What happens when you take two wannabe paparazzi and stick them on board a celebrity Christmas cruise ship in the middle of the Hauraki Gulf? A murder, that’s what, or at least that’s the case in the Basement Theatre’s annual Christmas show Hauraki Horror. Over the top, outlandish, and downright hilarious, it’s a silly season extravaganza that you won’t want to miss.
Written by and starring everybody’s favourite funnymen Chris Parker and Thomas Sainsbury – those two in themselves should be enough to sell you on this one – the play is a parody of the Auckland social set; a whodunit meets who’s who tale which pokes fun at the cringe-worthy nature of our so-called “celebrity” culture.
When Captain Dick Rancid gets harpooned by the mystery killer, Tom and Chris take it upon themselves to solve his murder. And who’s on their list of suspects? The on board “celebs”, of course. Think reality TV stars Sally and Jamie Ridge, opera singer Kiri Te Kanawa, long-time children’s TV host Jason Gunn, and aquarian shemale (you’ll need to see it to get that joke) Kelly Tarlton. Each twist and turn is laced with another dirty little secret that will keep you laughing from start to finish.
With a revolving cast of celebrities every night (our main men Tom and Chris stay the same), Hauraki Horror is in itself a veritable who’s who of the theatre scene with guest appearances from the likes of Oliver Driver, Michael Hurst, Antonia Prebble, Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Guy Montgomery, Kate Elliot and Kimberley Crossman. Light-hearted and devilishly entertaining, it’s the kind of play that doesn’t take itself too seriously, embracing the festive spirit and all the chaos that comes with it.
There were a few teething problems when I headed along to the preview on Wednesday night and I’ll admit at times it felt a little bit slap dash, but that’s not surprising though given the nature of this type of show and the fact it hadn’t officially opened yet. It’s the kind of thing that will only get better as the season runs; throw a few well-known names into the mix and you’re sure to strike gold. It’s all supposed to be a bit of fun anyway, and there’s no denying it fulfilled that. Regardless, with Tom and Chris steering the ship you’re in for one hell of a laugh!
Ridiculous, scandalous and laugh-out-loud funny, Hauraki Horror is a cheeky little play that should jump straight to the top of your December to-do list, somewhere between checking out the Franklin Road Christmas lights and cosying up at the Silo outdoor cinema series. If you’re up for some fun and a good old laugh then I suggest you grab a friend and head along – just another reason to love Christmas. ‘Tis the season.
Note: Hauraki Horror runs until December 20th at the Basement Theatre in the city. Tickets cost $35 for an adult. You can book them here.