July 2018 Performers at the Wellington Opera House
Tickets from Ticketmaster
Mr Lola Illusion
A magical wonder that delights in the discovery of the world around us.
Professional show-off Mr Lola Illusion will wow you with feats of charm, wit and awe inspiring wonder. His delightful magic act is filled with childlike discovery, cheeky surprises and humour. With 22 years of professional experience Lola has performed in Japan and Taiwan and the antipodean colony of Australia. He has two solo works The Lola Show and Lola’s Grave Mistake both of which have been performed in the Heydey Dome in Wellington’s BATS theatre.
“Lola’s stagecraft, storytelling and tongue-in-cheek humour are pure class. The world he creates have you stepping into something familiar, yet at the same time it’s a much more beautiful familiar.” – Manawatu Standard https://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/lifestyle/100264603/what-we-looked-at-on-stage-in-2017
Les Folies de L’amour
Les Folies de L’amour are an award winning cabaret, burlesque and French can-can dance troupe based in Wellington. The members of the troupe bring a diverse range of dance styles including jazz, Latin, cheerleaders, gymnastics, burlesque and cabaret; and many are well known solo performers in their own right. Together they bring you an amazing style of performances including French cancan, cabaret, jazz, 1920’s, burlesque, Bollywood and traditional Las Vegas showgirl routines.
This troupe founded by local burlesque legend Courtney L’Amour were voted favourite group in the NZ Burlesque Festival Golden Garter awards 2013. They are available to be booked for public and private events.
Having built a reputation on her live performances, warm smokey vocals and soulful delivery of both originals and rearrangements of Funk/R&B/Soul/Jazz.Vanessa Stacey performs regularly with her bands Chocolate Box, Double Trouble, Los Helios and The Shuffle having played in Australia, Europe and back here at home in New Zealand at various festivals including Splore, CupaDupa, Homegrown, Wellington International Jazz Festival, Civic Square Opening of the New Zealand International Arts Festival, The World Press Photo Exhibition and closing of The Cricket World Cup and including international support for Alice Russell, BOYSIIMEN and BONEYM
Earlier this year, Vanessa Stacey released her double debut single release
‘Stood Still’. Born from a colaberation with Haden Gilgan aka DJ Spells and evolving into two very different recordings, firstly with her incomprable band, The Shuffle featuring Chris CK.
The second, a live acoustic masterfully played by Johnny Lawrence (Electric Wire Hustle) on Double Bass and Ashton Sellars (Brockoflower) on Electric Guitar.
In 2018 Vanessa Stacey will be release two more singles from her upcoming album and futher colabrations with NZ Producer Twig Pigeon
Bête Noire is a midi-human from the alternate dimension known as other earth, A synthetic organism, designed for the express purpose of entertaining the wealthy, performing was all she knew. One day during a show for the president of other earths birthday, there was a freak accident causing a large explosion which resulted in a vortex rift opening and transporting this helpless doll into our world. Lost and confused she has found her way to the stage once again. Prepare for an incredible performance of vocal capacity and inhuman effects.
A long-time fan of variety shows, Jackson is excited to bring his unique style of modern circus to this Menagerie. Originally classically trained as a composer, he found his way to the circus arts through contemporary productions which combine acrobatics with music, lighting and other theatrical elements. Such combinations can make for quite striking and intriguing performances, as will be presented in this creature-contortion act.
The art of contortion, as with many circus disciplines, is about pushing the limits of the human body to do things that it cannot usually do. In the case of this performance, the idea of going beyond human ability is embraced and extended to the point where the performer begins to lose their human form and take on a new one. Using organic movements and animalistic demeanour, Jackson brings a unique creature to life onstage. Being performed for the first time in the Menagerie, be prepared for something never seen before that might leave you squirming in your seat. ”
Imogen Stone is known for her strength, musicality and quality of movement she is sure to impress and inspire. The duet between Imogen and her rope is debuting on the Opera House stage for this very special Menagerie variety show.
“Breathtaking” – Edmonton Journal, CA
Imogen has worked with the likes of World of Wearable Arts and Weta Workshop, and frequently tours Internationally. She is a skillful and versatile performer, at home on the small stages of edgy Montreal cabarets and the grand theaters of the largest cities (such as the Opera House). She runs entertainment, production and design company. Colossal Productions with Zane and Degge.
Hugo Grrrl & Eve Envy
Hugo Grrrl and Eve Envy are just your bog-standard sparkly smutty showfolk – a gorgeously goofy local drag duo bound to leave you with a smile on your face and a bit of glitter in your hair. This adorable hairy little gentleman and his biblically beautiful paramore has been shaking things up in the capital lately with their camp and comedic antics. They can’t wait to bring this brand new whimsical duo act to the Opera House for your viewing pleasure.
Hugo Grrrl also moonlights as an award-winning event producer with impressive resume of original, risque late-night cabaret and comedy shows. He was even recently awarded Best Producer in The Wellington Comedy Awards for his efforts. Check him out on Facebook for affordable and deliciously weird shows near you.
Accordions are massive in North Korea, and Emma Wollum is just trying to be responsibly prepared for the era of mutually assured destruction. An award-winning comedian and musician (2016 Wellington Pun Battle Champion, 2017 Wellington Raw Quest winner and National Raw Quest runner-up, 2017 Wellington Comedy Awards Best Joke), she was part of the first act to open the very first Menagerie in 2013, and is proud to return after previous performances involving operatic cake consumption, fake bullfighting, and singing French cabaret numbers through a Darth Vader voice-changing helmet. Described as “topical, amusing, and thought provoking” (Wellington Reviews) with a “transcendentally beautiful voice” (Art Murmurs), she occupies her niche market with gusto.
“A series of controlled (poetic) explosions”- Michael Gray, Poet
Hailing from Hawke’s Bay, Duncan Hope is a performance poet whose unique style has delighted audiences in both New Zealand and Australia. His emotive narratives invite audience members to see themselves in his poetry as he eloquently discusses the follies that plague the human condition.
Duncan’s Facebook page
Duncan’s Snapchat handle is @queerslam
Bonita Danger Doll
Miss Bonita Danger Doll is a femme fatale hailing from the shakey city of Christchurch, New Zealand.
An International glamour girl, with elegant poise and grace with a twist of raw sensuality and passion, with a love for danger that runs through her sparkly veins!
Dubbed as New Zealand’s “Queen of the Classic”, Bonita Danger Doll is Aphrodite in fishnets!
Burlesque Showgirl, Headmistress of Bonita Danger Dolls School of Tease, Singer, Emcee, Owner of Burlesquercise NZ, Co-Producer of Tease & Trouble Productions, Co-Producer of Grand Tease NZ, Princess Bonita, Makeup Artist Producer & Event Management, Stage Coach, Mentor & Tutor, and Brand Ambassador.
Bandolier Masters are a team of well rounded ladies who came back to the sport after some years away from it. The team formed in 2014 and have won many titles within the sport since they formed. They are the current holders of the New Zealand Marching Masters Champion Team award in both the Technical and Display phases. This team will bring to the stage the pomp and ceremony of military drill, with a dash of fun to whet any appetite.
“He’s good” – TV3
“Very good” – TVNZ
“He nails it” – PRIME TV
Alexander is a World Top 10 Trump impersonator (as chosen by Laugh Factory Hollywood), and the guy behind the shows de Sade, ENIGMA, DJ Trump, and Fred From Featherston. He has appeared on TVNZ’s Breakfast, TV3’s The Project, and was a regular on PRIME TV’s Back Benches.
He is currently working on his most recent novel.
Winner: Best Solo Show, 2017 Wellington Comedy Awards
Winner: Outstanding Achievement, 2017 Wellington Comedy Awards
Nominated: Best Actor, 2017 Nelson Fringe Festival
Zane and Degge
Zane and Degge have been entertaining audiences around New Zealand since before they can remember. Born your average baby brothers, cute, round and bald, they are now fully fledged variety performers. Specialising in juggling clubs they are the best in the country. Most famously known for their iconic kiwi comedy they are sure to entertain and amaze.
“Quality home grown talent. Their quirkiness mixed with professional-grade skills offer a charming mix.” – Jillian Davey, TheatreReview
Born and bred in Wellington, they have made it to the final of New Zealand’s Got Talent, toured across Canada and Australia, won the “Iron Chicken” at the World Buskers festival and many things in between. Specialising in Juggling and comedy, they are the best club passers in the country. They run entertainment, production and design company, Colossal Productions with Imogen Stone.
Founded 17 years ago Wellington Batucada is a community-based percussion group which brings the flamboyant world of samba from Brazil to Wellington. The band or Bateria, emulates the traditional samba music played by large percussion groups in Brazil’s carnival parades.
At their fourth appearance at CubaDupa they absolutely wowed the crowds when they paid recognition to the roots of samba from North East Brazil (a more ‘African/Brazilian’ lean) and had them literally dancing in the streets when they paraded after their stage performance.
This all-inclusive group – anyone can join regardless of experience or ability – provides authentic Brazilian instruments for people to learn on. It has around 100 drummers and a dance Bloco of around 30. They are a must for parades, festivals and events, and you can see them at CubaDupa, Newtown Fair, Wellington and Johnsonville Christmas parades, and many more.
Batucada is the Brazilian/ Portugese word from the word Batuque: a drum, or rhythm associated with percussion instruments and African roots. Add ‘ada’ to the end and it is a group of people doing something. So Batucada means a group of people drumming which is what they do.
Over nearly a decade in and around the Wellington variety and cabaret circuit, Victor has found himself in a bewildering array of shows, costumes, and compromising positions (particularly since being shanghai’d into service of the Menagerie in 2013). Now Victor is pinching himself that he has somehow made it to performing on (and above) the Opera House stage. While he’s normally inclined to play the scene for cheap laughs, for the 2018 Menagerie Deluxe he’s bringing you something quite different.
The act he is offering is made from months of blood, sweat, and friction burns. His performance is the result of years training with some of the country’s most talented (and to be frank, most patient) circus professionals. With their help, hopefully it will all look graceful and effortless. Don’t be fooled though, grace is not something that comes naturally for wee Victor.
Through a strange quirk of science, Matt Powell has been performing longer than he seems to have been alive. A theatrical dilettante with a flair for the spontaneous, he’s tried his hand at musical theatre, pantomime, dance, and opera, but the one that’s really stuck is improvisation. Since moving up from Christchurch in 2015, Matt has become a stalwart of the Wellington improvisation scene, notably appearing with PlayShop, Wellington Soap Factory, with comedian Jonny Potts (as “The National Average”), and with Jennifer O’Sullivan in the award-winning “Awkward Threesome”.
“The suave Matt Powell cruises up to the mic… and boy, does he nail it.” – John Smythe, Theatreview
“The Kate Moss of Impro.” – Rik Brown, Impro Melbourne
“Like a baby eating a Cookie Time.” – @fancylettuce, Twitter”
Mapihi Kelland’s contemporary dance work WHARE is a tribute to those before us that moved mountains for their people, that buried treasures to unlock new ones, that stood up, and kept standing up so we keep our Whenua!
Using Maori and Pacific movement with Music from Sharn Te Pou and Mapihi Kelland to capture the push and pull and struggle of carrying with you and living your truth and culture so that your culture is strong and lives on you are strong and live on like a house.
The more we move forward today the further we get from them and their dreams but what always remains the same and constantly pulls us back is our WHARE on our Whenua. Identity, Lineage, whakapapa, Pepeha they live on.
The woman behind the show is Rachel Rouge, a burlesque performer since 2002, having clocked up hundreds of hours of solo stage time, and having seen as many shows, she knows what makes a great show from both sides of the stage.
Rachel has been running The Menagerie since 2013, and has been true to the kaupapa: bringing quirky, edgy & weird, high quality, talented variety acts to the stage. To be diverse, entertaining, brave, and to give every member of the audience something that they will be thinking about long after the show has finished.
Along the way Rachel and The Menagerie have been awarded some very lovely recognition, here are some of her accolades:
Favourite Producer finalist, Golden Garter 2014
Favourite Production winner, Golden Garter 2014
Favourite Show Poster winner, Golden Garter 2014, 15, 17
Most Prepared finalist, Golden Garter 2014, 15
Favourite Production finalist, Golden Garter 2015
Peoples Choice Award finalist Golden Garter 2015
Favourite Show Poster finalist, Golden Garter 2018
Golden Garters at the New Zealand Burlesque Festival awards
VAC Scroll of Honour recipient 2017 – In recognition of her valued contributions as producer and artistic director of The Menagerie. We celebrate her passion and unwavering dedication to the entertainment industry of New Zealand.
Variety Artists Club of New Zealand
Best Producer finalist, The Wellies 2017
Outstanding achievement finalist, The Wellies 2017
The Wellies are the Wellington Comedy Awards
Welly awards Arts Category finalist 2017
The Wellys are the Dominion Post Wellingtonian of the Year
Mārama foolishly made one joke about whistling on stage about 7 years ago in front of one of the producers, and now here we are. Mārama has lurked in the shadows as a patron of the arts for years. A veritable wordsmith (or rather Frankenworder), she has stepped in, stepped up and stepped out of her way on multiple occasions to rescue distressed denizens-of-the-arts with her uncanny ability to -not- panic whilst publicly speaking. This has earned her the title of MC. Achievement unlocked!
Sometimes she is even funny.
Oh – she also whistles good. Like, real good. Play her a tune and she’ll play it back with naught but her lips, tongue, and teeth.
Katja Krimson the red-haired temptress teases with a heady mix of vintage inspired glam, fetish and neo-burlesque strip. Her performance style is informed by her dance training which includes ballet, contemporary and jazz. She performs both solo and as one fourth of the Bandits of Burlesque.
The Aidan Kelly Project
Aidan is a Wellington based singer/songwriter with a strong passion for ecological activism. During the week he runs a small gourmet mushroom company called “The Fungus Federation Ltd” collecting urban and industrial waste products such as coffee grounds etc. and turning them into spray free mushrooms for cafés and restraints. His nights and weekends are spent making sweet music, busking his way across streets and festivals, and struggling to spell “restaurants”.
Class, glamour, exclusivity? Well she likes to think so. This ex-Shore girl is a sure thing and a firm believer in everything looking better three glasses deep. Come enjoy this French knock off as she sips and slips around the stage. Lynn d’Hour, all yours for $9.98.
Katie relishes creating pieces that surprise and excite you. Due to her awkward, clumsy ways, and her ability to throw caution at the wind, her style of pole dance is unique to her. Sit tight to see what possible weirdness she has created for you this month!
Cherry Holahan is a designer, aerialist, mermaid and circus unicorn originally from the UK living in the hipster hub of Wellington. She’s rather good at drinking tea, flashing her frilly knickers as busybody character ‘Iva Nolife’, and experimenting with aerial gumboots.
George Fenn is a artist with a bent towards experimental entertainment. Fusing 13 years of improvisation, good acting (and an academic hangover) George creates works with spontaneous, audience driven performances that delight, provoke, educate and arouse.
Taking away Wellington’s “Spirit of the Fringe” in 2017 and nominated for “Most Innovative Show Award” for G+Force in 2018 George is certainly uncertain. At least he’s pretty sure he is. In a good way.
Gina King has been performing and teaching bellydance since the age of fourteen. She has added a twist to this tantalising art form by utilising masks, props & costumes to entertain & amuses the masses for many years. Spanning the US to the UK, via Bulgaria & now NZ, she brings a vibrant & tantalising twist to an already exquisite art form! Sit back, relax, & be prepared to be amazed (if not slightly disturbed) as Gina moulds dreams and creates fantasies.
Facebook: Gina Bellygees
Bête Noir is a sound effects master from another dimension. Twelve feet tall in wig and heels, this defective fem-bot is here to make your brains pop.
Dianne & Anna
Between them, these feisty females have been improvising for 14 years. Leaving their normal stage at Scruffy Bunny Theatre, catch Anna MacLean and Dianne Pulham in this rare appearance, as they venture outside the rabbit hole. You’ll experience completely organic improv (so Wellington right!?) as these women craft you a complete story from nothing but their imaginations.
Facebook: Scruffy Bunny Improv
Brielle Williams & Eli Joseph
Eli & Briellle (aka Brieli) would prefer it if you referred to them by their separate names. Please do not call them “Brieli”, they will not respond. “Elelle” will be similarly ineffective. They do both respond to “Um, hey…”, “uh-oh”, “hellllp.” and “Oh no!” because that’s their job.
March 2018 Performers
Maria is a local actor and improviser who has also tried comedy a few times (twice successfully, once unsuccessfully). She has just made a clowning show as ‘Maz & Ange’ for the Auckland and NZ Fringes with her pal Angela Fouhy. Last year she toured the country as a singing moonfish, entertaining 3-7 year olds. She is also a member of Playshop Improv Company. She lives a colourful life, but is currently based on her parent’s couch, with whom she’s living in this ‘transitional period’ of her life.
When she’s not shaping young minds as a school Library Assistant and educator, Cathy-Ellen scrawls about unconventional relationships and human connections in Vessel, journal by Lods Paul Press, acts in local Theatre, co-produces literary festivals and tends to her 27 house plants. She is known for uttering obscenities at open mic poetry events yet still can’t shake the descriptors ‘cute and ‘innocent.’ She likes to milk this guise to slip in adjectives that will make you sweat behind your knees.
