Category Archives: performing arts

NZICF 19 | 5 mins with Alice Canton

Theatre-artist, performer, and perpetual eye-roller… With almost two decades of professional experience up her sleeve, Alice Canton knows how to deliver the comedy goods. Beginning her career as an improviser, MC and corporate entertainer, Canton has performed and taught throughout New Zealand, Australia and Asia, working with theatre companies including Red Leap Theatre, Auckland Theatre Company, Barbarian Productions, and Two Productions.

Join her at this year’s Comedy Festival as she takes a deep dive into the world of meme, exploring the most popular images, videos and gifs to spread across the internet and into our lives.

Describe your show in three words or less…
“I feel seen”

What’s the inspiration behind it?
My insatiable appetite for meme’s which is, let’s face it, a full-blown addiction.

Where will we find you at the festival?
Outside the Basement Theatre on the concrete slab talking about concepts.

NZ Comedy Scene – would you swipe right or swipe left?
The direction you swipe when you want to fuck? (I’ve never had Tinder so no idea which way)

Do you have any top picks for this year’s festival? 
Hamish Parkinson and his mum, Lynette, in Me ‘n’ Ma and all the theatre nerds at the Basement

What song or movie best describes the story of your life?
Fantasia – lots of classical music, dancing, and naked horse-dudes.

What are you currently binge-watching on Netflix?
Formula 1: Drive to Survive because my bf works in motorsport and Daniel Ricciardo is hot babe.

And your top 3 songs on Spotify?
Boycrush’s Desperate Latenight Energy, Solange’s When I Get Home and Anderson Paak’s Ventura (I just re-read this – and these are albums not songs but ALWAYS LISTEN TO THE ALBUM TO GET CONTEXT)

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
I’d rehearse for my Superbowl half-time performance

Word Association: (I decided to answer as emojis instead)

Comedy – 😁

New Zealand – 💚

Adulting – 🙄

Basic – 💅

Trend – 🔥

Joke – 🙃

Alice Canton performs her new solo show ‘Meme Lord’ as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival, running May 2-26. For dates, venues, and tickets, head to

NZICF 19 | Our top picks for the NZ International Comedy Fest 2019

The NZ International Comedy Festival is back from Thursday 2 – Sunday 26 May in both Auckland and Wellington. As always, the festival promises a line-up of both local and international comedy superstars. Not sure who to see? We’ve put together our list of top picks (in alphabetical order) for you to have a look at.

For more information, tickets, and a bunch of other things check out the Comedy Festival website.

Alistair Barrie – The Internation-al

Every year The Classic turns up yet another brilliant star of the UK Pro-comedy circuit that you haven’t heard of yet. This year, Alistair Barrie makes his NZ debut with his acclaimed five-star rated show from last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. The Internation-AL is an ambitious attempt to solve all the world’s problems in 60 minutes through the medium of comedy.

The Big Show 2019

Five world-class comedians in one big two-hour show featuring a ‘Best of British & Irish’ line up with;

Alistair Barrie (UK) “A no-frills master of his craft.” ★★★★★ – The Scotsman, UK

Eleanor Tiernan (Ire) “The fastest-rising comedy talent in the country” – Irish Times, UK

Tom Houghton, (UK) “The long-awaited male answer to Bridget Jones made flesh” – The Daily Telegraph, UK

Brennan Reece (UK) “A powerfully entertaining, unstoppable force” – Chortle, UK

Chris Henry (Scot) “A one-man hurricane of humour” – Broadway Baby, UK

Brendon Green – Of Consequence

What are the moments that define a life? How will you be remembered in the future? What really happened in that Thai cave?

Acclaimed comedian and storyteller Brendon Green is tackling the big questions – with hilarious results. If you’ve ever wondered about your place in the world, this is the show for you. If you never have… congrats, that must be nice.

