Young & Hungry 2012

BATS Theatre, Wellington

06/07/2012 - 21/07/2012

Production Details

We’re celebrating our 18th Birthday at Young & Hungry with another sweet-as festival season at BATS Theatre, 6 – 21 July 2012.

With the 2012 Mayan end of the world nigh, it’s survival of the fittest with three plays about outwitting, outplaying and outlasting the competition.

Young and Hungry is an annual theatre festival created by young people with the intention of making accessible, unique and completely new theatre.

Flash 6.30pm

Flash by Kate Morris examines the negative way that social media can be used, and the very true statement that sometimes a photo is more than a photo.

What would you do if a revealing photo of you was released to your friends and colleagues? How would you argue your innocence when being faced with suspension or expulsion? Flash features some young and passionate up and coming actresses as the five girls who are sent to the principal’s office to plead their innocence in front of their recently graduated media studies teacher whose well-intentioned school project has gone awry.

Flash is a fantastic must-see for everyone, but especially those who have or know someone who has a Facebook, twitter, bebo, MySpace or tumblr account.

Gameplan 8pm

Dylan and his friends are broke and good at one thing – video games. They need 10 grand and fast, but there aren’t any end level bosses guarding treasure in real life…. Or are there?

What happens when a team of nerds and social rejects try to take their on-screen skills into real life? Can video games train you to be awesome? To take control of your destiny? Or to at least be able to talk to girls?

Gameplan is for anyone who’s been broke, picked up a controller or been caught in suspicious circumstances with their flat mates undies.

Director Melanie Camp says, “Gameplan is a ghost train ride through your living room and into your Xbox and then back through your living room again and then there’s a big monster at the end that makes you wet your pants (almost).”


Extra Extra!  Read all about it!

Convoluted killer conspiracy causes chaos in classrooms!

Nothing out-of-the-ordinary ever happens at Wellington’s prestigious Arrowhead High School, and that’s just the way Tracey Aldridge, the ambitious head photographer for Arrowhead’s student newspaper, doesn’t like it.

But when arrogant new student Daniel Ward barrels into Tracey’s life with wild claims of murders and cover-ups within Arrowhead’s student body, Tracey is thrust into an investigation where the money shot could come at a steep price…

Inspired by a love affair with conspiracy theory narratives, Deadlines by Adam Goodall gives a nostalgic reflection on high school, and it’s cruel and violent world that celebrates the defiance and boldness of the obnoxious high school student.

Featuring a fresh-faced cast full of enthusiasm, Deadlines is dramatic, “bloody” self-centred, and embodies the essence a school newspaper.

A season pass is a bargain, letting you experience the whole festival for less – $45 for Adults and $36 for Concession tickets lets you see all three shows over the two week season.


Friday 6 July – Saturday 21 July 2012 (no shows Sun/Mon)
BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington
Bookings: 04 802 4175 or
Tickets: $18 / $14 / School group 10+ $12
Season Pass: $45 / $36 / $30   


Finlay  --  Kesava Beaney
Vanessa  --  Ariana Manning
Cami  --  Lauren Wilson
Phoebe  --  Cassandra Cleland
Mel  --  Iris Henderson
Jules  --  Charlotte Pleasants

Assistant Director  --  Bronwyn Cheyne
Stage Manager  --  Kate Norquay
Set Design  --  Wai Mihinui & Jaimee Warda
Lighting Design  --  Angelique Collins
Costume Design -- Jaimee Warda & Wai Mihinui
Sound Design  --  Annabella Gamboni


Dylan HEADSHOT Davis  --  Diesel McGrath
Michael GREYSTALKER Mafoe -- Ryan Knighton
Raymond RAYGUN Gunter  --  Jason Tolley
Dawn GAMECHICK Heary  --  Grace Uivel
Nadia Ossler  --  Angela Fitzharris
Joo-eun Sin  --  Dexie Joaquin
Marcus Downes  --  Jack Blomfield
Sara Hills  --  Rosie Alldridge

Stage Manager  --  Rebecca Hall
Set Design  --  Jen Eccles
Lighting Design  --  Ingrid Saker
Costume Design  --  Sian Tate
Sound Design  --  Te Aihe Butler