Evelyn is best known for her fiery red hair, bright smile and her movement style which blends powerful dynamic movements with a strong feminine grace. Last year she toured through Mexico and Central America performing aerial hoop and hula hoop in the depths of the jungle. Her newest act began its creation in Montreal where she trains every year with coaches from the National Circus School of Montreal and Cirque Du Soleil. Combining these skills with the jungle vibes of Central America, she brings a new attitude and style towards her aerial dance.
Check out her website www.evelyncoulson.com
Rapper, beat maker and sometimes funnyman Chris CK replied life , love and psychoactive substances
known for his ability to rise to any occasion on stage
CK blends hard hitting beats with a melodic sensibility
and witty tongue in cheek lyricism with an undercurrent of social consciousness
Check him out on social media.
Sue Viette and the BTDs
When you’re a confident, strong aerobics instructor like Sue Viette, nothing can keep you down! Well almost nothing… You won’t want to miss Sue and the BTDs (Dance troupe and Crowd darlings of Cubadupa and the Newtown Festival) on a journey of love, hate and self discovery – a fabulous dragstravaganza that will feature more leg warmers than an Olivia Newton John music video!
From China to NZ, Tian has been around. Her student life started with a law degree but she is now more interested in learning how to set herself on fire and the art of hot candle wax. Her dance can be slow and sexy or fast and fierce.
Check out her Instagram : https:/www.instagram.com/tian_welly
and beware of dog photos.
Harlow Lestrange has been doing contemporary style hoop for years and loves collaborating across mediums. She has just completed a degree in performing arts (circus) and has a huge interest in multimedia collaboration. She also just really likes circles.
Advait was the runner up of the Wellington Raw Finals in 2017, and then performed in the 2017 National Raw Finals at the Q Theatre.
He has also been nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2016 Wellington Comedy and performed at the event as part of the new comic showcase.
“Kirtikar is a stand-out…uniquely beautiful comedy” – Art Murmur
A recent graduate of both the Bambina and Red Delicious Burlesque Academies, Lilith LaLune is known for her sensual, slow bump’n’grinds and sexy, slinky floorwork. She’s a juxtaposition of burlesque glamour and a rock’n’roll attitude. When she’s not burlesqueing, spends her days pole dancing and drinking G&T’s. Be prepared to be seduced and delighted by this dangerous femme fatale. She’s Nude, Rude and Tattooed.
January 2018 Performers
It’s the epitome of the Kiwiana gal, Miss Pamela Hancock. At 62, she performs at her local pub The Rat Hole every Friday night. Now a regular at Ivy Bar and Cabaret, S&M’s and other venues, Pam has a fan base that can’t get enough of her stories and songs. Every Tuesday she releases an episode of her 5 minute segment “Pam’s Ballad” and is always received with great responses.
Queeny Ives stormed pasties-first into the world of burlesque rather unexpectedly in 2016, when they tripped on a feather boa and fell into a bucket of fake blood and sequins. Queeny combines classical dance training, a retro-glam vintage aesthetic, and a desire to challenge social boundaries through art, all while being weird, wet and (almost) naked! This Canadian-based bombshell from ‘down-under’ previously trained at the Arabesque Burlesque School in Montreal, and the Sky Sirens Studio in Sydney. With a diverse and ever growing portfolio of acts spanning showgirl and striptease to aerial, fetish and gore-inspired burlesque, there’s a little bit of Queeny to please every palate.
http://www.queenyives.com | www.facebook.com/queeny.ives | IG @queenyives
Inspired by the truly outrageous Jem and the Holograms, Erica has been making beautiful music all her life. An opera singer from age 17, she’s more recently discovered that her pretty pipes can belt with the best of them. She’s bringing her infectiously joyful performance to the Menagerie this January, and is excited to share a bit of glitter and glamour with her audience.
Margot von Dont
Margot is a world renowned fashion icon, stylist and life guru. She has spent just under a decade travelling the world, exploring life’s pleasures. Her life has been filled to the brim with eccentric, and wild tales, of which Margot is ready to share with the world. She’s very excited to return to her humble beginnings in Wellington, NZ, and get back to her roots, where the style truly began.
The girls are back! Bogan Yoga hit New Zealand as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival in 2015 creating a fitness craze that rocked Wellington. Ditching yoga pants in favour of Adidas three stripes and swapping world music with rock music, this trend raised some eyebrows and quite a few devil horn hand signs in the process. The team is thrilled to announce that especially for the Menagerie audience they will bring new sequences to the stage based on their combined expertise of years of research on drinking beer in lazy-boys. Sit back, grab a drink, get your flow on.
https://www.facebook.com/boganyoganz/ | https://boganyoga.wordpress.com/
Craig showed up on the Wellington comedy scene in 2015, and was proud to represent his adopted city at the 2016 National Raw Quest finals, even though he lost. His main aim in comedy is to show that Accountants like him can be just like real people. He has a healthy (and well justified) suspicion of Moroccan Bathhouses, and abhors dancing.
India has been dancing for over 16 years and loves every musical from the classic Oklahoma! to the fresh faced Hamilton. With a recent Diploma in Performing Arts (Singing) under her belt, India is performing in every musical she can get her hands on.
Sophia is a multi-talented circus artist, dancer, and performer. This month she brings you a sneak peek at “The Composer” which will makes its world premiere in the Wellington Fringe Festival March 20-24th.
The Composer is a circus show set inside the brilliant mind of Franz Cordery as he struggles to put together his composition. It features work from up and coming Wellington talent Jackson Cordery, Connor Leech, Rhyanne Vasta and Sophia O’Connor.
Facebook Sophia Thérèse Circus
An icon of the New Zealand burlesque industry, this born and raised showgirl packs a punch with every performance. She’s packed with more bubbles than champagne, more sparkles than the milky way, and more curves than a roller-coaster. Somehow she manages to cinch all that into one diminutive dynamo of razzle-dazzle. Hide your husbands, here comes Fanci!
Brielle Williams and Eli Joseph
Like Whiskey and Coke, Batman and Robin, or Salsa and Marshmallows, this dynamic duo are a winning combo. They’ve been working together since 2013 and have joined forces once more to bring you this month’s Menagerie. Eli lured in the talent, and sprang the trap. Brielle made sure that the trap was well oiled, and up to all current applicable H&S Legislative standards. She’s the sensible one.
November 2017 Performers
Kelly Fornia has been hot on Wellington’s drag scene since early 2016 and is now an award winning drag queen who’s going international with her gigs. She’s fierce, she’s bold and she’s one of Wellington’s most energetic performers. Now turning her hand to MC’ing, see how this energy translates into her hosting, it’s sure to be something.
Find Kelly on Facebook and on Instagram @kellyfornianz.
2 Dope Teenz
2 Dope Teenz (Aaron Pyke and Alayne Dick) are just a couple of ruckus youth who are here to solve yo problems and drop some radical life advice. After having sick solo careers, Alayne is the star of Alayne’s Cat Safari and Aaron was a Raw Comedy Quest national finalist. They teamed up to win Late Night Knife Fight (March 2017) and now they are here to win your heartz ♥. Come get woke, ’cause it’s gonna be lit.
Find them on Facebook.
Nick Tasman Davies
Some would say that two hats are better than one…. well that’s what this Tasmanian carnie was once told. We will see what fits best in this sweet sentiment between man and hat.
Evelyn is best known for her fiery red hair, bright smile and her movement style which blends powerful dynamic movements with a feminine flow. Recently she has toured through Mexico and Central America performing aerial hoop and hula hoop. Her newest act was created in Montreal where she trains every year with coaches from the prestigious National Circus School of Montreal and Cirque Du Soleil. Combining these skills with the jungle vibes of Central America, she brings a new attitude and style towards her aerial dance.
Check out her website.
Emmas music is far from formulaic, It’s raw and honest, emotionally engaging. evocative and wistful. Surrendered words imbued with fearless sensuality.
Emma is a songstress of sheer delight to feast upon. Wellington is blessed to receive this UK born gypsy following on from her years on the UK Festival circuits.
Vanessa Crofskey (van crof) is an artist whose practice spans the boundaries of text, performance and installation.
Her performance salon debut at the Auckland Fringe Fest 2017 won Best Storytelling/Spoken Word alongside ATC’s Here and Now Award. She was the 2015 UoA Slam Champion, a Rising Voices National Finalist and is one half of Thursday Girls, who run the monthly poetry show Fake American Accent at the Basement Theatre. She won’t say anything else in order not to humble-brag, but there’s a lot of good biography content. Picks fights based on her instagram daily horoscope. Likes fried chicken and goodreads quotes.
“a standout” – whatsgood.co.nz
Find van crof on Facebook and on Instagram @officialtrashqueen.
Skylar Leigh is the personification of your darkest fantasies. The last time she appeared at The Menagerie she raised the temperature of the room and raised the pulse of every member of the audience. Skyar is a legit showgirl, Playboy model, cam-girl and total geek. She’s coming back to our show on November 25th to work the pole like no other.
Laura Oakley is a hula hoop extraordinaire based in Wellington. Her multi hoop performances are punchy, fast paced and full of sass. She is excited to be bringing a dynamic new multi hoop act to the November Menagerie.
Our producer and the benevolent dictator of The Menagerie Rachel was award a prestigious Scroll of Honour by the New Zealand Variety Artist Club. It was in recognition of her valued contributions as producer and artistic director of The Menagerie, and in celebration of her passion and unwavering dedication to the entertainment industry of New Zealand. She stoked! This month she has been selected as a Finalist in this year’s Wellingtonian of the Year Awards (Wellys) in the Arts category. She’s absolutely dumbfounded.
October 2017 Performers
At only 21 years old, Melanie Bracewell has shot to success in comedy. She began in 2014 as the winner of the 7 Days Comedy Apprentice competition and continued impressing audiences to win the 2015 Raw Comedy Quest. Since then, she has been in hot demand, performing at events including Rhythm and Vines and was nominated for the “Best Newcomer” award for her first show in the 2016 Comedy Festival. With goofy observations and natural stage charisma, Melanie is a master of anecdotes.
When she’s not on stage, she can be found furiously trying to be funny on the internet through her popular humour blog with over 230,000 followers, meladoodle.com, or desperately trying to get her jokes down to 140 characters for her slightly less popular Twitter profile, @meladoodle.
“Yeah, I’ve seen Melanie’s comedy – and look, my lower eyelids are still filled with teary laugh water! Annoyingly hilarious.” – Steve Wrigley
Ray O’Leary is a 2017 Billy T Award Nominee known for his dark and political style. He has performed alongside top New Zealand comedians with his brand of outrageous one-liners, deadpan delivery and confident awkwardness.
Find Ray on Facebook and on Twitter at @oleary_ray
Mike Kay is a performing artist whose media include mystery, influence and mind reading. He also specialises in the applied science of imaginary solutions and recreational impossibilities.
He is a Member of PSYCRETS, the British Society of Mystery Entertainers and the Psychic Entertainers Association.
When he was young, he had an invisible friend named Logan. Not an imaginary friend, an invisible one. Mike is still in frequent contact with Logan.
Christchurch based Mystical Jinx are a dynamic duo like no other! Nicole is a classically trained ballerina and Josh, a theatrical costumier with a flair for magic.
What they do is a very specialised form of illusion which dates back to 16th century Italy. For this show they are debuting their fast paced Quick Change Act “VOODOO” which is unique in NZ. All of the visual effects and costumes you will see have been handcrafted by Josh with meticulous care and attention to detail.
Find Mystical Jinx on Facebook. .
Crimes of Passion
Crimes of Passion are a recently-formed acoustic ensemble performing sultry & soulful arrangements of songs by artists including Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Leonard Cohen, the Velvet Underground, and many more. Featuring Marusha Sagadin on vocals, Danny Webster (Permanence, Radar Angel) on vocals and guitar, and Duncan Nairn (Hiboux, Keller Kinder) on double-bass.
Find Crimes of Passion on Facebook .
Jinz Moss is a UK Hip Hop Artist. He combines chill hop and boom bap beats with storytelling and poetry.
Find Jinz Moss on Facebook. .
Maree & Miss G.
Wellington pole doubles act Maree & Miss G have been delighting Wellington audiences for the last four years. Their fun and quirky performances showcase the strength and grace of pole fitness as well as exploring the creative side of the art. Maree & Miss G are co-owners of Wellington’s Body Electric Pole Dance Studio, home of some of Wellington’s best pole dancers.
Check out Body Electric’s website.
The ladies love Nate! He’s suave, he’s sexy, he got moves that one can only described as something seen on the discovery channel. Despite his Napoleon complex, Nate is still a big softy on the inside. No doubt, things will be super turnt up on stage with Nate.
Halloween is a time for dressing up and painting your face. Unless you do that sort of thing on the regular, perhaps. This month Victor is taking the audience for a peek behind the stage curtain. Not an act for the coulrophobics in the crowd.
Find Victor on Facebook.
Producer of Dank Comedy Show (Best Show Wellington Comedy Awards 2016) and winner of the 2017 Spirit of The Fringe Award. A supporter and patron of Wellington arts and cultural events, Joel has been involved in the background workings of a wide variety of shows and stage craft. This will be his first time guest-producing The Menagerie, expect an eclectic mix of talented performers.
September 2017 Performers
This candy dandy will be popping the Menagerie cherry on the top of his ice cream sundae. It may get messy. Usually more of a lover than a fighter, Timothy is Wellington’s sweetest drag king. He’s cotton candy cuteness wrapped into a fun size package. That said, Timmy will fight a scrub if he needs to! What? You think Timothy is afraid of a fight? Just because of his candy cane arms, his pixie-stick neck? Ha! Hahahaha!
Find him online.
Facebook: Timothy Taffy
Anya is a less-talented-than-average singer, and intends to continue doing so despite her boyfriend’s advice to the contrary. Luckily for you, she’s actually booked as comedian. Anya is unapologetically Russian, but with a few “chur bro”s and “yeah nah”s has cracked the code for obtaining NZ residency. If you think Russia is all mail order brides, vodka and pet bears, then she’s not going to tell you otherwise. The casual darkness of Anya’s comic sensibility reflects the barren, icy nature of the Russian landscape. We hope you like dry humor.
Find her online.
Kelly is usually comprised of unicorns and rainbows, but in order to mix things up and give audiences a lick from the underside of the brush she’s swapping out the sparkles for something more deviant. To really heat things up she’s bringing the Menagerie its debut of one of the most infamous balance apparatuses in the circus world. Witness New Zealand’s only female Rola Bola artiste risk life and limb.
Find her online.
Facebook: Kelly Chaproniere
Chris Oh! is a multi-disciplinary performance artist with a penchant for nudity, rhinestones and all things glamorous. He has travelled the world and accrued much international acclaim as a performer. He delighted audiences with his solo show as part of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, performed en pointe in front of thousands at World Pride in Toronto, and recently won the Grand Prix Award for best performance at the Le Bisou Francais Burlesque Festival in Paris, France.
The stage is his happy place, your attention his pleasure. He is sure to bring a sparkle to your eye and let loose the butterflies in your stomach.
Just make sure you bring a hanky to keep those hands and foreheads dry. He’ll leave you hot and bothered and screaming for more.
Most little girls dream of running away to join the circus at some point. Sophia ran away to Circus school and turned her life upside down. When not upside on her hands, Sophia can be found upside down in an aerial ring, or upside down on top of other acrobats.This month, she will be upside down on the Fringe Bar stage… or just above it.
Troubadette is a songwriter, singer, musician, designer, theatrical madwoman, blogger and occasional comedian. A Wellington native, she’s recently relocated to sunny Northland where she lives in a box and vents her problems to the nearby cows. In September she’s coming home for a visit to sing songs about dicks, both physical and metaphorical.
Shelly Golightly is a Burlesque Babe with a twist! Several twists, actually. Combining a penchant for stretching convention with a bit of vaudeville flair; she will literally bend over backwards for her audience.
Less Shakespeare, more Dr Seuss crossed with Jay-Z, Christian’s spoken poetry packs rhythm, rhyming and a whole lot of laughs to keep you entertained. Having just moved from Dunedin to pursue poetry (whatever that means), Christian is eager to show off exactly what he’s brought with him and introduce you to a new type of spoken poetry.
If Rachel Rouge is the Menagerie’s Kermit, then Eli would fall somewhere between Gonzo and Scooter. Flitting between cabaret whatever and willing intern, his job is what task Rachel needs doing any given month. While he had intended to eat a rubber tire to the music of The Flight of the Bumblebee for the September show, he was instead tasked with organising the performers instead. Whatever you say, Mr Frog.
Performers of The Menagerie Deluxe at the Wellington Opera House September 2nd 2017
July 2017 Performers
Andrea is an aerial dance addict. She’s been trying to give up since 2002, but there are so many apparatus to try, and she keeps inventing new ones.
Find her online youtube.com/user/tanglepoint
A regular on the NZ comedy circuit, Jerome has performed across the country as a comedian and MC. He has taken his solo shows everywhere from the Edinburgh Fringe, the NZ International Comedy Festival, and a nice little pub up in Kapiti.