Chris Henry – Around the World in 80 Dates

Scottish ‘Comedian of the Year’ finalist, Chris Henry is on a whirlwind global giggle-fest as he attempts to find ‘The One’. This sell-out show from the 2018 Edinburgh Festival tracks his hilarious and poignant tale of being a bachelor at 40 and how he is taking on the challenge of touring around the world in search of the ideal life partner to settle down with. It is a hysterical account of putting yourself out there on, quite literally, a global scale.

Daniel Sloss – X

Internationally acclaimed, award-winning Scottish stand-up star, Daniel Sloss returns to New Zealand with his new show, X. Brilliantly dark with razor-sharp wit and the ability to deftly spin a narrative, Sloss is a comedian who is “dirty, sweet and clever” (New York Times, USA).

X is his 10th solo show and if you’ve not seen him live before, it’s time to find out why he is fast becoming one of the world’s biggest names in comedy!

Ed Byrne – Spoiler Alert

No international comedian has headlined more NZ Comedy Festivals than irishman Ed Byrne, and he is back in 2019 with a brand new show – Spoiler Alert. In the show, Ed explores the thin line between righteous complaining and brat-like whining and asks, ‘are we right to be fed up, or are we spoiled?’

Eleanor Tiernan – Success Without a Sex Tape

Is Eleanor Tiernan a foolish woman to believe she can succeed without a sex tape? There are so many excellent reasons to give in. Seeing the way others are rewarded for releasing footage of their sex lives makes it more and more difficult. Personal dignity may be turning out to be the most expensive accessory of them all. All will be revealed, or will it?

Frickin Dangerous Bro – Legacy

After becoming finalists, but failing to secure the coveted Fred Award at the 2018 NZ International Comedy Festival, Frickin Dangerous Bro hit rock bottom.

In one year everything fell apart and it seemed like NZ’s all-time greatest sketch group was no more. Until they heard that the NZ International Comedy Festival was happening again in 2019.

Now, the boys have jumped back on the gruelling path to redemption in order to cement their ‘Legacy’. Come witness their return to glory.

Fred Award Losers, 2018

Guy Williams – Full Head of Steam

Guy Williams is back! Some of you might not have even noticed that he was gone, or even realised that he was here in the first place, that doesn’t matter… he’s back!

The star of the critically acclaimed “New Zealand Today” web series and TV show takes a short break from his busy schedule of arguing with people on the internet to make his self-described “triumphant” return to Auckland, the place where he has been all along.

James Roque – Boy Mestizo

James Roque has always thought his hang-ups about being brown were born when he landed on kiwi soil all those years ago. Now he realizes he accidentally checked in some baggage. Join him as he unpacks it all – who knows what will come out.

A brand new hour of “too real” laughs from the Filipino step-son of New Zealand comedy.

Jimmy Mcghie – Need(y)

Oh we love our Jimmy. The English poster boy for white male privilege is back, for a fourth sell-out year, with a brand-new show full of the usual complaints and foolish hopes. An analogue man in a digital world, marooned as a bachelor amongst a sea of marriages and kids, Jimmy continues to steer clear of anything too serious in life and not step on any millennial language landmines.

Joe Lycett – I’m about to Lose Control and I think Joy Lycett

Pop in and see Joe Lycett when he visits Auckland, where he’ll be sharing jokes, paintings and some of the pathetic internet trolling he’s been up to recently. As seen on 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, QI, Live at the Apollo and The Royal Variety Performance.

Paul Sinha – The Best of Paul Sinha

The Comedy Fest welcomes the comedian with all the answers, for the first time in NZ. As seen on TVNZ’s The Chase, the ‘Sinnerman’ turned his back on a family medical dynasty 20 years ago after being nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award. He is now a champion of both the pro-comedy circuit as well as one of the UK’s finest quiz-masters.


The NZ International Comedy Festival takes place 2 – 26 May. Get your tickets for all shows here.