Tracy Aldridge + others  --  Catriona Tipene
Diana Burns + others  --  Alice Pearce
Daniel Ward + others  --  Maxwell Apse
Ringo Wilder + others  --  Jack Hallahan
Rachel Barrington + others  --  Molly Wilson
Nick Copley + others  --  Drew Brown
Brandon Dell + others  --  Mitchell Bernard
Mr. Carter + others  --  Jacob Dale
Louise Masters + others  --  Gabby Anderson
Howard Kolchak + others  --  Aaron Pyke
Oswald Wallace + others  --  Reuben Todd

Stage Manager/Ast Director --  Tabitha Besley
Set Design  --  Natalie Theodorisdis
Lighting Design  --  Tony Black
Costume Design  --  Abigail Helsby
Sound Design  --  Shaun D. Wilson  

Impressive content and style

Review by Samuel Phillips 14th Jul 2012

The Young and Hungry Festival of New Theatre has arrived, and is home to some impressive work both on and off the stage. [More

For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


Make a comment

In current language

Review by Lynn Freeman 12th Jul 2012

The Young and Hungry season always offers some insights into the pre-occupations of teenagers. From the current language – tots – to issues like cyber bullying, body image, social networking, and the gulf between the cool kids and the outsiders. This year’s crop of three plays written for young actors and back of house practitioners is up there with the best years of this now long running season.

In Flash, Kate Morris puts forward the argument that these days “the whole world is a movie set”, something one of the teenage girls in the play says people just have to get used to. With mobile phones and digital cameras proliferating, you have a very good chance of being caught and Youtubed if you do something embarrassing.

Morris packs a lot into her actors’ hour upon the stage, with some nifty twists and turns, as a teacher tries to ascertain which of several suspects is behind taking and distributing a hurtful photograph of one of their schoolmates. Such a topical theme with ever more young people suffering at the hands of cyber bullies and viral humiliation. We don’t meet the victim, but Morris helps us get to know her through her friends and tormenters. David Lawrence and his young cast do justice to a thought provoking script.

With Gameplan Dan Bain takes us into the sphere of gaming and the dangers of players losing sight of the difference between the virtual and real worlds. Here four friends, struggling to keep afloat financially and emotionally, are chosen for the Cyber World Games – a chance for excitement and of course the prize money. Problem is finding the plane fares to South Korea to compete.

What they come up with is fraught with danger and they can’t start the game over if it goes horribly wrong. The computer sequences are particularly well choreographed by Melanie Camp and her great cast. Jen Eccles set design worked brilliantly.

You have to keep your wits about you watching Deadlines by Adam Goodall. This complex story is told at breakneck speed, and is broken down into very short sequences. It is a dark parody/multi murder mystery where a stream of students at a school die in strange circumstances. A student reporter and photographer both try to find out what is going on, placing themselves in danger.

The trouble is that it is a real struggle to understand both what is being said (slow down guys!) and what is happening on stage. Leo Gene Peters is an exciting director and his cast are always on the go. Perhaps we need different nights for the under and over 20s though, because to be honest I left feeling I needed to see it again to really get a grip on all that was going on.

Seeing all three plays on one night makes for a big mind-bending and intriguing time, that is worth it, tots. 


Make a comment

Social media in lead role on youth drama

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 09th Jul 2012

Social media, in particular Facebook, is becoming a dominate feature of plays and this year the Young and Hungry season at BATS is no exception.   And this year the three plays that make up the programme achieve, without exception, all the ideals of the Young and Hungry concept and are probably some of the best productions seen in the 18 years the programme has been going. 

Totally focused on themes and issues relevant to today’s youth, the scripts are written specifically for 15 – 25 year olds through the Playwrights’ Initiative and professional theatre practitioners mentor the young people through all aspects of the production of each play.  This year, although each play was of an extremely high standard, it was the design feature of each that stood out.

The first play of the evening is Flash by Kate Morris and directed by David Lawrence. 

A group of five girls, three part of the school’s “cool” in crowd the other two not so, are confined in the principal’s office. A particularly compromising photo has been uploaded and shared around the school.  And the pupil in the photo has gone missing.  The Media Studies teacher, an “indie’ known as Finlay fresh from Tecol, has been sent to investigate but is interrogated as much as he interrogates.  As the tension in the room rises and accusations and incriminations fly around the room the actors play out their roles with confidence and commitment aided considerably by the restrictiveness of the excellently designed set. 

Gameplan by Dan Bain and directed by Melanie Camp, the second play of the evening, has video games as its theme. A group of 4 friends need 10 grand to get to Korea for a big international video game competition. They then decide to use their supposed gaming skills to commit a burglary.  Reality merges with fiction as everything goes awry.  The actors in this production obviously relish their parts and with creatively using extra characters to play out the video games, this high octane production is full on from start to finish using some amazing lighting and special effects on a wonderfully imaginative set. 