Dominic Hoey is a poet, author, and musician based in Auckland, New Zealand. Under the Tourettes moniker, Dominic has released five critically acclaimed studio albums, two books of poetry and four short films. In a former life, he was an MC battle- and slam-poetry champion. He has performed his spoken-word poetry in Australia, Europe, England, Japan, and America. He also works as an arts mentor, teaching rangatahi excluded from mainstream education. His first novel, Iceland, is due for release in June through Steele Roberts.
Behind Rai’s sweet smile is a shit load of sass! She has a diverse performance background ranging from Classical Voice & Dance, through Musical Theatre & Saucy Jazz, to Traditional Ryukyuan Dance*. Compassionate and dedicated to her day job, if you flick her a challenge she’ll snatch-up the spotlight and take to the stage.
*an old dance form from the southern islands of Japan (Rai trained in Okinawa, Japan).
Human Peeb is an acoustic singer songwriter specializing in energetic and dynamic surreal folk music.
Clarissa Chandrahasen burst onto the comedy scene earlier this year when she took out second place in the Wellington Pun Battle. Her stand-up comedy debut was in the Wellington Raw Comedy Quest, where she made it to the semi-finals.
Nocturness is a siren temptress and goddess of gore. Mistress of the Strange. Dark and depraved, confusing and captivating.
Find her online
Rowan Carreira could never afford guitar lessons as a kid, so he learnt to play himself instead. He often forgets he even has this strange skill, despite the fact he has been honing his ‘noises’ for over a decade.
Hadassah Grace is a writer, singer, and more recently a producer living here in Wellington. As a writer she’s been published by Vice, Nerve, Radio New Zealand, and Phantom’s Poetry On The Streets. As a singer she’s opened for Fleetwood Mac and Old Crow Medicine Show, and shared a stage with Aldous Harding, Marlon Williams, and Barry Saunders. As a producer she’s very excited about the incredible talent she gets to share with The Menagerie’s audience.
June 2017 Performers
Kelly made her debut at the March edition of Queen vs Queen competing against the 2015 Ms Capital Drag Mama DeZiyah. Whilst the nail biting event ended in a draw, this did not delay Kelly’s burst into Wellingtons drag scene. Kelly went on to become the runner up in the 2016 Capital drag competition, has done multiple fundraisers and events around Wellington and has been taking out titles around New Zealand and is now the producer of her very own variety show Clash of the Stars held at Ivy Bar. Come see the 2016 born queen show why she’s one of the fiercest in the game.
AJ Te Aho
AJ Te Aho likes to sing and connect with others, sharing through waiata and chant the way they experience their world, life and gender identity through the lens of autism and biculturalism in both Te Reo Māori and English.
Jen’s passion is in using physical skills, clown and theatre to tell relevant stories and engage with audiences.
Her solo show Echolalia, about a young woman with Aspergers Syndrome has toured to Australia, the US and Finland and received multiple 5 star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe. She loves Autumn and is obsessed with ghosts.
Te Kahureremoa Taumata aka Ladyfruit is singer, songwriter, story teller, writer, and a mother of three who grew up in a te reo-speaking home in Wainuiomata. With her genuine warmth and friendliness she’s instantly likable. Her songs and stories uncover magic in the every day. The Menagerie is delighted to welcome her back to tell the stories of Matariki with her unique ability to simultaneously educate, inspire and entertain.
Imogen and Zane
Aerialist Imogen Stone and Zane from Zane & Degge know The Menagerie audience are up-for and in-to their unique brand of circus comedy. So they keep bringing back their weirdest, quirkiest and oddest ideas. We love that. Zane & Imogen are talented performers who have travelled all over New Zealand and the world wowing audiences with their physical dexterity, deadpan humour, immaculate timing and trouser warming attractiveness.
Janaye likes her comedy to be fun, relevant and almost always has an underlying agenda of pushing towards equality. She is a lover of faux fur, analogies and uncomfortable audience interaction. She is excited to partake in the Menagerie and have some laughs with everyone.
Mythical Haze is a whole lot of weird and a whole lot of fabulous. She is best known for her ‘zero f***s given’ rendition of ‘Anaconda’, which has earned her the title of ‘People’s Choice’ not once, but twice during the Grand Tease 2015. She claims to be shy off-stage, but she certainly isn’t once she’s up there! Her signature style is sultry and devil-may-care with a dash of the comical mixed in, but you better believe her performance will put the ass in sass.
Performing sporadically whenever parties and venues allow it, Nyasha Bagley has built a swagger and sway as Miss Deadpool. Be dazzled and amazed as she spins glowing life in front of your eyes. twitch.tv/missxdeadpool
Zane & Degge
Wellington’s more famous circus bros, Zane & Degge are expert jugglers and comedic performers. Straight of their hit Comedy Festival show Laser Kiwi these actual blood relations are back to The Menagerie to host the whole show. Degge and Zane (because why does Zane always have to go first) are known for having the weirdest ideas and making them work. They are adept at all aspects of performance and can turn the oddest concepts into the most entertaining acts.
Our producer Rachel Rouge carefully seeks out the best local and national talent to be in The Menagerie. She individually curates every show to be the perfect balance of diverse, talented and entertaining performance of all types. She’s particularly delighted with this line up of drag, singing, clowning, Māori storytelling, circus, burlesque, and comedy.
May 2017 Performers
Stella Del Lure
Stella Del Lure is a terrifying temptress based in Dunedin. Having danced since age three and graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Performing Arts she enjoys wearing great costumes, removing great costumes and having a deliciously good boogie.
With an eye for the mysterious and dark things of the world she loves to take that into her style and mix it with a touch of vintage glamour.
Always serving you a look! With great hair she knows how to put on a show xox
Instagram @harlielux #hatsbyharlie
Pushing the limits of the corporeal body, Snow Spirit of Cirque du Sang creates a feast for the senses using flesh, steel, hooks, blood, fire and sound – always unique and always real. You’ve seen her unique style of gorelesque, sideshow, lust & pure shock everywhere from Disco Bloodbath to the Fetish Balls. Expect to stunned, aroused and turned upside down.
Georgie Sullivan is currently rehearsing for WITCH Theatre Companies New Zealand premiere of Carrie the Musical, in which she plays a bully named Helen. Georgie completed her Bachelor in Applied Arts (Performing Arts) at Whitireia Performance Centre in 2016, following completing her Diploma in Performing Arts (Singing) in 2015. Currently, Georgie works for Enchanted Entertainment, entertaining children and performing at events as various Disney princesses, including Princess Anna (Frozen), Queen Elsa (Frozen) Repunzel (Tangled) and Arial (The Little Mermaid). She is also the lead vocalist in blues band Georgie and the Geriatrics. Recently, Georgie was cast as Lady Genevieve in Bacchus Theatre’s 2017 premier of The Queen of Tarts. In 2015, she was cast in the role of Debbie in the New Zealand premier of Serial Killer Barbie the Musical. She was also cast as an ensemble member in Circa Theatre’s 2015 production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Felix is an utterly charming cutie of a comedian. He’s won awards, well, one – but he stays humble to the max. #Blessed #Love #Follow #Happy #TagforLikes #LikeForLike #NoFilter “Say anything you want” “Felix Desmarais is the greatest comedian alive” – Ben Hurley
Helen Vivienne Fletcher
Helen Vivienne Fletcher’s page poetry has appeared in numerous online and print publications, but her true love is spoken word. She describes her poetry style as “funny tragedy” and likes to mix in some light with the dark. She also writes in a number of other genres, including children’s and young adult fiction, and helps young people find their passion for storytelling by teaching afterschool creative writing classes and holiday programmes. Her first young adult novel Broken Silence will be released very soon.
Matt Powell is an improvisor with a gift/affliction for puns and wordplay. Since arriving from Christchurch in 2015, Matt has made regular appearances at PlayShop LIVE, Late Night Knife Fight, and the New Zealand Improv Festival, and has performed and taught around New Zealand and Australia and as far away as Réunion Island. His 2016 New Zealand Fringe Festival show with Jennifer O’Sullivan, Awkward Threesome, was awarded “Tastiest Show”, but the award he’s most looking forward to putting on a poster is his 2017 “Best Poster” award.
The Moringa Dancers is a Wellington based African-Inspired dance troupe with international members who thrive on the soul lifting experience of working with beautiful African rhythms and expressing joy through movement. They have united here in New Zealand through a shared passion for rhythmic musicality and creative expression. They also offer community classes and host guest artists for workshops.
A graduate of the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (Christchurch) and Francine Cote’s Clown and Comedy School (Montreal) Jess Brien is an Auckland based clown, storyteller and cider connoisseur. She travels around NZ, Australia and sometimes the whole wide world bringing smiles and joy to audiences kinda like you, performing things kinda like what she’s going to do tonight.
Find her on social media at @jessssbrien facebook.com/jessssbrien twitter.com/jessssbrien instagram.com/jessssbrien
Our producer Rachel Rouge is up to her lashes organising fabulous events right now. As well as producing these fantastic monthly shows at The Fringe Bar, Rachel works full time as an event manager by day, and, this year she’s decided to put on a huge Menagerie show at The Wellington Opera House. Rachel talks about this massive show, The Menagerie Deluxe, in the latest episode of The Guy Cater Show, you can catch it on Youtube.
April 2017 Performers
Storyteller Gerard Harris regularly tours the UK & Ireland, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. He most recently performed in Wellington at the NZ Fringe with the award-winning show Attention Seeker. He is also the Chief Executive of That’s Enough Drama, a shell company based in the UK and registered in Belize, facilitating international freight services and some comedy.
Ellie May Marshall aka DizzE Doll is an up and coming multi skilled performer & aerialist in the New Zealand circus industry and since starting out in early 2014, has flown from strength to strength with fierce passion and dedication in her chosen Aerial skills. She has extensively trained all over the country and the USA within various Circus schools and workshops.
She is known for her command of various aerial acrobatics but is widely known for her speed of light spinning and high energy Aerial Hoop routines nationwide. She has also found a deep passion for contortion and hand balancing.
Jasmine Tease is credited with being the driving force behind the local Nelson scene. She is the Producer of Grandiose Burlesque – Nelson’s sauciest annual event, which is it’s 7th year. She also produces the Starlet of NZ – an annual burlesque comp for new performers to find their feet.
A versatile performer, she is usually making audiences laugh as ‘sexual comedian’ . However she also enjoys experiencing her ‘dark side’ and is looking forward to bringing the Skeleton Showgirl to the Menagerie.
Princessin Hans grew up on Berlin’s punk literature and queer kabarett stages, and is made up of Hans Kellett (NZ) and Jörg Hochapfel (DE), often working together with various guest musicians and tonight even a guest Interpreter! With a playfully deconstructive attitude we blur conventional clichés of celebrity and identity while juggling musical genres like some folks juggle knives.
You can add in our Homepage, if you like: http://www.princessinhans.de
Saran is a “stand up comedian”, “dancer” “jazz musician” and “that sign language interpreter who flipped off all of parliament.” With a reputation for the strange, the dark, the wickedly funny, and a known association with Klaus Vermillion, they’re older than they look and far less mature.
Maybe she’s trash, maybe she’s glamour. But which one, Stephii Onassiss will leave that decision up to you.
Normally very expressive in the face, Stephii looks forward to channeling that to her other limbs as she signs her life away on the Menagerie stage.
Stephii Onassiss is in her final days as the current reigning Mx Capital Drag, trying to get all the sweet gigs before fading into obscurity. (Stephii learned NZSL at Victoria University and Tawa College night courses many moons ago)
Michaela Dresel is another one of them BA students, studying the interesting mix of psychology, theatre, and New Zealand sign language. Her hobbies include wearing different coloured converse, signing over tea and pizza, scribbling down thoughts that vaguely resemble poetry, and avoiding all responsibilities and assignments until the last possible moment.
Mr Lola Illusion
Mr Lola Illusion a master of prestidigitation will enthrall you with his sleight of hand skills and camp humour. A spectacular visual treat!
Jennifer O’Sullivan & Matt Powell
Jennifer O’Sullivan has been called “Wellington’s most prolific improvisor”, with a long history of performance with almost every company in Wellington. She created the hit show Late Night Knife Fight, directs the NZ Improv Festival and generally functions as an all-round rad babe.
Since hitting Wellington in 2015, Matt Powell has made his mark with PlayShop, as well as appearing regularly in Late Night Knife Fight (with Jonny Potts as The National Average) and The New Zealand Improv Festival. His butt looks good in skinny jeans.
Stars of 2016’s award winning Awkward Threesome and international touring performers, together Matt and Jen bring their own brand of cheeky charm, creating never-to-be-repeated theatre out of thin air.
Benevolent Dictator of The Menagerie, and butterfly, er we mean, performer wrangler, Rachel Rouge is particularly excited about our first deaf accessible show. We have hired 3 different sign interpreters from Odd Socks to help us onstage to interpret for the poet, storyteller and the punk-cabaret band. All other acts are not reliant on sound.
It’s going to be a fun night, if you have any friends who speak NZ sign language, or are deaf please do bring them along.
March 2017 Performers
Feather Unsure is a comedian and cabaret performer from Dunedin. Her comedic style calls on personal experience for joke inspiration, living up to the best heckle she has ever received, which was “you’re not a comedian, you just have a funny life!”
Aidin Ralfe has been fooling himself that he’s been fooling other people for four years now, and has recently decided that, actually, he’s a proper magician now. Sort of. Without the rabbits and tuxedos and beautiful assistants. And in need of a haircut.
He still isn’t quite sure how he does some of the things he does, but hopes that when he finally does get the top hat and tails, it’ll all make sense somehow.
After treading boards at drama school and disrupting airwaves on the wireless, Tarns settled within stanzas of script, story and slam to see out her days. Not really. She has a job, she’s not an actual drifting poetry pirate…although……
Previously published in places, loves alliteration – her witty, wordy works have sprawled across window displays, local arty scenes, open mics and plays, as well as expelling and uploading prose to http://www.deadbrownbird.wordpress.com. Her writing strength lies within everyday observation, obsession and emotion – most pieces coming from a place of dark, dingy and depressing personal experience, accompanied by long thinky walks and usually edited with classic cartoons projected through screens in the background.
Tarns – a first draft scribbled on paper first, poetic writer and performer who survives on cigarettes, fruit tea, caffeine and cheese and who always bowls about with many pens.
The name is Robin Yablind, description just “Drag King”. He’s the newest Wellington King rearing his not so tall dark and handsome head for the first time. Part shady, part fabulous, all gentleman, this reformed ruffian still packs a suspicious amount of junk in the trunk!
Laura is an aspiring circus artist who likes object manipulation, working on the ground and in the air. Currently working with mismatched hoops and movement, she looks forward to showing you the product of her play.
Rachel performed for many a year with the company te POOKa back in the UK. Now residing in Nelson, she dabbles very occasionally in performing these days. This will be a re-incarnation of her infamous character “Babs” – an old lady who puts the men to shame with her naughty, dirty thoughts.
“I don’t really like songs and words. They pin things down, like butterflies. I prefer instrumental music, where every sound means whatever words you like. When I write music, I need to see pictures in my head. Otherwise it’s no good. I like to think that, more than songs or pieces, they’re like little landscapes. Your mileage is welcome to vary.
I guess I got tired of waiting for a band to magically appear and, out of frustration, I started playing bass guitar on my own. Since then I’ve played for all sorts of people, corporate parties, families at the Dowse, for people in bars, pubs, city streets and art galleries. And it’s been great so far.”
This year Pasquale Orchard commences her Honours level of study in a B.Mus in Classical Voice Performance under the guidance of Jenny Wollerman at the Te Koki New Zealand School of Music. She holds her NZAMD Licentiate diploma for Jazz, Tap and Hip-Hop and her Trinity LTCL diploma in Performance Arts. Pasquale has been a scholar with Orpheus Choir for four years and is also a past recipient of the Sacred Heart Catholic Cathedral choir scholarship. In 2017 Pasquale debuted as Mercedes in Carmen with New Zealand Festival Opera, she will also perform as Susanna in Eternity Opera’s production of The Marriage of Figaro, as the Vixen in NZSM’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen and with the Freemasons NZ Opera Chorus in NZ Opera’s production of Carmen.
Rachel Rouge has recently got a new job, a new flat, and tasked herself with new goals. It’s a bit of a crazy time for her right now, but she finds solace in the wild and quirky world of producing a monthly variety show.
Rachel is particularly delighted with March’s line up. She reckons she keeps getting better and better at putting together a show of diverse, unique and talented acts.
February 2017 Performers
Lisa-Skye is Australia’s favourite sparklepuppy muppet dominatrix comedian. Her uniquely positive and inclusive humour and glitter-bomb high-energy delivery have made her a favourite on the International arts festival circuit. This pocket rocket has to be seen to be believed. Not for the close-minded! Find more of her at instagram, twitter, youtube.com and facebook: @thelisaskye
Hannah Tasker-Poland [Miss Anthropy] could wash dishes on stage for an hour and still be captivating’ – Metro Magazine ‘Best-Of Auckland’ 2013.
Miss Anthropy/Hannah Tasker-Poland – Professional dancer, actor, stunt performer & vamp. Her previous appearances at The Menagerie have included her writhing with three tits and a beard, pouring Listerene all over herself, having the audience wash off her painted-on stockings and drunkenly gate-crashing the ‘Best Of’ show with questionable face-humping and passing out while performing a lap dance. What a gal.