Been | Splore 2019

T’was the night before Splore and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse …. but I for one certainly was, as I tapped my musical toes to sleep, in eager anticipation for the 20th Anniversary of Splore.  ‘Celebration’ being the theme of the year and which took place amidst the magical spirit of Tapapakanga National Park.

SPLORE – The festival that delivers music, art, food and unexpected frivolity, around every kooky twist and turn. Where the wind literally blows you to a different creative experience throughout the entire weekend.

The three day festival takes place at the sacred home of the mana whenua, Ngāti Whanaunga and Ngāti Paoa.  Where tradition is upheld each year with a reverent powhiri, welcoming artists and attendees from all over NZ and the world to this blessed site.

Performing the sacred powhiri








I begun the day, wary of the mud puddles that were soon encroaching upon us, but with my trusty glitter gumboots,  I was determined to set up camp before the rains came, well prepared for the days merry onslaught.  First musical treat of the day for me, was Tubbs – Christopher Tubbs.  A much revered figure of the Wellington dance scene. Also noteworthy, as the former owner of the cult vinyl-only record co. Untracked (supported by the likes of Mark Ronson and Gilles Peterson).  His upbeat and deep disco selection had even the most sleep-deprived and rookie reveler right back into the spirit of the festival, regardless of the showers that were about to fall …

A newbie to the Splore family was one Marco Alonso, a DJ definitely worth a mention after playing to a jam-packed audience within the Lucky Star tent.  A real crowd shaker with his deep funky house and soul pleasing vibes.  DJ Aroha gave 100% – her energetic and diverse dance music collection was at it’s absolute best at the Crystal Palace, followed by our other native gem, King Kapisi.

The much anticipated London-based drum’n’bass & dubstep outfit – Rudimental, lead the night with an extremely crowded main stage, and despite the persistent deluge that caned us that Friday evening; were completely owning it, with heavily charged performances of some of their more commercially successful tracks, and had the majority of the audience literally, pumping.

Also on the main stage, headliners Orbital’s light display and performance all-round,was phenomenal.  Brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll (based in Kent, England) have been laying down the electronic goodness since 1989;  and whose early beginnings in the acid-house scene and subsequent techno fused dance tracks, combined with their iconic presence, created a euphoric moment that one could not help but feel throughout their dynamic set.

Amazing light display by electronic legends Orbital

Beginning the Saturday a little bleary eyed, I was ready yet again to get amongst it, with the weather and the winds since subsided.  Linda T was a joy to discover at the Crystal Palace stage, with her funky, soul and smooth mixing, and speaking of new discoveries ….  a definite highlight from the extensive line up for me were the R’nB/Soul/Hip-hop duo, Children of Zeus.  Hailing from Manchester UK – they were well supported by our much loved and adopted homeboy, DJ Hudge (if you missed them at Splore you can still catch them this coming Wednesday at ‘Neck of the Woods’ Auckland).

Children of Zeus featuring HUDGE – Main Stage

Saturday night played host to the much celebrated Jungle Brothers, consisting of members: Afrika Baby Bam, Mike Gee and DJ Sammy B, and who were down one Mike Gee on the night (due to an unanticipated return to the States) but the remaining two definitely did not let that stop them pushing the limits of their renowned hip-hop sound, and showcasing their solid history in creating some of the greatest musical collaborations with other artists such as; De La Soul, Mos Def and A Tribe Called Quest

Club Hedonistas Cabaret, hosted by club queen ‘Ronnie Rae-Gunn, was a curation of the most provocative and awe-inspiring burlesque, circus mastery and aerial dynamics – featuring Jair Ramirez, Flow Academy, Dust and the irrepressible Chris Oh! (to name but a few) a hedonistic night sure to push the boundaries of pleasurably risque’ entertainment!

