FRINGE 19 | 5 mins with Uther Dean

Cmedian and playwright, Uther Dean, is bringing his Uther Dean reads 300 Haiku act to Auckland Fringe Festival   – a new hour of story-telling of emotion, comedy and narrative in 5100 syllables.

One of his previous standout performances, Everything is Surrounded by Water, a monologue co-written and performed by Uther , won him the Best Solo at the New Zealand Fringe in 2014 and was later nominated for Best New New Zealand Play at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards.

We caught up with Uther Dean ahead of his debut at this year’s Auckland Fringe.

1. Is this your first Fringe Auckland? What are you looking forward to about performing in Auckland?

It’s my first time performing in the Fringe in Auckland but not my first time performing in Auckland. Auckland audiences are a lot less forgiving than audiences in the rest of the country. I used to think this was a bug but it is actually a feature. Auckland crowds expect more, so you give more. It’s only being asked to do your best that brings your best out of you.

2. Describe your show in three words or less…

Comedy haiku story-telling

3. Fringe Festivals are known for the weird, wacky, and utterly wonderful – what’s the most bizarre thing you’ve come across during your Fringe history?

There was a show that I think so much about that I worry I’ve made it up. Two decades or so ago, a show applied to the New Zealand Fringe (which is to say the Wellington Fringe) to do a show that consisted solely of interrupting other shows in the festival. The story goes that it’s the only show they’ve outright rejected. Then the people behind the show blew the rejection letter up into a poster and pasted it up around town.

4. What are your top 3 picks for Auckland Fringe?

Picking just three is very hard. It’s an exceptionally strong programme this year. So, discounting the obvious picks that are going to be excellent but I’m sure you already are going to see (Brendon Green, Donna Brookbanks & David Correos, Actressexual, Deacon, Only Bones, PSUSY, Pussy Riot, The Salem Bitch Trials, Two Hearts, Uther Dean Reads 300 Haiku) my top three picks are, in no order:

  1.  The Dice Show & SIN: The Social Improv Night –
    Steven Lyons, the comedian and improviser in part
    responsible for both of these shows (which are on the
    same nights so would make a great double bill), is one
    of the great unheralded talents of NZ comedy. A bright
    light in a grimy world who manages to delight every
    audience he meets.
  2. How to Write an Album – This marathon of music to
    make an album in twelve hours was hit at a previous
    Wellington Fringe and is packed to the gills with some
    of the most exciting creators from down there.
  3. Long Distance Phone Calls – If you see one poetry
    show this year, see mine, but if you see two, see this
    one as well. Programmer Vanessa Crofskey has
    immaculate taste and lined up a Who’s Who of poets
    that you actually want to see read live. This looks to be
    a very special event and I really think you should go.

5. Where will we find you during the festival?

Outside sold-out shows flyering for mine? Hanging around after shows wondering if I know people well enough to talk to them?

6. What would we find if we raided your fridge?

La Croix because I am exactly like you expect me to be.

7. Tell us about your spirit animal?

I’m not comfortable appropriating the idea of a spirit animal. If I was an Eevee I’d hope I’d evolve into a Sylveon but
would probably end up as a Umbreon.

8. Word Association:

Fringe – John Noble not winning an Emmy for Walter Bishop is a crime

Fridge – Another reason to distance yourself from the Kyle Rayner era of Green Lantern

Auckland – Money

Festival – Love

Lights – Turn on the Bright

See Uther Dean Reads 300 Haiku as part of Auckland Fringe Festival 2019 at the Classic Studio on Fri 22 – Sat 23 February.

Buy your tickets here