This month she returns in her weirdest role yet – your host for the evening!
Mike Dr Blue with Sameena Zehra
Mike ‘Dr Blue’ is a Blues & Roots Singer-Songwriter, guitarist and harmonica player from the UK. He joins us with his writing and singing partner, Sameena Zehra, who is also a comedian and storyteller. Together, they wrote Mike’s first solo album ‘Heaven Bound’ in 2010 and are currently putting the finishing touches to a new album ‘Silent Man’. This new album is a mix of solo and band tracks, building on the Blues influences that informed ‘Heaven Bound’, along with more Folk and Roots inspired songs, including ‘Birds In Song’, an anti war song written in the 80’s but unfortunately still relevant today, and the beautiful, anthemic ‘Moving On’, written 20 years ago and a favourite with audiences whenever it has been played. The eponymous title song has a video out on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grZs_0ko0yo
Come with Galaxy Fox down to the basement level of her subconscious, like a scene from a David Lynch film where glitter settles on the surreal and Barbie can get a good price on dermal fillers.
This act will challenge self image and beauty standards while poking fun at how serious we take ourselves. Let go and welcome to the fun fetish freak show!
Zane and Degge
Zane and Degge have been entertaining audiences around New Zealand since before they can remember. Born your average baby brothers, cute, round and bald, they are now fully fledged variety entertainers. They put the milk in tea because otherwise they can’t stand the taste, they put the SH in patience because the T doesn’t make any sense but best of all they will put a smile on your face.
The Highland Joker
The Highland Joker, also known as ‘The Bubble Man’, initially trained professionally as a teacher (B.Ed.) and later on as an actor (MA Merit) at the Guildford School of Acting and has many years experience as a workshop facilitator and a performing artist. He is a member of The Variety Artists Club of New Zealand and of the international Magicians Society. Awarded as Best Family Act Entertainer for 2016 by Face TV. He loves performing with Soap Bubbles both indoors and outdoor and dreams to float inside a soap bubble one day!
Rock n Roll covers band playing a mix of high energy rock classics, both old and new. 😉
Mike Kay is a performing artist whose media include mystery, influence and mind reading. He also specialises in the applied science of imaginary solutions and recreational impossibilities.
He is a Member of PSYCRETS, the British Society of Mystery Entertainers and the Psychic Entertainers Association.
In addition to mystery performance, he also gives readings through use of cartomancy, numerology and cleromancy.
This will be his fourth time performing at The Menagerie. He’s attended all of them except one, and he’s currently building a time machine to rectify that situation.
Rachel Rouge has had a fascinating career from being a sideshow sprooker, a body painter in a fetish club, a playwright, a factory worker, a signwriter, a ‘safe sex slut’, a foot fetish website model, a bookkeeper and a teacher to name a few.
But Rachel always seems to get drawn back to what she loves most: creating amazing and memorable experiences for people.
January 2017 Performers
Far far away, the land of reindeers, snow and Santa is the home of Kiki LaFox. It’s the first time this Finnish burlesque entertainer is going to be on stage in New Zealand! Pretty exciting!
Kiki LaFox has performed a lot in her hometown Jyväskylä and also in other places in Finland. At home, she’s a teacher of the basics of burlesque, empathising and stage performing. She has been a part of the group Jyväskylä Burlesque from its birth. Now it’s time for her first international performance.
She’s acted as a humorous Napoleon and a sensual feather fan dancer and many things between them. We’ll see what she will show us this time.
Jim Bailey has been writing songs and performing in bands and as a soloist since the age of 13. Along the way has performed alongside notable kiwi musicians such as Barnaby Weir Thomas Oliver and Lisa Tomlins.
Jim currently splits his time between performing either as the front man of his band Jim Bailey & The Vermillion Poets, or in the acoustic duo The BAVI Brothers and tutoring guitar, bass and vocals in various schools around Palmerston North.
As a songwriter he draws from soul, funk, blues and rock in equal measure, as well as classic literature for lyrical inspiration. However despite all this hes still best known as “The guy with that really sparkly guitar”.
Firstborn of the Haus of Voyant, producer of GAG Collective drag-shows, winner of April 2016’s Queen vs King, and participant of Capital Drag 2016, the Wellington-based Indy Pendant planted her roots a year ago and hasn’t stopped growing from there.
This twisted, genderqueer mess of a diva embraces a mixture of femininity and masculinity in a variety of eclectic and androgynous styles – depending on whatever she feels like – and actively supports and encourages others to do the same.
Tiwhanawhana is a community group established for Takatapui (Maori LGBTIQ) to live Maori culture in a way that upholds the diversity of sexuality, to address racism and discrimination in LGBTIQ communities and to combat homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in Maori society.
Tiwhanawhana promotes health and well-being to Takatapui as it builds community, tell their stories and leave legacies for future generations.
Kapa haka or learning to perform Maori entertainment and culture is one way for Tiwhanawhana to connect Takatapui to each other and community.
LaQuisha St Redfern
Ms LaQuisha St Redfern BSc has been described variously as “a bearded lady”, “a flamboyant non binary entity from outer space”, and “that crazy cat lady”.
Best categorised as a performance artist, LaQuisha has been entertaining globally – via satellite link – with writing, comedy, song and a singular twitter feed.
LaQuisha’s output includes Eulogy for a Tunnel (film), Dropped Pie (web series), ANZ GayTM (Huffington post, 3 News). She is currently working on a memoir, and a revival of her live-streamed show Leisure Lounge.
Women ruin everything
‘Women Ruin Everything’ is a beautiful and hilarious snapshot of the messy, modern queer-girl psyche: a ballsy and raucous rant about frustration, beer, love, ineptitude and masturbation Creators Gen Fowler, Chloe McCartan and Tasmin Prichard are ranters, writers, musicians and hopeless dykes. This is a show about their feelings. Ew.
Women Ruin Everything is also a full length Fringe Show at the Gryphon Theatre at 8pm from Thursday the 16th to Saturday 18 February. Find out more and grab your tickets from The Fringe Festival website.
Maria Fernanda McWilliams
Maria is a local actor and improviser who dreams of being a writer, comedian and philanthropist.
She has recently been in Uther Dean’s The Presentation of Findings from My Scientific Survey of the First 7500 Days of My Life, Done in the Interest of Showing You How to Live Better Lives (Young and Hungry) and the 5-part courtroom serial A Trial and then the follow-up show It’s a Trial!
Last year she played a tuatara in the kid’s show The Kiwi Gingerbread man and Steven Joyce in the very-adult PSA at the same time.
Maria’s New Year’s resolution for 2016 was to try improv and stand up, and her resolution for 2017 will be to actually get good at them.
Alexander Sparrow is an award-winning comedian and director. He is also Australasia’s number 1 Donald Trump impersonator, with his act featuring on TVNZ’s Breakfast, TV3’s Story, and The Wall Street Journal (USA); amongst many others.
Alexander has been entertaining audiences with his hilarious, insightful, and captivating comedy characters such the Marquis de Sade, Enigma (a pick up artist), and now his latest satirical portrait of the US president elect Donald Trump.
As eerily accurate as Alexander’s depiction of Trump is, The Menagerie would much prefer him backstage than the real Trump, and we are excited to welcome him back to the show.
Find out more about Alexander and see what he’s up to on his website: https://alexandersparrow.com/
Aaralyn of TribalDiva Belly Dance
The director/choreographer/principal teacher of TribalDiva Belly Dance Company based in Christchurch, Aaralyn is one of New Zealand’s premier fusion belly dance performers.
Aaralyn enjoys mixing sparkle and darkness in her fusion belly dance performances, and she can frequently be found performing at events in Christchurch, around NZ and as far afield as Las Vegas, from intimate restaurant settings through to large scale public events and festivals.
Have a good look at TribalDiva’s website http://www.tribaldiva.co.nz, Facebook page, Instagram @tribaldiva_belly_dance_company and YouTube channel.
Producer, curator, performer wrangler and keeper of The Menagerie, Rachel Rouge is looking forward to another wondrous year of fantastic shows.
She is excited to start the year with such a brilliant line up. It’s her New Year’s resolution to bring in as many new performers to the Menagerie as possible, and also has plans for a huge show on the 2nd of September.
November 2016 Performers
A meteoric act in the NZ comedy scene, this Filipino Christchurch-born comic was a 2014 Raw Comedy Quest finalist, and was nominated for the 2016 Billy T award.
David grew up in Woolston, Christchurch which was a nice mix of a beach and suburban lifestyle, meaning that he could enjoy fish and chips while playing on the local roundabout as a child. After deciding stand up comedy and performing arts was the career he wanted to pursue, David moved to Auckland in 2014.
David enjoys making people laugh, and studied performing arts at Hagley theatre company. Afterwards he went down the road of stand up comedy, performing at local variety nights like ‘Monday Night Magic’ with his very off beat comedy. Performances highlights include taping a knife to his head and proclaiming that he is the ‘Nightmare Unicorn’.
He found influence in the thriving busking/circus scene in Christchurch – watching people swallow swords and walk on broken glass has shown him that almost anything can be entertaining.
His style of comedy can be described as a big ball of manic energy that even his body can’t keep up with.
Miss La Vida
Performing for the third time for November’s Menagerie, otherwise known as Cake Month, Miss La Vida is back with a brand new burlesque act.
The Ballet School Drop Outs
Once upon a time there were two prim and proper ballerinas, full of hopes and dreams for the future, who found themselves lost on the way home from Sunday school. They happened upon a glittery door sporting a Red Delicious apple and hoping to get directions, the pair entered the establishment and came out dressed only in their dignity. The rest is history!
Dahlia Dangerous and Trillian met in 2013 at Red Delicious Burlesque Academy as they prepared to debut as solo performers. Collectively they have over 50 years’ experience in various styles of dance and performance. BSD are arguably the best burlesque duet in New Zealand, using their exceptional talent for synchronicity to create intense and powerful acts that will leave you clinging to the edge of your seat and begging for more.
They have been featured in the New Zealand Burlesque Festival in 2013 and 2014, the Australian Burlesque Festival 2014 and 2016 and the Perth International Burlesque Festival 2015.
Both proud members of the NZ royal court, Trillian was crowned Queen of the New Zealand Burlesque Festival in 2014 and Dahlia took over the title in 2015 *insert royal wave here*
Reprobate rhymer and spoken word poet Michael Gray has been regularly performing in Wellington’s poetry, comedy and variety scenes for the last four years. This is his fourth time at Menagerie and it remains his favourite show.
Sunshine appeared in the very first act in the very first Menagerie and is proud to be a part of the zoological wonders that have graced the stage since then. She also performs with The Wellington City Shake-‘Em-On-Downers, Oy Azoy, and the Inspirare choir. Her solo material aims to help you form your opinion about a very polarizing instrument.
Rachel Rouge is a Gemini, a split personality she has a manicured toe in showbiz and a calloused heel in middle eastern politics. She gives away a kidney but is unwilling to share her laundry powder. She’s been a witch and an atheist. She eats bacon but thinks buying purebred dogs is cruel. She has a postgraduate degree but still hits the clear button on the calculator several times to get all the maths out. She’s climbed volcanoes but doesn’t like getting up to turn on a light. Rachel is an enigma of duality, and in this show she’ll show you two sides of her many facets with a traditional half-half lip-sync act.
An aerialist like no other you won’t be able to look away as she deftly defies gravity.
Based in Wellington, she has been performing off the ground for the past 10 years.
Prancing prince of the pelvic thrust and king of the crochet codpiece, Clever Hansel started his performance career in a Taiwanese lounge bar at the age of four. He’s now somewhat taller. A Wellington-based purveyor of delightfully perverse burlesque, music and cabaret, Hansel has been exposing himself to startled local audiences since 2009. Winner of the 2015 Golden Garter award for Favourite Male Burlesque, Hansel was one of the weirdos behind Zomburlesque, NZ’s foremost burlesque zombie-stripper horror-musical. Hansel also performs as a member of The Klaus Vermillion Quartet, Wellington’s only band of consensual jazz con-artists.
His parents know what he gets up to for fun. They have yet to disown him.
After a glittering career in menswear, Fraser Hooper gave it all up to follow the red nose. Twenty seven years on his unique brand of award winning comedy has delighted thousands of audiences in over thirty countries worldwide appearing in nearly every major theatre, clown and street festival in Europe, Canada and Australasia.
While Rachel Rouge is the curator and keeper of The Menagerie, Eli Joseph has been every other role. From preening feathers, training various critters, securing cages, collecting tickets, ringmastering, performer wrangling, and attaching sequins to places that need more sparkle, Eli has been The Menagerie’s most valuable asset, and most sublime creature.
This month Eli has brought together his favourite performers and acts from the last three years of Menagerie shows, to create one unmissable show.
October 2016 Performers
Runner up at The Grand Tease Wellington 2016 / New Zealand Boylesque Performer.
To dance with moral and and principle, to stay strong on the stage.
But there are many temptations that can lead one astray… to give into temptation… Greed, Pride… Lust.
On the stage, expression of Virtue is the intention. Passion of Virtue, sequins of sin, leather for order, a tease to remember and a kiss to indulge… Give in to the new color of Lust.
Wellington’s very own resident sideshow & freakshow diva, Roxy enjoys making others squeamish, performing stunts of questionable nature and executing terrible puns at inappropriate moments.
The Grand Dame of Georgia, Penny Dreadful, is back in Wellington for the scarily sexy Halloween Menagerie. Penny is about as scary as they come (and boy, does she come)… She’s a poltergeist with personality, a personal friend of Putin’s, and pulled off Rasputin in Paris.
Penny Dreadful has been performing in Wellington for the last four years, with both the the IBC (Industrial Burlesque Collective) and Vaudeville Inc. Penny is raucous, trashy, and filthily fabulous, and she brings a special something something to the stage every time she graces it (but only the Devil knows what that something is…).
Vex is brief. The writer’s equivalent of premature ejaculation. Don’t worry though, all things come to an end.
This alabaster angel is your newest manic pixie dream girl muse. Fresh as a daisy and delicate as sledgehammer Gwen aims to win your hearts, and haunt your dreams.
Combining old world elegance and a dash of new ethereal weird, Gwen is ready to arouse and disturb even the most apathetic of hearts.
April Fish is a musical act directed by avant-garde composer-pianist Katie Morton. Described as ‘space opera’, ‘pop rapture’, and ‘gothic chamber rock’, the live experience challenges the listener to confront their own inner darkness, depths, and desires.
For this Halloween Menagerie, April Fish will feature Mx Morton on the piano, with the talents of Double Bass player John Costa, and the ever-endearing vocalists Hans Landon-Lane (Clever Hansel), Emma Wollum, and Laura Gardner.
He is everyone’s favorite naughty uncle and the worlds first ventriloquist mime. Anglebert Humpermink hit the Wellington scene not so much a hiss and a roar but more a fizzle and a whimper.
Pipi-Ayesha Evans is a circus and physical theatre performer, with 14 years experience of professional circus work. She trained in circus at CircoArts, Christchurch, and theatre at Otago University, Dunedin. She has performed extensively in theatrical productions and at numerous corporate functions throughout New Zealand and Internationally.
Notable NZ productions include Maui-One Man Against the Gods, Our Secret Garden, Ship Song, Kahuku, Cats, Circus Aotearoa and The World of Wearable Arts.
International performances have taken her to Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Shanghai, Nepal, Japan, France and the USA.
Pipi-Ayesha performs a range of circus skills including tissu, web, lyra, static trapeze, dance trapeze, aerial net, stilts, acro-balance, and poi. She also acts, sings and is a puppeteer, and teaches yoga and circus. She aims to create work that is provocative and beautiful, combining high physicality with innovative storytelling to create compelling theatre.
She also has a solo circus theatre show ‘The Blue-Bearded Lady’ that she’s performed in Australia and New Zealand. Comments from reviewers about this have included:
Utterly charming in a ghoulish kind of way.
Highly recommended if a trifle unsettling!
The beauty of this show is its unabashed genre-bending and blending. It makes no apologies, no concessions and is a brave piece of work.
Seductive yet disturbing, graceful yet jarring, unequivocally captivating and above all absolutely fearless.
– Regional News
Pipi-Ayesha’s nakedness … was refreshing in the often over-sexualised space of circus performance. She performed that nakedness with complete ease that demanded her audience view this representation of the female body simply as a hard working body.
– Celia White – Director, Vulcana Women’s Circus
Earthy and real…mythical and magical.
– Mandy White
Hansel & Victor
Having worked together for years, and used to being mistaken for each other on a semi-regular basis, it may come as no surprise to see Hansel and Victor on stage together.
For Halloween though, they’re getting oh so very close. How close? Too close for comfort, at the very least.
This Halloween, Harlow Lestrange brings you the most menacing Menagerie yet as her last show of the year!
Harlow fears nothing (but is a little iffy around large spiders, and social interaction), her favourite Halloween film is Ginger Snaps and she has a weird attraction to fictional serial killers that she would rather not look too closely into.
A swamp witch at heart, Halloween is Harlow’s favourite holiday ending in “ween”.