The final play of the evening is Deadlines by Adam Goodall and directed by Leo Gene Peters. 

The setting is the playground of Wellington’s prestigious Arrowhead High School, innovatively created by having school chairs hanging all over the walls of the stge.  In one of the most original concepts seen on stage in a while, eleven students pace around the stage throwing up lines of truncated dialogue, the whole scene becoming a three dimensional verbal posting on a wall of Facebook. Mixed in with this is a murder story being investigated by a new student who wants the school newspaper to publish his findings.  A very clever script excellently played out by the eleven young actors to make this a most fitting ending to a very successful Young and Hungry season.  


Make a comment

Dynamic productions to feed the appetites

Review by John Smythe 08th Jul 2012

“With the 2012 Mayan end of the world nigh,” the publicity blurb tells us, “it’s survival of the fittest with three plays about outwitting, outplaying and outlasting the competition.” They are indeed thematically unified but stylistically they’re very different.  

So too are the excellent set designs (mentor: Meg Rollandi), each transforming the space in a very distinctive way. Wai Mihinui and Jaimee Warda use bookshelves, a desk and seats to define a deputy principal’s office for Flash. Jen Eccles has created a cleverly transforming sofa and goes abstract with munted walls that come alive with Ingrid Saker’s lighting design (mentor: Lisa Maule) during Gameplan’s high-octane gaming sequences. Natalie Theodorisdis adorns Bats’ basic black walls and floor with school chairs for Deadlines.

FLASH by Kate Morris, directed by David Lawrence 

Technical issues robbed us, on this second night, of the projected visuals that are supposed to book-end Flash but our imaginations were equal to making up the deficit.

Playwright Kate Morris (Sketch and co-writer of End Game) has gathered a gaggle of Girls High archetypes in the deputy’s office and goes for the slow reveal – mostly through bitchy banter and back-chat – to reveal exactly why they are there.

“A photo is a photo is a photo … until it’s not” reads the slugline for this one. It seems a snapshot from a weekend netball game has gone viral, the subject is not at school – later she goes missing – and The System requires someone to blame. “This is High School,” someone says. “People do shit, like tag people in really ugly photos.” But how can ‘the authorities’ leave it at that?

The quest is not so much the point of the play as the ‘MacGuffin’ by which the complex power-plays intrinsic to adolescent schoolgirl relationships are explored. Queen bitch Cami (Lauren Wilson) has lovelorn Vanessa (Ariana Manning) and fitness freak Phoebe (Cassandra Clelans) in her thrall and, to maintain her supposed status, obsessively picks on “Op Shop” Mel (Iris Henderson) and “Einstein” Jules (Charlotte Pleasants), who is clearly their intellectual better and is intent on winning a Fulbright Scholarship so has to keep her record clean.

Director David Lawrence keeps the single hour-long scene physically active as they joust with each other and run rings around Mr Finlay (Kesava Beaney), the hapless young teacher deputed to sort the issue out.

It all builds to a gripping live-by-video-call climax, abetted by Annabella Gamboni’s sound design (mentor: Gareth Hobbs), topped by Mel’s cathartic and memorable cry-laugh. The resolving dénouement proves you can’t always believe what you see, leaving us with plenty to ponder.

GAMEPLAN by Dan Bain, directed by Mel Camp 

The slugline for Gameplan – “Win … or die trying!” – recurs in the doom-laden tones with which each challenge is issued to four flatmate Gamers. Their real life quest is to raise the funds that will allow them to get to Korea to compete in the World Cyber Games.

When narrator Michael GREYSTALKER Chambers (Ryan Knighton) tells us, “I’m the quiet one”, I’m quick to assume he will be the real life psychopath but it’s not as simple as that. Dan Bain (writer of the wordless A Paintbox of Clowns, Hansel & Gretel and Why Are My Parents So Boring?) also assuages my fear that this will be a mindless celebration of Gaming. It’s not.

Director Melanie Camp, sound designer Te Aihe Butler and lighting designer Ingrid Saker give us seamless segues in and out of the amoral Games of sociopathic wastage, for which the body count quickly mounts: simultaneously thrilling and chilling.

One of the team who got selected has left the flat – with someone’s controller, what’s more – so Michael, Raymond RAYGUN Gunter (Jason Tolley) and Dylan HEADSHOT Davis (Diesel McGrath) co-op their flatmate Dawn GAMECHICK Langdon (Grace Uivel) to make up the numbers.

