Hauraki Horror | The Basement Theatre’s 6th Annual Christmas Show

When I was little I used to make my numerous Barbie dolls indulge in amorous lesbian affairs and cajole my one and only Ken to accept the responsibilities of polygamy and do endless acts of service (I’m talking cleaning the pool, kitchen and car, whatever you might be thinking) to keep his women accustomed to the life they were leading.

However, having no brothers I don’t quite know what a lot of little boys were doing back then. But on Saturday night as I watched Tom (Sainsbury) and Chris (Parker) swordfight with an appropriate ectothermic animal with a gargantuan phallic symbol deliberately that they wielded down each other’s throats – I reckon I might have solved that puzzle.

And maybe some things just don’t change.

The Basement’s Hauraki Horror is a chance to re-visit that highly visceral, somewhat fetishized, occasionally homoerotic (okay maybe more than occasionally) landscape and indulge in one of the silliest and perhaps most ridiculous romps of the year.

Comic writers Sainsbury and Parker star in their own nautical whodunit alongside a rotating cast of Auckland actors in what is, very appropriately, a lewd, rude and bawdy commentary on the juiciest oysters and saveloys at this year’s Chrissy banquet: that’s right, Kiwi celebs laid out in all their glory.

But the real question which occupies our two young wannabe paparazzi (one which Miss Marple would have probably figured out in seconds) is who murdered Captain Dick Rancid? Or more appropriately, who had such bad aim that it was necessary to harpoon the pompous goat (Oliver Driver) not once but three times?

Could it be Sally Ridge (Renee Lyons), whose desire to have a reality show is repeatedly squashed by daughter Jamie (Olivia Tennet); the latter, who is more pre-occupied with her mother getting a lesson in bar service? Or is it Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (Antonia Prebble) who seems to have been unable to bury the hatchet with her beloved Dicky while offering unwelcome attempts at arias; or perhaps it is even more likely that Keisha Castle-Hughes look alike Paikea Apirana (Saraid Cameron), who is now Queen of an underwater conspiracy led by an army of whale pods, is the culprit of this sordid marine tale.

And of course, they all have motives: vacuous, obviously shallow and riddled with superficial sentiment.

It’s clearly one of those riveting mysteries where Hercule Poirot might be needed because if those candidates weren’t sufficient to inspire Agatha Christie’s current write-a-like … just wait till the second act.

Things are suddenly thrown off-kilter when Kelly Tarlton (Sam Snedden) emerges and a second mystery takes over: which set of genitalia does Tarlton need to visit the loo? But don’t get side-tracked attempting an astute conclusion as to which is more appropriate (breasts or pecks) because both Jason Gunn (Ryan Richards) and Thingee (Barnaby Frederic) are on hand for plenty of nineties nostalgia and tumbles down memory lane.

And if the bottle of champers (that is an undoubted a necessity at every table) has not left you with an effervescent benevolence towards the culprit (who you guessed despite the incredibly complex web of deceit that was woven for you over the space of two hours) well… then really Poseidon (Harry McNaughton) himself might have to settle the matter once and for all.

It’s a tad too long, and certainly might not be everyone’s cup of tea but while the music and lyrics are forgettable, and most of the jokes you probably wouldn’t want to regurgitate unless you were having dinner at the outlaws, it’s a night of silliness to celebrate in wholesale quantities for the silly season.

And the latter, it undoubtedly encapsulates exceedingly well.

#basement #christmasshow #sainsbury #parker #theatre