September 2016 Performers
Caroline Welkin has put comedy in her life since she wrote and directed her first show at a London primary school. Sadly YouTube wasn’t invented for another 40 years, or you’d know her better.
She came to live in Wellington with her comedy in 1997, having been inspired by teachers from the UK and US. She’s been a comedy Diva, an award winning Fringe performer and on Pulp Comedy. Caroline brings lugubrious humour and tall tales together. As a comedian and storyteller around Wellington and beyond, she is bigger than ever before – which she blames on menopause. Life never stops giving you something to laugh at. . .
She is thrilled to be part of Menagerie, as she owns many outfits that she just can’t wear on Upper Hutt High Street
“Hula hooping has never been something I’ve considered an art, but thanks to Harlow Lestrange I am quickly changing my opinion. Sure, I’ve seen hula hooping before, but never quite so gracefully. It was in a word, mesmerizing.” – Wellington On A Pastie
Aside from hooping Harlow also dabbles in burlesque, fire spinning, and various other circus apparatus and has produced a few shows such as Nerdlesque! NZ and a couple of previous Menageries.
Burlesque dancer, Pin-up Model and Marmite Lover.
The vixen, Kiki Kisses, is well known for her over-the-top stage antics and theatrical expressions. Most recently performing in the Australian Burlesque Festival 2016, Kiki has experience across the board from ballroom to impromptu performances at 3am.
This tall drink of water brings together her wealth of experience and natural talents to dazzle, amaze and leave you wanting more. A true entertainer, her dance style is as equally sultry as it is comical and she enjoys surprising an audience – this daredevil is sure to leave you hot under the collar.
Pande-monium originally started training circus skills in partner acrobatics, but her burly but unreliable partners kept legging it to exotic parts unknown (well, to Palmerston North and Seattle actually). Rather than climb the walls in frustration, she began to climb a rope instead; living the life of a solo aerialist. Now she is rather attached to her Corde lisse/ rope and is going to rise to the challenge to make some form of aerials work even with only a 2.2m high ceiling!
Maor is a passionate scientist of questionable credibility. He is often found fumbling with laboratory equipment and breaking whatever laws of nature he can.
He will bring to you a magical show based on recent scientific(ish) discoveries that will change your views on the world. Perhaps a bit lost, or somewhat mad, surely putting him on stage, couldn’t go bad?
Josh Davies is an award nominated comedian who has quickly gained success on the comedy scene. In the short time he has been doing comedy he has become a RAW comedy quest finalist and performed throughout the country with some of New Zealand’s top comedians. His comedy style has been described as intelligent and dark through the use of personal stories of his blindness, everything nerdy and the world of science.
Songstress Bea Lee-Smith, fell in love with Musical Theatre at age five, when her parents took her to see the movie Annie. Her aspirations to be Grace Farrell, lead to aspiration to be Suzanne Farrell, and 32 years and counting, of ballet training. Bea graduated from the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art in 2001.
She has worked throughout the country as a freelance singer, actor, dancer, writer and director for the last 20 years. In 2010 she formed production company Fab Cabaret Productions. Their performance of Cabaret en Hiver, at The Opera House Foyer, sold out.
After a few years off training to be a Pilates and Xtend Barre Instructor, Bea is excited to be back in the saddle. Fab Cabaret is producing Jason Robert Brownʼs Songs For A New World in January 2017. For more information, do checkout their Facebook Page www.facebook.com/fabcabaretproductions
Free & Frank
Free & Frank started as a group of enthusiastic ukulele players with connections to State sector agencies. The group formed in 2012 aims to write and play songs that reflect what we know best – life in the public sector and in and around Wellington.
Expanding from that base the group in performance now covers a range of genre, fresh arrangements of songs and often includes a bass, keyboard and percussion component.
As an emcee, Victor’s no stranger to winging it with words on the Fringe bar stage. This time around his challenge will be remembering his lines.
He’s a little nervous, have you heard some of the top notch talkers Rachel has booked for previous Menageries!?
This is Rachel’s last time producing The Menagerie for 2016. The October show is being produced by our hoop dancer Harlow Lestrange, and the November show is being produced by our poet Victor Victorious (a.k.a. Eli Joseph). So Rachel is delighted that she has such a strong line up for this show, and she looks forward to sitting back for the rest of the year and watching the shows that Victor and Harlow have put together. She’s already got crazy plans for The Menagerie in 2017.
June 2016 Performers
Trillian is an internationally recognised, multi award winning pole performer and burlesque artist.
Her background deeply rooted in classical ballet. Dancing wise she’s an all rounder, experienced in jazz, tap, contemporary, hip hop, latin ballroom and african jazz. It doesn’t stop there, Trillian is a trained classical and jazz singer too.
Upon completing a performing arts certificate at Brent Street Studios in Sydney, Australia she decided to branch out even further and give pole fitness a try. That was 8 years ago and she’s never looked back. Teaching pole for both fitness and stage for the past 4 years has been a most rewarding and fulfilling experience.
She joined the New Zealand burlesque scene in 2013 under the tutelage of Red Delicious Burlesque Academy and since then has gone from strength to strength. She is a certified Xpert Pole Fitness Instructor and in 2016 became the first person in New Zealand to become a licensed instructor for Rockin’ Legs N Abs, an awesome exercise program developed by aussie pole dancing sensation Cleo The Hurricane.
Michael writes sexy, sexy poetry. So sexy, in fact, that he now has to discourage audiences from underwear throwing, as it’s become to much of a distraction. Prepare to be seduced by his risqué rhymes, titillating turns of phrase and provocative puns. He’s also happens to be a part-time stripper. What more could you ask for?
Multi-modal artist and circus extraordinaire, a mysterious woman called Mary… when not juggling postgraduate studies, and teaching circus arts and physical theatre; also manages to balance on bottles, slack-rope, spin hula hoops, hang from the rafters and generally push the boundaries of creative movement.
Miss Candy Applebottom
Residing in his fortress of light in the harbour of Lyttelton, Von Leon a.k. Candy, hones his skills in looping. A solo act of transgressive proportions utilising his I.D.B.M (industrial death boogie machine) & his music skills.
All this culminates into loop based storytelling with Candy in full regalia. Concluding the show with a full fledged burlesque piece.
Candy, a creature to behold in herself will entertain you with her unique style & quirkiness. You want oddities? You’ve found one! One of NZ’s very own born & bred bearded cross dresser, Miss Candy Applebottom.
His cut-throat physical comedy will have you in stitches, while his extreme balancing will have you on the edge of your seat. Combining circus stunts, knife juggling and vaudevillian humor this man is guaranteed to negotiate with your funny bone.
Tamara and Sharon
Tamara and Sharon are an operatic duo with a whole pile of performing experience under their belts. They’ve both worked for New Zealand Opera and while Sharon is still out in the opera scene and kicking butt working with aspiring singers, Tamara has only just got back into singing after an extended break.
When Tamara and Sharon perform together, they’re combining their passion for opera with their love of rock & pop music, making for an always interesting and sometimes hilarious experience.
Get ready for some sass as Julz hits the stage. She brings a quirky dark style to her sets. Keen to mock herself, she makes you laugh at life in all its challenges for the single 30 year old female.
Julz has been performing extensively for the last two and a bit years, appearing weekly in comedy shows across Wellington and taking part in Bogan Yoga, Young Guns and opening for Sanjay Parhbu during the Comedy Festival. She’s also opened for Urzila Carlson at VK’s Premier Comedy Night, Wellington’s only dedicated comedy club.
Perhaps she is the lovechild of a dusty, banjo playing cowboy and a siren singing mermaid, if the two were ever to meet, then Tessa Dillon would be the product.
She writes songs about longing, being lost, and Thai takeaways arriving too late.
The Weeping Witch of Wellington whose craft of magic is channeled through body and beauty. Powers that will surely hypnotise and enchant even the strongest of will. Be careful, if she doesn’t steal your hearts she will steal your souls in their stead.
Originally from the Great Plains of America she flew away to escape the witch hunts to seek refuge in New Zealand to practice and tame her craft. Her drag career has started and is now based here in wellington performing at all the local venues as well as a hired cabaret performer for Ivy Bar and cabaret. Her passion has helped bring in a renaissance of drag in wellington with her and her friends. This witch has also established a drag haus of performers, The Haus of Voyant, whose names include Indy Pendant, Abi Wilde, Barbra Shop, Bunny Holiday, and Eve Envy, all upcoming queens to lookout for in future shows in Wellington and beyond.
You can follow Claire’s occult on Instagram The_Claire_Voyant or follow The Haus of Voyant at #hausofvoyant
Chelfyn uses psychology, deception, chicanery and lies to create an illusion of control and superior mental powers, much like many preachers and politicians have throughout history. He has yet to use his powers to form a cult.
The captivating Harlow Lestrange joins forces with Rachel Rouge to co-curate this line up. Harlow’s extensive connections to Wellington’s performance community means The Menagerie can bring in some of our finest, most talented and most interesting performing artists.
Rachel Rouge, the woman behind The Menagerie, is the recipient of the inaugural Moon Poppy Fringe Award for being the most fabulous 2016. Upon receiving this award by The Fringe Bar Rachel was also given a star named after her. It’s in the constellation of the Southern Cross. She’s super chuffed.
June 2016 Performers
One of the most recognisable and hairy comedy faces to come out of New Zealand. Winner of all of the awards the Billy T Award, The Fred Dagg Award, NZCG Best Male Comedian & Best MC), Ben has been smashing comedy out of the park since a long time ago.
As a regular panelist and head writer for the NZ’s top rating and long running topical panel show ‘7Days’ Ben is a household name in New Zealand. He has also appeared on numerous TV shows including the 10 NZ Comedy Festival Galas, 4 AotearoHA Comedy specials, Funny Roots and Would I Lie To You. He has hosted the New Zealand Music Awards, and had his own series alongside Steve Wrigley, World Famous with Ben & Steve and most recently Hosted all 10 episodes of TV3’s new stand up comedy show After Hours.
Born in rural Taranaki, Ben cut his comedy chops in Wellington before making the move to London where he honed his craft to the fine tuned beast we now see. Not only a favourite with all the big UK clubs but also the Edinburgh festival and playing to thousands in the comedy tents of Leeds, Reading and V music festivals. Ben was also used as a support act on the national tours of superstars Stewart Lee, Stephen Merchant and Ed Byrne.
Ben has appeared at Just for Laughs, recorded 2 series of The Comedy Store TV for UK Comedy central and starred along side Andy Parsons in his BBC radio 3 Sit-com.
The Aqua Breeze
Whether it be hypnotising hoops or a sultry aerial act, this is not a creature to be underestimated. The Aqua Breeze has a background in rhythmic gymnastics, then fell into circus and never came out again. She presents to you her debut on the Menagerie stage in the hopes of winning you over, one person at a time.
Mr Lola Illusion
He will charm you with his smile, the suggestive twinkle in his eye will bewitch you and when he sashays into your life you will never be the same.
People question is “he” male? Is “he” female? Is that magic? Who is his mysterious lover? And then… their own sexuality. And that folks is the Illusion that is Lola, an enigma wrapped in a banana skin encased in a sequined gown and sprinkled with glitter.
From generation X with love. Wellington’s funkiest community choir, bringing the hits of the 70s and 80s back to life in the 21st century
Hailing from the Hutt Valley, Tom first dove into the realm of illusion in 2009. Having a slightly concerning obsession with teddy bears, Tom claims to understand the way of the teddy and has created powerful illusions on this magical, cotton filled foundation…
A slightly insane, colourful haired freak playing with teddy bears on a stage; what is the worst that could happen?
SheShe is a smooth singing siren who evokes the elegance of the old world with a swoosh from her feather fan.
SheShe will take you on a journey back to a time gone by. Her performance style takes influence from her acting background, a comical slaps stick character, a scorned women, a temptress, sometimes all of the above, lending herself to juxtaposing characters as not to fall into any one genre. With a longing to inspire desire in her audience and leave them feeling moved by her performance.
SheShe Velour is an entertainer who incorporates strong characterisation, with her voice and Cabaret Burlesque finesse, dare to be lured. SheShe was a contestant in Miss Burlesque Victoria, Perth Burlesque Festival, Adelaide and Melbourne Fringe festivals and multiple Rainbow Serpent festivals, she is also Creative Director Le Tableaux Burlesque producing multiple productions in Melbourne, and is excited about making the move to the vibrant little city of Wellington
Victor has been many things while working for the Menagerie. MC, stage manager, singer, stripper, polar bear, unconvincing drag queen.
He has never been an acrobat before (or a ballerina, for that matter).
Come see what happens when he tries both at once. Perhaps it will be beautiful.
Duncan is a queer poet who has suffered from depression. How novel.
His poetry is focused on drawing attention to social issues, telling stories and letting the audience be a party of the narrative.
Stephen Wilbury has been an object manipulator for over 10 years. He was booked to perform at The Menagerie in January, however had to deal with a last minute emergency. We are thrilled that he’s able to come back to Wellington to join us in this show.
After spending his youth immersed in the underground squat rave juggling scene (it was a thing honest) in the early 2000s. He turned pro and moved to Edinburgh to work with the Scottish circus troupe Te Pooka. Steve has performed in front of audiences large and small from the Queen at the Scottish Parliament Opening to the Hebridian Celtic Festival, probably the most remote folk music festival on Earth. Steve has also produced two best selling staff manipulation DVDs that inspired a whole generation of fire spinners to explore their props beyond fire. Over the past year Steve has moved from straight manipulation acts to magic because hey why not?
Stephen met our producer and curator Rachel back in the early 2000s when Rachel was a regular burlesque performer at the reknown Vaudeville Cabaret and Edinburgh’s infamous Bongo Club and Steve was a regular MC with diablo hips that could sell out a show.
Producer Rachel Rouge gave away her kidney on the 1st of June 2016, since then she’s been mostly watching telly from a next of pillows. She’s recovering well and by the time this July show happens she’s pretty sure she will have returned to full health.
If you would like to listen to her thoughts about donating a kidney you can hear her talk at the May Menagerie. Due to camera focus issues, we recommend you listen to this youtube clip an now watch it.. unless you want a headache from trying to focus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFhwIqBPSG4
June 2016 Performers
Lucy Roche finds it inauthentic to talk about herself in the third person because she believes it jars with her “brutally honest” comedy.“TMI” are three letters that aren’t in Lucy’s vocabulary, as evidenced by her raunchy jokes and bold insights.
Grand Raw Quest Winner 2016, 2015 Nominee for Best Newcomer at the Wellington Comedy Awards and regular performer at VKs are just some of her recent achievements.
“…We were laughing constantly with her brute honesty and clever turn of phrase.”- Art Murmurs
“… brazenly, shockingly wonderful.”- Theatreview
The man in blue is an object manipulator. Specializing in plate spinning, he is here for your viewing pleasure.
Twyla Deville is an all round good time gal and official owner of THE BUTT. Big time nerd, small time stripper she’ll combine the two and leave you wondering how she did get all that junk inside her truck (it’s a TARDIS).
A regular on the streets of Wellington (weather permitting) and at the various markets around town, Andy adds his own flare to a variety of songs. A keen songwriter, his original music can be found online. Andy is currently recording an EP for release later this year.
Andy has performed all over Wellington, but his favourite previous gig was at the first Sofar Sounds here in Wellington. A beautiful, intimate event that he thoroughly enjoyed.
When not playing music, Andy enjoys acting. He gets to put both his talents together in July as part of the Young & Hungry show “Bloody Hell Jesus (Get Your Own Friends)”.
Stephii Onassiss likes to talk, she also likes to stand on stages. This is why she’s the perfect choice for MC at June’s Menagerie. By the time you read this Stephii will have either won the Capital Drag 2016 title or is in a downward spiral of despair after another loss, either way its very entertaining (update: she won!).
This offbeat beauty looks forward to seeing you at the Menagerie and trying not to overshadow the actual performers.
The Boomtown Okrabats originally trained as aerial artists – until they realised no venues in wellington have a ceiling more than 8 feet high.
Now doing ground based acts, they blend dance and circus acrobatics into entertaining acts they hope doesn’t just look like trapeze on the ground.
Sassy, funny, risque and energetic, they were once described by a random drunken guy as ‘totally like, awesome!’
Tess Tosterone had been practicing drag in every day life for twenty years before they decided to debut as a drag queen in January’s Queen Vs Queen where they took the crown. Tess loves playing around with political themes in their drag acts, as well as throwing in a large handful of circus tricks and burlesque. Tess was previously known as Coco Caine.
Tess recently took out 3rd place in Capital Drag 2016.
Originally from Auckland, Kozo Komatsubara aka Kozo Kaos is known as New Zealand’s fastest juggler. He is also an accomplished magician and street performer and performs regularly around New Zealand at Circuses, Festivals, Corporate events and Private functions.
It is Kozos first time performing in Wellington and is hoping to perform some ‘shocking’ material at The Menagerie.
Harlow Lestrange is your producer, a green haired swamp witch and aspiring vigilante. She doesn’t understand why people don’t think telekinesis is the best super power, and hopes to one day command her own space fleet once the AIs have taken over and figured out how to conquer death.
She also hula hoops, plays with fire and attends circus school full time. People often ask her, “how do you do the hula so good?” and if you must know, the answer is practice and regular blood sacrifice.
