Review: Hauraki Horror – The Basement Christmas Show

December 7, 2014 in General


Hauraki Horror is written by and stars Thomas Sainsbury and Chris Parker.

If you’re looking for slapstick comedy or perhaps an early present, head down to Hauraki Horror – The Basement’s Annual Christmas Show.

Written by and starring Thomas Sainsbury and Chris Parker, this rollicking murder mystery follows a paparazzi photographer and his inept gossip columnist sidekick as they try to solve a death aboard a yacht packed with New Zealand celebrities.

But there’s more to this motley crew than who stabbed who.  Kiri Te Kanawa’s flinging mud at Malvina Major, Jason Gunn’s had a falling out with Thingee, and a desperate Sally Ridge will do just about anything to get back on TV.

It’s a pop culture bonanza, and nobody escapes the biting wit. Peter Jackson, Judy Bailey, Judith Collins, Cameron Slater and a raft of other personalities are all lampooned in what is a brilliant reflection on Kiwi culture.

The puns, however, I could’ve done without. At times it seemed as if the cast was trying too hard to turn hackneyed wordplay into comedy, and drew half-hearted groans from the audience. The show could drop half the puns and there’d be nothing missing.

A transsexual Kelly Tarlton also seemed a bit off-point. Drawing humour from a character that appeared both male and female seemed cheap, and I shifted uncomfortably in my seat as other characters stumbled over which gender pronouns to use. As someone with transgendered friends, it wasn’t funny to hear jokes about whether Kelly should be directed to the male or female bathrooms.

Overall though, it’s definitely a show worth seeing. The cosy environment at the Basement means there’s constant interaction between the cast and the audience, and the storyline was riffed at several points to include those seated nearby.

Hauraki Horror runs until December 20th at The Basement Theatre.

Check out their website for more information.

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