An unexpected (but most welcoming find) was the hidden gem avidly coined ‘Portal’ (lovingly referred to by it’s residents as the ‘Womb’) a quirky pocket of a venue where Bali-based and Kiwi-born LADY FLiC, bestowed on us some of her finest and most vibrant eclectic house/electro for the lucky few that found themselves there in the late hours of the night.  Not one to be pigeon-holed, with her distinctly progressive musical selections, LADY FLiC has weaved a truly unique and impressive DJ career from the club/house scene of NZ to the Dublin Red Bull Music Academy, pirate radio in London and beyond ..

The impressive LADY FLiC @the Portal

Chris Oh! At his ‘boylesque’ best












A surprise visit Saturday by Russian political activists ‘Pussy Riot’









Closing the main stage and the most wowing performances of that weekend – we had the brilliant pairing of Brazilian DJ Marky and our very own Tali, who as MC did not let us down, combining her soulful instrument of voice with Marky’s superb scratching and drum’n’bass fuelled beats.
MC Tali in support of the legendary DJ Marky

There were also many heartwarming moments that I unfortunately missed capturing on film; one being witness to a tender instance of hula-hoop unity between a young family, in the warm glistening sun, surrounded by the chilled vibes of the Lucky Star tent, then rounding the afternoon off with some much needed cheesy goodness, provided in the form of the most delectable toasties, food-truck side.

It was to surmise, most definitely a ‘celebration’ and one that I was thrilled to be a part of, catering to both families and the most passionate party-goer with its multitude of art installations, stalls, music, workshops for both adults and kids alongside general good vibes.  Splore is constantly growing and evolving, and in doing so I just hope that it still manages to retain its intimate and quirky bohemian charm, without giving way to increasing commercialism, which is fast becoming a natural hazard for many a successful festival.

And to sign off my friends, it is fair to say that I am now officially SPLORED!

Colourful and whimsical art installations throughout the site …
Capturing the beautiful beginning of sunset as we depart the regional park.






FRINGE 19 | 5 mins with Eden Mulholland

Eden Mulholland is a well-respected composer, gifted multi-instrumentalist and a sound producer for theatre, film and dance. He’s a creative collaborator at Movement of the Human (MOTH) –  a movement and performance design company developed by Malia Johnston that is about to take over Auckland Town Hall’s Concert Chamber for 4 nights as part of Auckland Fringe arts festival.

Eden has racked up some impressive accolades in the last decade. He was the winner of the 2009 & 2010 Best Music at the Tempo Dance Festival and was nominated for a Qantas Media award for Best Music for a TV series for his work on World Kitchen.

We caught up with Eden to talk Fringe, Spirit animals and other weirdness over a cup of tea with milk – just the way he likes it.

1. Is this your first Fringe Auckland?   How different is an Auckland audience to other audiences?

No. Aucklanders stay out later and drink more.

2. Describe your show in three words or less…

Dance AV CrayCray

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?

It’s all a blur sorry..

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

Desperate Late Night Energy
Pussy Riot

5. Where will we find you during the festival?

In a darkened room, or anywhere with a power outlet really, headphones on, being antisocial, but getting lots done…

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

Someone else’s food! I’ve been living with colleagues for 3 weeks. 3 to go before I get home. There is always milk though for my tea. I like tea.

7. Tell us about your spirit animal?

Can it be a spirit comic? Larry David for the win. I love LD

8. Word Association:

Fringe – Plug

Fridge – Fudge

Auckland – Snorkland

Festival – Westeros

Lights – Chihuahua

See Eden Mullholland’s work Movement of the Human as part of Fringe Town during Auckland Fringe festival on 21 – 24 February 2019.

Buy your tickets here

FRINGE 19 | 5 mins with Vanessa Crofskey

A performance artist, poet and producer Vanessa Crofskey will showcase her latest poetry show Long Distance Phone Calls as part of the Auckland Fringe Festival.  The programme  features some of Auckland’s best writers including Manu Vaea , Kyla Dela Cruz, Stevie Davis-Tana , Phodiso Dintwe , the girls of Ngā Puna O Waiōrea  and renowned performance poet Carrie Rudzinski. 