May 2016 Performers
Sweet as sin, sexy as hell and dangerous in the wrong hands, Dahlia Dangerous has been seducing audiences throughout New Zealand and Australia since 2013. Her effortless elegance and dirty bump n grind recently won her the coveted Queen of the New Zealand Burlesque Festival crown and she’s bringing her award winning act to Wellington…in all its PVC glory
Last night she was a stripper who smokes too much weed. Right now she’s a poet who hates writing bios. This morning she was a feminist, down in the trenches and knee deep in filth. Five years ago she was a hippy with her hands in the dirt. She’s been a singer, an actor, a comedian, and a storyteller. A community worker, a teacher, a hipster barista, and a suicidal office worker. She’s performed in front of crowds of three, and crowds of 30,000.
She likes popcorn, pizza, and oxford commas. She refuses to choose between Star Wars and Star Trek, coffee and tea, or cats and dogs. She talks a lot about sex, politics, and sexual politics. She drinks whiskey neat, and rarely turns down the offer of a drink.
“Hadassah Grace’s anecdotal style of spoken word provides moments of hilarious self-reflection while also making some serious and thought provoking points. Her poems take the audience from places of passion-filled eroticism to drugged-up sex in the woods with a sprinkling of anti-greed and dairy farming thrown in for good measure. These heartfelt poems reveal more than clothes could ever cover and her themes of sex, politics, and sexual politics make sobering yet playful points about the state of the system.” – Thomas Aitken, Theatre Review
“Hadassah commands the stage like no other and she brightens the world with her incandescence.” – Rachel Rouge
“She’s got thunder and lightening inside her.” – Adam McGrath, The Eastern
Erica looks like a lady but sings like a man. You might remember her from Dannevirke Little Theatre’s productions of Oliver!, Little Shop of Horrors and Les Misérables where she played a tavern wench, beggar woman, and street prostitute respectively. Her one woman show ‘Man Parts’ was nominated for two Fringe awards but she lost out to a clown from Mexico. Despite this, Erica remains upbeat and even more determined to be the first female tenor from Dannevirke to hit the big time!
Daniel John Smith
Daniel John Smith is an award winning stand up comedian based in Wellington, New Zealand. I loves telling stories which can get a bit dark.
In 2015 Daniel opened for visiting US comic Joe Mande (Parks and Recreation), featured in TV3’s ‘AotearoHA: Rising Stars’, sold out the run of his joint 2015 Comedy Festival show ‘How to Fold a Fitted Sheet’ and was crowned Best Comedian at the Wellington Comedy Awards.
“Terrific… There was a darkness is his act that no one could have spotted at the start. He managed to take us, Stewart Lee-like, down imaginary pathways to have us laugh at some truly awful (always clever) ideas.” – Simon Sweetman
In late 2015 Victor decided to break a break from being funny, and create an routine that focused on dancing.
The result is act that left critics saying “I fear for his safety” and “Damn! Those legs, tho.”
Come witness what happens when you put tall men in heels, and make them dance.
Mitchell Kirk plays soft ambient acoustic music and can often be heard busking along Wellingtons waterfront. He came to the capital a year ago from his hometown Gisborne to pursue music.
Molly started performing comedy in 2008 in California and has performed at the famous Punch Line in San Francisco as well as other renowned comedy clubs. She has also produced comedy shows in theatres, clubs, and coffee houses. Molly moved to Wellington in 2014, and has made a name for herself as a trusted performer and MC, with a proven ability to turn audiences into comedy participants.
Rosalie spent her whole life perfecting her art of twisting and bending in the most unimaginable positions. She decided to bring this to the next level in aerial arts, which brought her all the way from Montreal to New Zealand after touring the world with her duo trapeze act on Cirque du Soleil’s stage.
Reuben Tyrie has been practicing the art of magic since he was 8; some say its an obsession, he calls it a passion. Awarded ‘Most Promising Performer’ at the 2015 New Zealand Magic Convention, he uses mind-bending magic, the wit of the youth and a good head of hair (even better than Donald Trump’s) to mesmerise and entertain all.
Our producer Rachel Rouge has been enjoying the New Zealand International Comedy Festival, she won second place at the brilliant Lip Sync Battles Wellington special VIP Top of the Pops Comedy Festival edition (Penny Ashton took first place and Neil Thornton landed 3rd).
Rachel also performed at Dialogues, a special storytelling show in Auckland curated by Michèle A’Court. Here is an excerpt from her introduction in that show written by Hadassah Grace:
“Sometimes in life you meet a person who gets cooler, kinder, smarter, funnier, sexier, and wiser with every interaction.
Sometimes in life you meet a person, and it’s impossible to tell if you want to fuck them, marry them or be them.
Sometimes in life you meet a person like a punch to the stomach, a kiss on the forehead, a hand over your heart. Like the space between bodies when you’re spooning after sex. Like the white bits on a zebra crossing when you’re barefoot on a hot Summer’s day. […]
Rachel Rouge is every one of these people.”
April 2016 Performers
The mastermind behind The Menagerie will be front-and-centre hosting this special show at The Menagerie headquarters, aka Rachel’s apartment on Cuba Street. During the Comedy Festival venues are in short supply, but the show must go on. Rachel & Harlow opening the doors, assembling a stage, setting up the sofas, and getting ready to welcome you to the show.
Penny Ashton is New Zealand’s own global comedienne who has been making a splash on the world stage since 2002. She has performed over 500 solo shows and has sold out from Edinburgh to Adelaide to Tokoroa. She has represented both New Zealand in The World Cup of Theatresports in Germany, and Australasia in a Performance Poetry Slam Tournament Tour of the UK. She has also performed poetry by invitation at The Glastonbury Festival, her solo musicalPromise and Promiscuity at The Jane Austen Festival in Bath and has reported from the Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas.
Penny has also been a regular on Radio NZ National’s The Panel since it began and presentedKiwi Gold and North and South My Space on the now sadly demised Heartland Channel. She also presented a World Wide Web segment on the sadly demised Good Morning show. Basically if you want your TV show to last don’t hire her.
Her latest string to her crowded bow is that of a wedding celebrant which she finds just a delightful job. It got even more delightful with the passing of the marriage equality act and she has enjoyed uniting anyone and everyone with the simple condition that they love each other. She is awaiting people to start marrying pets and their sisters as was predicted by a vocal opposition to marriage equality, but weirdly this hasn’t happened yet.
In 2016 she is taking a leaf out of her own kindle and getting hitched herself.
Benjamin Embers, armed with a loop pedal, a guitar, a violin bow and a range of strange mouth-noises, takes the audience (and himself) on a meandering adventure through layers of glompy beats and whompy bass. All sounds served live, organic and free range.
Tangle & Dangle
Multi-talented, majestic and malodorous, maverick megastars Tangle and Dangle are running out of words that start with m. Literacy’s over-rated anyway! Tangle and Dangle are “EXPRRRT” at whatever they turn their paws to, and at the Menagerie this month you’ll be mesmerised by their monstery mastery of musical theatre.
Tangle and Dangle can’t wait to
eat meet you!
The Menagerie’s most regular irregularity, Victor has been involved in the show from it’s debut. This month he will be showcasing his singing skills on stage. He hopes you like sad songs.
Living doll Hannie Helsden is a real life circus sweetheart. With a comprehensive background in Artistic Gymnastics, Hannie has toured extensively throughout Australia and New Zealand as a long time cast member of Circus Quirkus, performing acrobatics, aerial hoop and hula hoops. A born entertainer, she has done Fringe shows, Corporate events and Cabarets, and even has a Bachelor in Circus arts after completing three years of full time training in Melbourne. She quickly became known, and loved, for her clever character work and high level circus skill.
Just like any dolly, Hannie loves to try new things, so in 2014 she embarked on a sexy season of burlesque inspired aerial and hula hoop performances with Sina King’s Burlesque 54. She is an original cast member of James Welsby’s YUMMY; A Drag Pop Cabaret which debuted in 2015 to a sold out crowd as a part of MIDWINTA Festival. She then started her 2016 of with a bang in Berlin performing as a part of the Chamäleon Theatre’s OFF NIGHT with YUMMY [Berlin Edition]. She also performed hula hoop and burlesque in Stockholm Sweden as a Guest Entertainer at MELT.
When Hannie’s not performing or hanging out in her Dreamhouse, you can find her training aerial hoop, hula hoop and pole dancing at Pole and Aerial Divas, where she has been an Aerial Syllabus Coordinator and Pole and Hoop Instructor since 2013.
Zane & Degge
Zane and Degge have been entertaining audiences around New Zealand since before they can remember. Born your average baby brothers, cute, round and bald, they are now fully fledged variety entertainers. They bring shows that meld highly skilled circus feats, hilarious grassroots comedy and fantastic creative entertainment.
For this show will they get their new brolesque act ready? Or will they have to resort to some old material. Not even they know but it is sure worth the gamble!
The Dulcet Duo
Cordelia and Emma have been performing as the Dulcet Duo since the very first Menagerie! Whether they’re making music together or performing burlesque (or both), their antics are always delightfully dorky.
Hugo Grrrl is a faux show boi, a dorky drag king and a terrible stripper.This adorable little gentleman arrived on this earth less than a year ago, in a hailstorm of duct tape and glitter, and has since made a big splash in the New Zealand cabaret community. His potent stylistic blend of burlesque, drag and uncomfortably awkward gyration won him Favourite Newcomer at the New Zealand Burlesque Festival 2015, People’s Choice Award and Best Newcomer at Grand Tease Wellington, a bronze medal in the prestigious Capital Drag competition 2015. This year he performed at the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch Pride Festivals. He is so pleased to be here humping for you at The Menagerie. He’s a lad who’s always happy to see you, he aims to sexually confuse, he’s Hugo Grrrl!
Harlow Lestrange is always searching for new and fun things to do, so she’s pretty excited to be producing a show inside a living room.
Other new and fun things Harlow has done includes spinning fire with her boobs, briefly letting a man repeatedly handcuff her and lock her in a box for magic and that time she joined a paranormal investigation society and hunted ghosts.
She hopes to introduce you to some new and fun things this April 30th!
March 2016 Performers
“Shay Horay is at the top of his craft…. his act demonstrates an exceptional degree of originality and extraordinary creativity” Shelley Switzer, Director Edmonton Streetfest, Canada
“Why not give Keith Preene his own TV show?.. Now, that I would watch” Charlie Gates, The Press
Cohen Holloway is one of New Zealand’s most recognisable faces if you watch only the coolest movies and TV. He’s starred in What We Do in the Shadows, Good for Nothing, Until Proven Innocent, road trip short Coconut, Find Me a Maori Bride and the soon to be released Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Not only that Cohen is a talented writer, director and comedian. He’s freaken awesome
Duchess deBerry is Aotearoa’s premier burlesque export. Having extensively toured the UK, Europe, Asia, Australia and USA during 2015, the Duchess is now based at the exclusive Las Vegas Club in Auckland, where she has performed for noted national and international guests, including Quentin Tarantino.
Known as the Antipodean Temptress, Duchess deBerry intends to continue her plans for world domination, going wherever the boobs, booze and business class travel take her.
Guitarist, Composer & Singer-Songwriter, Joel Lester, is a musical vagrant. Continuously drifting from one style to the next, he can be found combining disparate elements to create lush soundscapes, well crafted improvisations and songs containing the reflectiveness and lyricism of one who labours at their craft everyday.
Joel is a regular performer around town and a frequent face in the open mic/jam night scene. It is here that he has made a name for himself as a welcome addition to the new generation of rising guitar players and songwriters within the country.
His music can be viewed and listened to on his youtube channel www.youtube.com/user/JoelLesterMusic
Nancy discovered she had a natural husk after yelling at the patriarchy all day. Now she sings. She looks forward to having her whole life behind her.
Ruby Ruin is a vivacious, attitude filled, award winning, burlesque bad ass who has entertained audiences from New Zealand & Australia to the USA.
A woman of far too many hats – she is a burlesque tutor and producer, renowned Nillionaire, trailer dweller extraordinaire with a love of travelling and an inability to stick to just one thing.
Amongst her many projects is Nillionaires Club, a project raising funding to help struggling artists reach their goals; Tease & Trouble Productions; ‘Burlesquercise New Zealand‘ dance fitness classes with 5 centres across NZ and expanding; and ‘Grand Tease New Zealand‘ – New Zealand’s biggest burlesque competition!
Ruthie le Bleu
“Burlesque and Cabaret, let me come in”
“Not without hair on your chinnie-chin-chin”.
A suspiciously convenient encounter with a laser hair-removalist saw Ruthie LeBleu lose her niche in the Wellington vaudeville scene. What was she to do? To the conservatoire she did run, as fast as her fingers could carry her. Then she huffed and she puffed and she blew herself away, for a lot of hard work goes a long, long way.
Now Ruthie tickles the ebonies and ivories while masterfully manipulating her vocal tract to bring you melodies like you’ve never heard them before, dancing across musical genres with the agility of a gold-medal gymnast.
“She uses her strong voice eloquently and powerfully, from belting and bold to softer and sentimental. Excellent scat vocals have character.” – Capital Times
Imogen Aerial Arts
Imogen has traveled the length of the country from theatres in the country’s largest cities to the streets of the smallest. With a background in dance she infuses this into her circus performance.
Francesca is a UK based performer and choreographer. After training as a contemporary dancer she stumbled into slam poetry, and has spent the last few years collaborating within the international poetry community to create experiential performances that invite audiences to actively participate in the conversations that unfold before them. She has performed extensively within Europe and North America, and is excited to be performing in the Southern Hemisphere for the first time!
Back in the driver’s seat, adjusting her crown, flying ahead of the pack on her high horse sailing the briny seas Rachel Rouge is mixing metaphors and regurgitating clichés.
Over the past year Rachel has judged burlesque, lip syncing, magic, poetry, comedy, drag, and even full shows. She really loves judging, sometimes she judges people when they are not even in a competition.
February 2016 Performers
Absurdist performance artist & Sex clown, Glitta Supernova is one of the original pioneers of the 90’s global Burlesque revival. “A catalyst for pushing burlesque art into the most interesting direction” Glitta Supernova is also co-founder of the infamous Cult club “Gurlesque” (Australia’s 1st Burlesque Club 1998 – 2010 ,2 Green Room Nominations) & mastermind behind the award winning Pretty Peepers Untraditional Cabaret (2011- currently) Now touring her One woman show The Glitta Supernova Experience “Lets get METAphysical” (nominated “Best Cabaret” FRINGEWORLD Perth 2015) to Wellington, Dunedin & Auckland.
“My life’s work is about the She Beast within, the wild, organic & uncontrolled nature of the feminine, pre patriarchy, pre-capitalism & pre-marketing/media culture controlling our inner & outer being. I love to play around with modern archetypes & subvert them into another dimension. Society is very scared of the strong sexual empowered woman, she is considered grotesque so I embrace the grotesque with my art activism.”
Sunshine Cannery was founded in Owen, Wisconsin in 1915 and in a basement in Newtown in 2016, as singer/accordionist Emma Wollum carries on the family tradition. Featuring a wry, cabaret-inflected selection of Wollum’s own compositions, Sunshine Cannery will make you reconsider the accordion as an instrument of seduction.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a multi million dollar franchise? No! It’s Miss Lizzie. Flying in to save the day with stupendous stunts and amazing escapes, she has travelled New Zealand, the UK, North America and even the United Arab Emirates in her ongoing quest for the perfect cabaret. Up up and away!
Miss Lizzie’s mild mannered alter-ego is Rollicking Entertainment’s Lizzie Tollemache (As seen in World Buskers Festival, WOMAD, Cuba Dupa, Dubai International Comedy Festival, Christchurch Arts Festival and theatres across Canada).
Olivia fell in love with spoken word poetry thanks to Youtube and bad ass female poets. She was hooked after entering her first poetry slam and finding it a completely appropriate place to talk about feminism, sex and bodies. Olivia ranked 3rd at the 2015 National Slam Poetry final and spent her winnings on expanding her hedgehog collection.
KBG Purple has trained in the Circus Arts for going on a decade now, and built an extensive resume in the process, which now includes the Dunedin and NZ Fringe Festivals, the Mullumbimby Circus Festival in Oz, and New Zealand’s first (and last) Circus Awards Presentation. While everybody else was gravitating towards juggling and aerials, he found himself drawn to the more odd, alternative and abstract art forms, such as Contortion, Mime and Vaudeville. His training adventures have grown to include the late Circo Arts, the Wellington Circus Trust, Spin Circus Academy (also in Oz,) and he is studying this year for a degree in Circus and Dance at Whitireia. This piece will attempt to pay tribute to one of his idols, the great Charlie Chaplin.
Snap presented by RuseWebsites is a man who has lived. Most well known for breaking not one, but two Guinness World Records, Snap has shown himself to be far too motivated for the amount of devils lettuce he indulges in.
A national sex icon and party ambassador, last year Snap completed a highly successful nationwide tour where he received this outstanding review… “All I can remember about Snap is that he had dreads and a floral jacket”
This is a man who owned a miniature horse, has multiple penises tattooed on his back and once sold his last name. Snap’s determination to live an eventful, humorous life is truly commendable.
