The Basement’s Christmas show has become a tradition amongst Auckland theatre-goers, promising each year a pantomime-esque good-time romp filled with NZ’s most beloved B- and C-grade celebrities. This year’s production – A Hauraki Horror – stars Chris Parker and Tom Sainsbury as they haplessly try to solve the mystery of the murdered billionaire, viciously harpooned during a celebrity cruise in the Hauraki Gulf. As usual for this production, a revolving cast of actors, comedians and socialites grace the stage in the supporting roles, playing the celebrities-come-murder-suspects.
Get ready for a bit of singing, dancing, sword(fish)-fighting, transvestite sea explorers, and an appearance from a beloved children’s television personality. With the silly season upon us, this show certainly fits the description – do not go along wearing your serious, high-art theatre-viewing hat.
This show is ridiculous, and unapologetically so.
The two leads take a bit of time to warm up, and are often left on-stage on their own for long stretches that drag the show out a bit, but they are relaxed around each other and the audience; last night’s performance saw them cleverly jibing back and forth with a heckler who had clearly broken into the egg nog a tad early. What could have been an awkward situation was made funny by the boys’ quick wit. The story isn’t much, but the novelty of seeing your favourite Shortland Street star act it out should be enough to put bums in seats – with the cast changing every night, it’s really the luck of the draw as to who you might see, which adds another flavour to the evening.
I recommend going along to this show with a big group – get a bit tipsy beforehand to distract from the fact that the plot is non-existent and the show relies heavily on innuendo and physical gags provided by the ‘celebrity guests’ to get laughs, and just enjoy it.
Subtle and complex it is not, but that’s not what these things are about. If you’re not yet in the Christmas mood, this show is sure to get you there.
Starring Chris Parker and Tom Sainsbury and a huge revolving cast of stars from the stage and screen.
Written by: Chris Parker and Thomas Sainsbury. Directed by Rachel House. The show is on at The Basement Theatre until 20 Dec.
Reviewed by Steph Bean.