She is a Rising Voices National Finalist and winner of the 2015 Auckland University Poetry Slam, Auckland Regional Slam and the Auckland Fringe Festival Best Storytelling award. Vanessa’s gig as Basement Theatre’s 2018 Producer in Residence has kept her busy, but we caught up with her ahead of her Auckland Fringe show.


1. Is this your first Fringe Auckland?  

This is my second Auckland Fringe! I was a last-minute addition to the Basement Performance Salon in 2017 and ended up winning two sweet awards. This year I’m organising a poetry show featuring all my favourite writers. It’s my first time leading the helm on a project like this – I’ve never directed or lead my own event before – so it means I’m trying out lots of new things. I know how special it can be to hear a poem and feel it settle so deep inside you, so I’m looking forward to sharing that experience with an audience.

2. Describe your show in three words or less…

Warm, tender, curious.

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?

The most memorable event I came across last Fringe was the Dead Writer’s Retreat. It was less bizarre, more uniquely cool. Claire O’Loughlin and Marcus McShane transformed this small unused corner of the Basement into a workable writing space, ft. a very grand desk, ink quills, a chosen piece of art and inspirational music. I was totally swept away.

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

Pussy Riot, Desperate Late Night Energy, I Am Rachel Chu!

5. Where will we find you during the festival?

You’ll find me on the balcony of the Great Hall at Auckland Live, surrounded by poets and most likely typing furiously.

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

Half a wilted cabbage, the last dregs of japanese mayo, lime juice. Unused almond milk and two Lion Reds left behind at a house party months ago.

7. Tell us about your spirit animal?

Spirit animal, as a term, insensitively appropriates Native American customs so I prefer not to use that term. An animal that I strongly relate to is definitely the red panda.

8. Word Association:

Fringe – self-botched haircuts
Fridge – doors being left open
Auckland – mouldy flats and bright blue harbours
Festival – smoke and fireworks
Lights – telephone lines

See Long Distance Phone Calls as part of Fringe Town during Auckland Fringe Festival at Auckland Town Hall on Tue 19 February.

Buy your tickets here

FRINGE 19 | 5 mins with Aria Dehar

The Ugly Girls Club presents PSUSY Backyard Screening as part of the Auckland Fringe Festival 2019. A promising intimate affair where creators of the New Zealand based web series will open up to their audience in a deep and meaningful panel discussion, while showcasing some of their never before seen footage and bloopers.

PSUSY is a women-led, NSFW, comedy web series starring Jaya Beach-Robertson and Aria Dehar. Recently back from Los Angeles, where they picked up the Best Web Series Award at the LA Film Festival – we catch up with Aria to talk Auckland Fringe, Spirit Animals and other general weirdness:

1. Is this your first Fringe Auckland?  

Yes. We are looking forward to screening Psusy in front of a live audience. We’re also excited for our audience to see some never-before-seen extra content. I haven’t even seen this content so that will be fun for me as well.

2. Describe your show in three words or less…

Colourful, current and courageous.

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

I can’t answer that yet but I have a long history of bowl cuts and fringes – thanks mum.

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

It’s so hard to choose. I like the look of Maui, Girls to the Front – A Poetry Film Extravaganza and then of course Psusy Backyard Screening. Life is too short to be humble.

5. Where will we find you during the festival?

Refer to answer #4.

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

Coconut water, vegetables, supplements.

7. Tell us about your spirit animal?

My Patronus is a white mare, according to Pottermore (2017). It means I have a free soul, loyal heart, high emotional intelligence and I connect well with others. I just googled that and it is the nicest compliment I’ve ever received.

8. Word Association:

Fringe – childhood

Fridge – mum

Auckland – city of cranes

Festival – cat lady

Lights – dopamine

See Psusy backyard screening as part of Auckland Fringe Festival 2019  at Our Backyard
13 Ariki Street, Grey Lynn Thurs 21 and Sun 24 February; 19:00

Buy your tickets here

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