Faí plays traditional Celtic music ranging from slow airs to fast paced reels and jigs. Elena plays the Irish whistle and Michael plays the guitar.
With a cheeky wit befitting his convict ancestry, David Ladderman (2014 World Buskers Festival Critics Choice winner) is back to cavort and contort at his favourite! Magic, ladder-walking and juggling from the man with the cheeky grin.
David is a founding member of both The Loons Circus Theatre Company and Rollicking Entertainment. With a career spanning everything from busking festivals to the NZ Opera to entertaining on the red carpet for The Hobbit world premiere, he is a true variety entertainment veteran.
Sarah Harpur is an award winning comedian who has performed her ‘brilliantly bizarre’ comedy from Adelaide to Edinburgh.
The founding member of the world famous ‘Dead Dads Club’, Sarah has a taste for the surreal and the macabre. A walking contradiction, Sarah likes eating sausages, doing yoga and writing books for children.
Warning: May contain dead dads.
We are delighted to welcome to The Menagerie team Harlow Lestrange to produce 5 of our shows this year. Harlow is taking control of all even-month shows for 2016. She brings with her a fresh perspective, youthful vitality, new insights and a ton of great ideas. We can’t wait to see what she’ll bring to The Menagerie stage.
Harlow is a hula hooping comic book fanatic that likes to play with fire and take her clothes off onstage. She got her start in Christchurch where she discovered burlesque and produced the first New Zealand Nerdlesque shows, which she then went on to put on in Wellington. Harlow is currently doing a diploma in Circus Arts and Dance so that she can become a Professional Carnie, and so she has something vaguely academic to talk about at Christmas dinner.
January 2016 Performers
We are utterly fizzing to welcome back the dark mistress of New Zealand burlesque. Professional dancer Miss Anthropy (AKA Hannah Tasker-Poland) will be doing an epic mash-up of the best bits from her performances at the iconic Auckland show Electrique Burlesque.
Buckle in, hold on, and get ready for a ride through a crazy, weird, beautiful, messy and mesmerising act of many styles, costumes and personas.
Inspired by the St. Louis Missouri music scene in her home country of the United States, Brit fell in love with hooping in the summer of 2009. Since then, her passion for performance art has evolved her in to becoming the impressive multi-talented artist she is today. Whether free-flow spinning multiple fire hoops, performing choreographed solo/partner/group routines, or even playing guitar while hooping; Brittania is an unstoppable force! Traveling the world regularly to dedicate time to her art, this positive bright-eyed woman is someone you should know.
Eliza dances, sings and talks ridiculous pseudo nonsense that she sometimes writes on trains in foreign countries when she’s severely sleep deprived. She’s been traveling the world of contemporary dance and is back in Wellington to share her unique brand of word and movement vomit. She switches from insane eccentricity to intense poignancy as quickly as turning a light on and off so hold your horses because you never know what you might get.
Check out her Vimeo page: https://vimeo.com/user20499175
Our MC Sera Devcich, is a new Stand up comic on the scene. She’s a hater of fondant icing, cricket and penguins. A lover of gloating, hoarding and beer. She’s a Passionate thinker and reluctant doer – Sera Devcich “I’m more like the ideas guy in a movement, cos I’m really good at thinking about doing the right thing, just don’t put me on the frontline honestly, I can’t really be assed.”
Hey Kids! Do you know what a snuff film is? Let me show you! Enter the selacious world of Dorge and let him take you through his 50 shades of orange and other furry matters. Furverts welcome, this ain’t no family show.
Dive into the world of puppetry with sexual fetishes, to find out more of what this strange and uncomfortable world offers have a look at their full upcoming Fringe Festival show: https://fringe.co.nz/#event/dorge-abcds-m/b981f486-78f7-4210-9459-9ac8e3f33484
The Crimson Club
The Crimson Club is a genre defying experimental cabaret band. Their eccentric multi-instrumental entertainment draws on many influences, from Edith Piaf to Laurie Anderson. Singing in French and English they play a mixture of original tunes and irreverent covers with a twist of humour and a dash of cabaret. Their first album “Thursday Mornings” was released in 2009. With songs in French and English.
The line-up features Shona Jaunas (vocals, violin) Melissa Garber (accordion, theremin, vocals, percussion) and Janet Holborow (cello, vocals, alto flute and bass drum).
“We’ll take anything on and turn it into cabaret,” says cellist Janet Holborow. “Our style changes completely from one song to the next. One minute you’re in a bar in Paris and the next you’re listening to rock covers or original experimental songs.”
“Experienced musicians who work together exceptionally well and have a great time on stage,” Ewen Coleman from the Dominon Post Listen here: https://thecrimsonclub.bandcamp.com/releases
Kade and Jeremy
Kade and Jeremy are a nice contrast to each other.
Jeremy has a very placid and deadpan style, whilst Kade is lanky and full of energy. Combining their talents of comedy and magic, they definitely will not disappoint.
Also, they dance. To Katy Perry. It’s their signature thing, so if you catch one of their gigs, you might be in for a little more of a treat than you originally thought you were getting.
Kade and Jeremy put on their first ever show together in 2012 and have been hitting the New Zealand International Comedy Festival every year since. Nominated for Best Newcomer Wellington in the 2013 New Zealand International Comedy Festival and having opened for the likes of Mike King, be sure to check out these boys as they keep making waves in the comedy scene.
“Two talented young men who are sure to go far. If you want laughs and magic then this is the show for you.” – Chris Cox, the mind reader who can’t read minds.
Stephen Wilbury has been an object manipulator for over 10 years. After spending his youth immersed in the underground squat rave juggling scene (it was a thing honest) in the early 2000s. He turned pro and moved to Edinburgh to work with the Scottish circus troupe Te Pooka. Steve has performed in front of audiences large and small from the Queen at the Scottish Parliament Opening to the Hebridian Celtic Festival, probably the most remote folk music festival on Earth. Steve has also produced two best selling staff manipulation DVDs that inspired a whole generation of fire spinners to explore their props beyond fire. Over the past year Steve has moved from straight manipulation acts to magic because hey why not?
Stephen met our producer and curator Rachel back in the early 2000s when Rachel was a regular burlesque performer at the reknown Vaudeville Cabaret and Edinburgh’s infamous Bongo Club and Steve was a regular MC with diablo hips that could sell out a show.
If you don’t see her you most certainly will hear her! Dramatic soprano Laura Loach has a penchant for tragic heroines and dreams of spotlight, stardom and applause.
“……I was at first enchanted by the simple beauty of her voice and its easy delivery, even in quality throughout its range; her style was warm and lyrical.” Middle-C
Back again for another year of sumptuous madness and talented oddities. Rachel Rouge hand picked every act in this line up, it’s a job she loves.
Rachel has spent her December break enjoying the sun, catching up with friends, wrestling black bears and adding random lies to conversation.
November 2015 Performers
Miss La Vida
Just like life, Miss La Vida is short, unpredictable and delivers the occasional kick in the balls. Known primarily for her burlesque Big Butts, not many know she is actually above average at quite a few things including: ukulele, dancing, Mcing and writing performer blurbs. She is very much looking forward to hosting November’s Menagerie in Wellington, her second favourite city to perform in.
Previous shows and events she has MCd (i.e.proof she is fabulous and sought after) – The 2014 New Zealand Burlesque Festival, Miss Pinup New Zealand 2012-2015, Tease & Trouble, Bombshell Burlesque, Cabaret L’Amour.
Clever, Felix, and Victor
Clever, Felix, and Victor are three of New Zealand’s top tassel twirling chaps. Seen in shows up and down the country, this is the first time they’ve shared the stage. Can three performers, three egos, and three sets of costume even fit on the Fringe Bar stage? Let’s find out.
Gary Krumbert, one of Lilly Loca’s most prolific characters, is the socially awkward but lovable geek who will pull at your heart strings and make you feel all tingly in all the right (or wrong) places. Having performed in Australia for the Australian Burlesque Festival and extensively around New Zealand, Gary’s awkward demeanor, exuberant dance moves, slapstick comedy and his ability to relate to his audience make him one of the most sought after drag king characters in the New Zealand burlesque scene.
“I was absolutely delighted when I met “Gary” for the first time – yet another character in Lilly Loca’s ever-changing wardrobe of faces. With his sexually awkward and nerdy demeanour, amidst bursts of outlandish thrusting dance moves, he had me giggling from the very beginning.” – Ivy D’Auton, Asphyxia Corsetry
First timer on the stage, Maureen DeMure is a shy flower determined not to bloom. Her hesitancy to finally showcase her skills on stage were finally overcome by a bet and an unwillingness to backdown – she’s sweet as candy but stubborn as a mule! Maureen hopes her natural shyness won’t hold her back on the night. Will she dare to unveil or will her courage fail?…
Jessie Fenton entered her first poetry slam by accident, and has kept going ever since just to hide her mistake. She’s part of Rising Voices up in Auckland and is competing in the Wellington regional slam this year, and when she’s not onstage telling a room full of strangers about her virginity, she spends her time in the supermarket, gazing longingly at expensive cereals.
Tess Munro Pedreros
Tess has been wowing crowds since her first impromptu performance, atop a table in a crowded Spanish restaurant at the tender age of two. Since then she’s tried everything from ballet to ballroom, hip-hop to kung-fu, flamenco to figure skating. Nowadays she dazzles audiences with her daring feats, dancing in the air, spinning hoops around her body, perching precariously on chairs and every now and then, tabletops in crowded Spanish restaurants.
Ruth Mundy is a singer-songwriter whose songs will simultaneously make you smile and break your heart. With folk, protest, and indie influences, Ruth combines frank lyrics with sweet melodies. Originally from the UK but loving New Zealand, Ruth has just finished recording her debut EP ‘Don’t Be A Monster’ and is enjoying performing in some of Wellington’s best loved institutions, including The Southern Cross, The Fringe Bar, and the Museum of Wellington City & Sea. She recently won the People’s Choice Competition to play at the Wellington Folk Festival 2015.
Ruth will be touring during the months ahead, sharing her heartfelt, honest, funny, political, and above all beautiful songs with audiences across New Zealand.
Finn is an emerging Wellington stand-up comic whose comedy contradicts his facial expressions. Recent awards include an audience member buying him a beer after a show. Maybe you could be that audience member?
Ms. Melody Riot
As a singer and actress, Melody’s lips have been there and done it all – in her younger years she lied and cheated her way to the bottom and now she’s adamant she’s going to scratch her way to the top of the underground, cuz that’s where she’s comfortable – on the ground and under someone!.
Early on there were hints of a gypsy lifestyle – she was found by the cleaner in an old-make up case backstage in Berlin. She still prefers to sleep in cramped spaces and doesn’t deny her fettish for being locked up!
A career of true highlights and low lows – Melody’s journey has taken her to many countries on the planet. She’s available to work for anyone, for anything anywhere except Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles…she’s not allowed into those places anymore!
Rachel is the producer, curator and keeper of The Menagerie, a job she has been very happily doing for the past 2 years.
Rachel once got tear gassed at a wrestling match. She’ll tell this story at The Watercooler at Bats Theatre on Thursday the 12th of November, and the story will later be available on The Watercooler website: www.thewatercooler.co.nz under the title “Jet Planes”.
October 2015 Performers
Miss Anthropy aka Hannah Tasker-Poland – professional dancer, actor, stunt performer and all-round dark, sexy, primal burlesque/fetish/performance artist.
Usually found covered in meat, ripping her tits off, dancing with fire or covered in paint or grime of some sort.
A reviewer once wrote ‘Hannah could wash dishes on stage for an hour and still be mesmerizing’. So she did.
This is Miss Anthropy’s second appearance at The Menagerie. The first time she had three boobs and a beard. This time, being All Hallows Eve, she’s in her element, and will be bringing one of her twisted signature acts, the likes of which is usually accompanied by the response ‘WHAT. THE. F*#K’. Enjoy.
The Crypt Kickers
The Crypt Kickers are a one-night-only band, they come together only on All Hallows Eve when a waning gibbons moon is in the sign of Cancer. They bring together 6 creatures of the dark; playing banjolele, ukulele, African thumb piano, clarinet, guitar, bass, accordian, and drums.
And they sing! Oh do they sing, they sing songs as they have never been sung before and stir the dead into life. Legend has it, if you sing along you too could be swept away with the band to live in the otherworld, trapped in a life of dance, whiskey, and depravity until the next All Hallows Eve when a waning gibbons moon is in the sign of Cancer, and the band materialises on the next stage to steal the soul of their next victim/winner.
Sera Devcich is a stand up comedian and gloriaville escapee, famous for tunnelling her way out into society using nothing but a thimble, the heel of sensible boot and a sieve. She’s a dreadful mother, professional nark, angry feminist, hypocrit and confused Disney princess wannabe.
She’s on a mission to make throwing people under the bus a recognised sport – so she can demand people refer to her as an athlete.
“She was the worst Virgin Mary to ever ride in on a broomstick donkey I have ever seen, she dropped baby Jesus and ruined Christmas” – Sera’s Sunday school teacher.
Cherry Boomb is one of New Zealand burlesque’s kooky sexy cameleon. Strange yet oddly charming, a death warmed up dark beauty. She’s down in Wellington with her aerial hoop to perform a special Halloween circus act.
Samuel S Snakeeyes
Through an obscene ritual involving rooster’s blood, whiskey, and black glitter, Rachel has summoned back that southern sinner, Samuel Samedi Snake-Eyes. Bound into her service for the night of All Hallow’s Eye, he’s back, he’s pissed, and he’s out for blood. Let’s just pray she can keep him under control.
Mike Kay is a performing artist whose media include mystery, influence and mind reading. He specializes in the applied science of imaginary solutions.
On Halloween night he’s going to bring all the creepy.
One part unicorn, one part cyborg, 3 parts madness, and 6 parts pinot noir, this one-woman freakshow is here to wow and terrify.
This 12ft femme fatale is taking her place on the stage to blur the lines between pain and pleasure.
Driven by her love of sideshow and circus to inflict wonderful and terrible things upon herself, she is here tonight for your entertainment and bewilderment.
Les Folies de La Mort
Les Folies de L’amour are an award winning cabaret, burlesque and French can-can dance troupe based in Wellington, NZ.
They have been high-kicking and seducing their way into the hearts of Wellingtonians since 2012, and at our Halloween show, they are coming for yours ( or your brain, or liver, they’re not fussy). Always happy to put the “life” back into “afterlife” these undead babes will bring you a performance to die for, as their one night only, alter-egos: Les Folies de La Mort.
Rachel loves Halloween, in this show she will recite the entirety of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem The Raven, perfect for a Halloween evening.
From a recent psychiatrist report: “Rachel’s mental state was normal, with reactive and euthymic range affect and speech normal rate and prosody. She appeared to have above average intelligence and there was no evidence of mental disorder.”
September 2015 Performers
Bettsy Rose Lee
Desperately longing to be the glamorous showgirl, Miss Bettsy Rose Lee, Miss Burlesque NZ 2011, somehow always ends up onstage dressed as a tasty morsel of food.
Performing burlesque since 2010, she draws on her training and years of experience in drama, musical theatre, classical ballet and tap when putting together her acts and enjoys telling a story that takes her audience on a fun and fantastical journey. And it’s not uncommon for her to literally have them eating out of the palm of her hand.
Our host Hugo Grrrl is Wellington’s newest, dorkiest drag king. This adorable little gentleman arrived on this earth a mere in a hailstorm of duct tape and glitter, and has since made a big splash in the Capital’s cabaret community. His potent stylistic blend of burlesque, drag and uncomfortably awkward gyration won him People’s Choice Award and Best Newcomer at the Wellington heat of Grand Tease NZ last month and a bronze medal in the prestigious Capital Drag competition 2015. He is so pleased to be here humping for you tonight. He’s a lad who’s always happy to see you, he aims to sexually confuse, he’s Hugo Grrrl.
Veteran kiwi comedian and owner of Wellington’s best (and only) comedy bar VKs, Vaughan King is a legend in the New Zealand comedy scene.
Star of the New Zealand Pub and Comedy Club circuit for over a decade and with a bucket load of awards, Vaughan King is the best comic you’ve never heard of.
Fisher Rivero Connell
Fisher was born and raised in Mexico and came to New Zealand in early 2010 for High school. He started a circus skills club with a friend and performed at a school events including a musical production and graduation. He’s part of Wellington’s bespoke creative entertainment company Highly Flammable.
He sees Juggling as a hobby that allows him to escape into his own little world where he sees the slightest bit of failure as an opportunity for development and new skills.
Mama DeZiyah is like that crazy spinster aunt that only gets invited to family gatherings out of a sense of obligation. She’s acerbic, sarcastic and perpetually bitter, and no one entirely knows how she gets so many performance gigs.
She’s the current reigning Miss Capital Drag and she seems hellbent on using this questionable title for evil.
Her performances tend to leave people mildly uncomfortable and wanting a shower. Enjoy.
The ethnic chameleon that is David Correos hails from the leper colony of comedy that is Christchurch. While relatively new to the comedy scene David has already proven himself by performing alongside some of NZ’s comedy heavyweights.
He’s a master of bad life advice, awkward dancing and strange stories.
An individual who likes bullet points.