Sponsorship Manager Nadia Ossler (Angela Fitzharris), her Korean assistant Joo-eun Sin (Dexie Joaquin), and Sara Hills (Rosie Alldridge) and Marcus Downes (Jack Blomfield) from Kwik Finance are variously embroiled in the quest for funding – and these actors double splendidly as the faceless ‘expendables’ in the gaming sequences.

To explain more would be to spoil the impact of this witty, insightful, dramatic black comedy which challenges us to locate the line that divides fantasy from reality; the dispassion of cyberspace from the passions of real life.

DEADLINES by Adam Goodall, directed by Leo Gene Peters  

“Accidents or murder?” is the question raised by the slugline for Deadlines and as far as I am able to unscramble the narrative content within the relentless action, it is never answered. While Adam Goodall is the playwright, director Leo Gene Peters is also credited with script development, so he must accept responsibility for the audience feeling largely uninvited to much of the ‘party’ that happens on stage.

The title relates both to the student newspaper – the Trumpet – and the ever-lengthening list of deaths involving students from Arrowhead High. Strangely no mainstream media – let alone the parents, the board of the school, politicians or even police – enquire into the phenomenon as we passively witness the ebb and flow of hormone-driven adolescent lives.

Eleven actors inhabit the stage constantly, most playing multiple roles with great versatility. As a display of broad acting skills, Deadlines delivers example after example of talent. And clearly the cast know who is who and what is what in every instant, which inspires a willingness to trust it and decode the action as it plays out.

The main physical motif is a mass swirl of people in motion and the narrative exposition is conveyed in Facebook-, Twitter- and Text-speak. Amid the visual and verbal maelstrom, moments of stillness and focus (helped by Tony Black’s lighting) are impressively achieved, allowing us glimpses of the characters and relationships that carry the story.

A few roles get to have a through-line. Diana Burns, the newly-appointed editor of The Trumpet, is played by Alice Pearce. In sharp contrast to her vulnerable yet assertive, innocent yet wise Viola in Twelfth Night earlier this year, she shows she can do hard and sarcastic too, and it’s not her fault the character never climbs out of that rut.

Tracy Aldridge (Catriona Tipene), the paper’s head photographer, gains some sympathy because she is repressed by Diana. And new boy Daniel Ward (Maxwell Apse) is the one who pursues answers to the all-too-frequent deaths – which somehow leads to his being characterised by someone as a conspiracy theorist.

“When arrogant new student Daniel Ward barrels into Tracey’s life with wild claims of murders and cover-ups within Arrowhead’s student body,” the publicity blurb announces, “Tracey is thrust into an investigation where the money shot could come at a steep price …” But this production does not deliver on that, at least not in a way that takes the audience with it. It seems to stop in mid question let alone get anywhere near an answer. 

The blurb goes on to say Goodall is “inspired by a love affair with conspiracy theory narratives” and his play is “a nostalgic reflection on high school, and it’s cruel and violent world that celebrates the defiance and boldness of the obnoxious high school student.” I can’t say it’s a celebration I want to share.

Unlike most of the other casualties or victims, Rachel Barrington (Molly Wilson) is a queen bitch character we get to know relatively well before she is despatched. But nothing about the play or production allows us to empathise with anyone or care in any way about these events. Not is it crafted to challenge us with a mystery we want to solve or an intellectual conundrum we are inspired to conjure with.

The actors so far named plus Jack Hallahan, Drew Brown, Mitchell Bernard, Jacob Dale, Gabby Anderson, Aaron Pyke and Reuben Todd, all work hard – and with a lovely lightness of touch – to fulfil the vision(s) of their writer and director, but I would defy anyone who hasn’t read the script or talked to someone involved – who comes to it cold, as is the right of every theatregoer – to make any more sense of it than I have.

It seems bizarre that an entire school of characters should be more amoral – immoral, even – than those in plays about cyber bullying and fascistic gaming.  

That said, despite the feeling the cast are part of a secret society we have not been admitted to, the process of developing this ensemble performance and the experience of participating in it over the 12-night season doubtless contains some invaluable learning opportunities, thus fulfilling a major Young & Hungry objective.

“Young and Hungry is an annual theatre festival created by young people with the intention of making accessible, unique and completely new theatre.” Apart from the accessibility factor regarding the last play, the 2012 season certainly feeds the appetites of its participants to meet those goals with a varied evening of very dynamic theatre. 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council