, and fall-off-your-seat comedy. Think The Muppets meets Modern Family: one part sketch comedy, one part- ludicrous pop cultural mash up – a tale of self-discovery and recovery – in picturesque Grey Lynn.   

 “Masters of observation”- Theatreview

“Ferocious comic talents…” – Theatreview

As part of the NZ International Comedy Festival 2012

Dates:  Sat 28 April, Tue 1 – Sat 5 May, 7pm
Venue:  The Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave,
Tickets:  Adults $20, Conc.$14
Bookings:  0800 TICKETEK or

Dates:  Tuesday 8 – Sat 12 May, 8pm
Venue:  BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace
Tickets:  Adults $20, Conc. $14
Bookings:  04 802 4175


Exciting and eccentric

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 10th May 2012

The second show of the evening at Bats is innovative, original and incredibly funny.  

Yeti Is Dead/I am Tom is a sequel to a show Natalie Medlock, Dan Musgrove and Thomas Sainsbury put together last year.  In the original show – Dan is Dead / I Am a Yeti – Yeti (Natalie Medlock) is shot by the jealous wife of Tom (Thomas Sainsbury), Yeti’s lover. 

In the new show, while Tom is comforting the comatose Yeti, he is visited by a leprechaun named Sean (Dan Musgrove).  Tom falls in love with Sean but still has feelings for Yeti.  And so the inevitable love triangle in this quirky and off the wall show develops. 

The introduction of Tom’s father slows the pace down and could be cut and Yeti’s accent often makes her inaudible the originality of the dialogue makes up for these deficiencies.  

All three performers are consummate actors, their confidence, comic timing, and characterisation of the highest order.  Sainsbury in particular is brilliant as the self effacing Tom, almost on the verge of cracking but holding his own in an understated performance against the physicality of Medlock and Musgrove.  

A wonderfully exciting and eccentric production to watch.  


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A romp for the initiated

Review by John Smythe 09th May 2012

Unlike last year’s Dan is Dead / I am a Yeti, the sequel – Yeti is Dead / I am Tom – is as short on content as it is high on performance.  

In my review of the former I detected “astute commentary on human behaviour, brought into stark relief by contrasting it with that of a Yeti. There is method in this madness and the result is a delight.”  

The fans who filled Bats for the show’s Wellington debut certainly expressed delight but this time I can’t help but wonder what someone uninitiated in the idiosyncratic humour of Medlock and Musgrove and/or Sainsbury would make of this. Very little transcends the display of consciously corny comic performance.  

The universal situations and attendant emotions of grief, mother-son dysfunction, new-found love, the eternal triangle, infidelity and its discovery, having to choose, the problem Dad, preoccupation over what is lost, the return home, and the intrepid journey to reclaim true love, are all there in the storyline.  

Natalie Medlock recreates Yeti with her customary flair and adds a good cameo as Tom’s sad Dad. Thomas Sainsbury plays Tom by demonstrably ‘acting’; blending minimalism with posturing and gesturing ‘in quotes’. Dan Musgrove has fun with the most roles, including a male nurse called Dennis Potter Okinawa, a magic flute-playing leprechaun called Shaun, Tom’s MILF-Cougar mother, and another Yeti called Simon.  

Amid their variously wacky performance modes, most moments of emotional truth are honoured or at least acknowledged, and yet there is a triteness about it this time. The driving purpose seems to be to entertain an exclusive clique of already committed fans. Where does that leave the ‘outsider’, randomly picking the show from the Comedy Festival programme or wandering in off the street? I think that is a valid question for all makers of Comedy Festival shows to ask.  

Although there was no printed programme, I have discovered that while Dan is Dead / I am a Yeti was directed by Sophie Roberts, Yeti is Dead / I am Tom has no director as such. There have been various ‘outside eyes’ apparently, but no-one, I suspect, asking the crucial questions: what is this really about; what makes it more than the sum of its parts; what has it got to offer those who are not already your devoted friends and fans?  

A director confronting such questions with rigour might have been able to work with the writer / performers to develop and shape the material, and then the performances, in such a way that – as with last year’s play – the “off the wall” absurdism served to expose timeless truths of human existence.  

As it stands, it’s a romp for the initiated. 


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