– 33 years old
– been playing drums since he was 4 years old
– he’s performed live with artists such as Bill Bailey, Tim Minchin, The Veronica’s, Harry Connick Jr., Panic! at the Disco, to name a few
– in November he’s going on tour, drumming once again with The Veronica’s
– in February 2016 he’ll be going in a NZ and Australian tour, drumming for the band Paramore
– this is he first Wellington gig performing his original songs
– he plans to start recording his first album in October 2015.
Constance is a celebrity life coach by day and a comic chanteuse by night. When not Skyping with a client in Hollywood, she is composing witty ditties in the shower.
Nick & Ty
Brought together by a love of performance and music, Nick and Ty are a couple of local boys playing music wherever and whenever they can. Music for these guys is more than a pastime, it’s a day job. The iconic Wellington waterfront is where you may find these musos or the jiving Cuba street, stitching together harmonies for every passer by.
Also the faces behind the newly popular ‘Busker Sunday’ open mic at Bad Grannies Cuba street, Nick and Ty are behind street performers of any flavour.
If you don’t catch them on the street, or at Bad Grannies, you can catch them on Saturday the 26th of September performing for The Menagerie at The Fringe Bar.
After a month off from producing, our benevolent dictator Rachel Rouge is back in the driving seat. She’s mixing metaphors like a runaway train galloping across the canvas of her mind.
Rachel can’t wait to put together this show and hopes you come along to check it out.
Rachel Rouge was once written as a character in a book, where she was described as having “a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp.”
August 2015 Performers
Daniel John Smith
Daniel John Smith was the winner of Best Newcomer at the Wellington Comedy Awards and was a finalist in the national Raw Comedy Quest. Coming off a sold out run of shows in the Comedy Festival, he has been called ‘terrific’ (Simon Sweetman, Off The Tracks) and ‘a treat to watch’ (The Ruminator). He has zero jokes about airplane food, and many jokes about death. He wrote this in the third person.
The 100% SASCHA Experience
After a critically acclaimed sold out world tour, hailing from the vodka fuelled depths of Eastern Europe, we welcome one of the world’s most celebrated, most powerful and most fiercely hilarious personalities… SASCHA.
“Its me bitches.” - Sascha ★★★★★
Take a whole lot of love, a few cups of vulnerability, a healthy dollop of feminism and just a pinch of cynicism. Stir well. Poems will soon arise.
Original photo by Travis Cottreau
Bun-Bun St Velvetine
Bun-Bun has a bad habit of making up nonsense, especially when she’s nervous or excited. She very nervous about performing at the Menagerie, and very excited. Luckily this time she has memorized her lines, and will be reciting some of her favourite nonsense poetry. She may even sing.
Original photo by Zemi Photography
Popham and Hall
Jag Popham and Sam Hall are students of the New Zealand School of Dance. The piece they will be performing this month is an extract from the NZSD’s recent season of “KARST”. Special thanks to their choreographer Demi-Jo Manalo.
That toxic temptress Viola Nightshade is back to serenade you into darkest dreams and deepest desires, if she can get her consort Dante Diamante to do what he’s told.
Original photo by Jasmyne Chung
Tom LaHatte & his Jazz Bandits
Founded for the express purpose of playing in speakeasies, Tom LaHatte and his Jazz Bandits are like a fancy cocktail that gets you pretty tipsy, but is cheap enough to keep you coming back for more.
Three parts jazz, four parts liquor, one part surprise covers. Every bit a good time.
Original photo by James Carroll
Andrew Welsh would like to tell you what it is that he does, unfortunately, he cannot decide exactly what that is. To solve this problem, Andrew would like to introduce you to a character of his, The Man in Blue. The Man in Blue is here to entertain you with illusions, tricks and an assortment of other circus based acts. Andrew would like to remind you that although the universe is endless and terrifying, fun and enjoyment still exists, and he hopes to give this to you.
Sonny and Vanessa
Sonny and Vanessa would like to introduce you to Viv and Wendy as they remember the life of dear friend Donna. They will take you on a journey of the highs, lows, and middling moments that brightened up the life of Donna.
For reasons unknown, Rachel Rouge has opted to take a month off of running the Menagerie. For reasons unknowabler, she asked Eli to take the helm til she got back. For reasons unknowablest, Eli said yes.
As a result, he is proud to present this month’s line-up. He will be backstage keeping everything under control until the boss gets back, and occasionally onstage picking up after the performers. Feel free to buy him a drink.
Original photo by Paradox Photography
June 2015 Performers – COMIC STRIP show
This month all our performers are either stand up comedians or burlesque performers. One show of only two performance genres, but not lacking in variety.
Caroline Welkin has put comedy in her life since she wrote and directed her first show at a London primary school. Sadly YouTube wasn’t invented for another 40 years, or you’d know her better.
She came to live in Wellington with her comedy in 1997, having been inspired by teachers from the UK and US. She’s been a comedy Diva, an award winning Fringe performer and on Pulp Comedy. Caroline brings lugubrious humour and tall tales together. As a comedian and storyteller around Wellington and beyond, she is bigger than ever before – which she blames on menopause. Life never stops giving you something to laugh at. . .
She is thrilled to be part of Menagerie, as she owns many outfits that she just can’t wear on Upper Hutt High Street.
Originating from Canada, Rob has found a nice home with NZ stand-up comedy and has become a mainstay on the scene – the highlight of his experience receiving an honorary mention in this year’s National Raw Comedy Quest finals.
A mixture of observational and story-telling, Rob’s punchlines seem to come out of nowhere, and tend to come often, always leaving the crowd delighted.
“His act is polished and presented flawlessly; rich laughs abound” – Theatrereview
Alice is a rapidly rising star on the NZ comedy circuit, hand picked to be the support act for Anchorman’s David Koechner, Alice has been on a roll. Her show ‘How to Fold a Fitted Sheet’ had a sold out season during the 2015 international comedy festival and She’s recently performed in 7DAYS LIVE in Auckland.
Clever Hansel has been charming audiences with his delightfully perverse brand of burlesque, music and twisted cabaret in Wellington since 2009. He is a peddler of smut, filth and theatrical ukulele freakfolk.
Hansel also performs as a member of The Klaus Vermillion Quartet, Wellington’s only band of jazz con-artists.
His parents know what he gets up to for fun. They still speak to him.
Ellie Kat / Felix Goodfellow
Ellie Kat has been an icon of the New Zealand drag scene, a Miss Drag winner herself and the builder of an empire of winning drag queens.
Ms Kat is also a stable on the burlesque and cabaret stages both as herself and her alter/other ego Felix Goodfellow. Both Ms Kat and Mr Goodfellow will be joining us at The Menagerie’s July show in one sublime act of beauty, poignancy and emotion.
Andre Corey is the current Mr Pole Dance New Zealand who started his pole journey a little over 5 years ago.
“Beautiful, graceful movement combined with jaw dropping gravity defying strength this boy sure knows how to pack a punch!”
Since breaking in her first stage in 2010, Penny Pins has been a stalwart member of the New Zealand Burlesque scene. Known for her fast-paced and brazen approach to performance, this fiery little pocket rocket revels in the unexpected.
Lampooning vintage refinement and contemporary pop-culture whilst drawing upon her extensive dance background, Penny proves that sex appeal can be found in the strangest of places.
Winner of this month’s Wellington heat of Grand Tease, Fanciforia is one part showgirl, two parts clown, a dash of angel and a splash of devil. She’s the ingenue with the screwball style and a waist so small it’s almost not there.
Fanciforia was lured onto the burlesque stage in 2011 from the world of theatre. She is now a tour de force in her own right, loved for her quirky characters, comedic flair and hammy facials. Despite her youthful 27 years, she has the hip of a geriatric. One hip replacement later and she’s a real life porcelain doll and New Zealand’s only bionic burlesque performer.
She has toured the length and breadth of Aotearoa, across the seas to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2006 across the ditch in the Australian Burlesque Festival 2014 and across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
other notable skills include the Irish Jig, Highland fling, dressage, crochet and a perfect impersonation of Janice from Friends.
Ollie is a cancer survivor, he also survived a sold out season at Bats theatre during the NZ Comedy Fest with Comic of Poet?, as well as sold out crowds at The Medicine.
He’s originally from Jersey, (the island not the state, which explains the lack of fake tan and hair gel) he shares painfully honest stories full of embarrassing moments in his life that both shock and delight.
Rachel Rouge is the brains and brawn behind The Menagerie. She loves putting on this show and is especially excited about an entire show of only stand up comedians and burlesque performers.
Rachel has been caught up in teargas before, she learnt from this experience that if she’s ever in tear gas again she should run towards the wind, not away from it. This knowledge has never helped her as a variety show producer, but she’s pretty sure it’ll come in useful one day.
June 2015 Performers
Betty Lightbulb is Virginia Kennard, and Betty Lightbulb is on a mission – to have Virginia keep her clothes during at least one performance. This is because Virginia makes explicit body performance, likes playing with clothes as social signifiers, straps Barbies round stripper poles, and generally gets her kit off for performance art. Betty is asking you to watch, since Virginia has a thing about the gaze and non-consensual looking. Also shredding Britney songs with noisy femmes and free-bleeding.
By the time you read this Stephii Onassiss may or may not have won Miss Capital Drag 2015, either way her Menagerie performance will make you question that decision.
A drag queen and wannabe punk and performance artist, known mostly for her ability to repel babes and watch 4 seasons of survivor in one sitting.
Mildly hairy and lightly bellied. Irreverent and nonchalant. This good boy gone bad girl is a trash diamond. Made of pizza and bodily fluids. Have you seen how cute she is though, you should buy her a drink.
Honey Suckle’s mind is never far from the gutter! She has a love of the absurd and a fetish for baked goods! Nothing is sacred to this performer, with each performance a piece of art that has sprung from the dark and not so dark recesses of her mind, leaping onto the stage with enthusiasm and often straight into the audience.
Honey Suckle is a multiple title and award winning burlesque artist who has travelled and performed around New Zealand. She has performed internationally, once, playing the recorder in the local shopping centre in Bendigo, Australia. Her recorder was red.
The Klaus Vermillion Quartet
Three years ago, a mysterious stranger with a guitar case and an indeterminate accent swept into Wellington and separately booked four broke musicians as his backing band for a gig that night. They showed up; Klaus never did. The band’s been playing together ever since, filling dark speakeasies and wild gin joints with the sounds of hokum, sleaze and red-hot jazz, running cons and asking everyone they meet: have you seen Klaus Vermillion?
Hannah Fraser- Multi-instrumentalist singer from The Front-Liners, The Troubles, instigator of Dirty One Night Bands and encourager of karaoke, shambolic animalistic party behaviour and cartwheeling chaos.
Brendan Dooley is one of New Zealand’s top young entertainers who combines non-traditional magic, with quick wit comedy to create an insane experience that has made him an audience favourite right across the country.
“A new generation of talent who is already snapping the heels of established acts.” – THE PRESS
Duck Duck Bruce
Duck Duck Bruce is brand new musical comedy trio from Wellington NZ. The group create feminist, acoustic parody versions of top ten hits, and then try really hard not to read the YouTube comments.
The boundlessly embittered Genevieve Fowler put the words together and is musically compensated for by the infamous Mongoose (Saran Goldie-Anderson) and poet laureate (title pending) Ben Fagan.
They are friends brought together by a mutual loathing for pop music and all its insidious consequences. Find them online. Or at the bar later.
This red-bearded reprobate is regular on the roster of Rouge’s risque revue.
On the door, on the stage, lurking in the wings, or standing right behind you, Victor has been a part of every show so far. Noone is quite sure what Rachel is blackmailing him with, but it must be something juicy.
Brad is an award-winning Wellington comic, who has performed all over New Zealand and the UK, including the London Comedy Store, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the Wellington Opera House.
He is a veteran of the NZ International Comedy Festival, with past shows covering everything from travel stories to growing up, from following your dreams to parenthood.
“A breath of fresh air… unpredictable flow and vivid personality” – Positively Wellington Venues
he’s got a website http://www.bradzimmerman.co.nz
Rachel has been running The Menagerie since November 2013. She loves it. Last month Theatreview send a reviewer, here are some of the things they said about the show:
“a singing, dancing and laughing hot house of good old fashioned burlesque”
“freakishly eclectic mix of talented performers for a truly unique and raunchy variety show.”
” this evening is all about the beauty of live performance.”
“it is safe to assume that Rachel Rogue will continue to compile Wellington’s most diverse and eclectic variety show.”
“laugh inducing, tear jerking, thought provoking and body rolling carnival style goodness.”
“start counting down the days until next month when Wellington’s carnival freaks and burlesque geeks emerge from their caravans to bring you the next instalment of The Menagerie.”
Read the full review here: http://www.theatreview.org.nz/reviews/review.php?id=8194
May 2015 Performers
Part wolf, part grrl and part naked! Amourous Ava is known for her comic neo-burlesque style and steadfast commitment to romping enthusiastically around in her underpants dressed as characters from 1950s B-grade movies.
Mothers, lock up your sons! With a grind of her behind and a bump of her rump, her acts are always a glorious spectacle.
Based in Auckland, Amourous Ava has been performing throughout New Zealand and internationally since 2011. She is also the founding editor of the zine Pastie Politics: Burlesque and Feminism in New Zealand.
Ruby Ruin brings her own vivacious attitude to every performance, known for her high energy passionate performance style Ruby brings a twist to every routine. Her acts are unique, glamorous & entertaining. She is a little bit naughty but totally nice showgirl who has entertained audiences from New Zealand & Australia to the USA.
Hadassah Grace is a writer, singer and professional hot mess. She used to take her clothes off for fun, and now she does it for money.
She writes about sex, politics, and sexual politics.
In her spare time she mostly masturbates and cries, but she’s never burned a single kernel of popcorn.
Alice Brine is a rising star in the New Zealand comedy scene, She has been very busy making people laugh over the last year and has recently performed with the likes of Ben Hurley (7 Days), and international acts such as David Keochner (Anchorman).
Alice is equal parts intelligent and shocking. She is unapologetically hilarious and one to watch out for in the NZ International comedy Festival for sure. ”One to watch out for in NZ Comedy festival, Alice shares a show with Award winning comedian Daniel John Smith in in How to Fold A fitted sheet. Also, Alice will be performing as Mirakle, lead Yoga-Instrukta, in Bogan Yoga. ”
Brimming with X-Factor, possibly insane but in the best possible way- Ben Hurley 7 Days.
The best comedy chops I have seen in a long time- Steve Wrigley -7 Days
Amazing in every single possible way – David Koechner, Anchorman.
Moira is a psychic medium, which means she is clairaudient (hears spirit), clairvoyant (sees spirit), and clairasil daily face wash® (removes pimples from spirit).
When you share with Moira, tell her what your issue is, the first names of the people involved in your issue, and any other details that make looking into the future relatively simple.
“I will change your life…NO REFUNDS!”
A hula hooping hurricane, Miss Valerie Vendetta hails from the South Island. She had previously been performing hula hoops in Christchurch, but the bright lights of Wellington beckoned her! This sassy, super fiesty lady is excited to dazzle you with her quiver of sparkly hoops.
A nominee for both the Fred Dagg Comedy Award and the Billy T James Comedy Award, Welsh / Samoan comedian, James Nokise, has carved out a reputation in New Zealand going after everything from gangs, to politicians, to stereotypes within Pacific Culture.
Over the last couple of years he’s performed at festivals in Adelaide, Perth, Edinburgh, and New York; guest lectured at Universities; been a member of the award winning Puppet Fiction (Pulp Fiction with Puppets) crew; written Wellington’s most popular political satire series (Public Service Announcements); all while continuing to be a regular host at Wellington and Auckland comedy clubs, as well as a commentator for Radio New Zealand, Radio Live and 531 PI.
Seth Hoffman is a singer songwriter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He performs with a guitar, harmonica, strumstick, and loop pedal. His playful, interactive style of stories and music create a good time for all.
Spoink And The Luna Landa
Spoink and the luna landa feed off of each others dynamic talents
for song writing, they write authentic and diverse songs that are extremely melodic in flow.
They believe that having a wide range of sound keeps their music interesting to their listeners. Their lyrics posses a poetic story telling style that are performed with passion and conviction as “Real time is real music”.
Rachel Rouge is the keeper and collector of The Menagerie. She brings together exquisite performers from diverse genres just for one unrepeatable night. She loves this job, she loves bringing unique experiences together and hopes that everyone involved will have a memory that they will always treasure.
Rachel has a collection of photos of public toilets from some of the 56 countries she has travelled to. She also really likes squatty toilets.
March 2015 Performers
Actor, writer and producer David Koechner is best known for his roles as Todd Packer on “The Office” and Champ Kind from “Anchorman” and “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.” Koechner recently received rave reviews for his role in the dark, twisted and film festival award-winning thriller “Cheap Thrills.” He stars in Paramount’s “Scouts vs. Zombies” and Legendary / Universal’s “Krampus,” both set to release in late 2015.
An alumnus of Chicago’s Second City Theater, Koechner got his first break as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” and since has become an instantly recognizable face appearing in more than 120 films and television shows. Additional notable film credits include “Waiting,” “Out Cold,” “Talladega Nights,” “Get Smart,” “Extract,” “Thank You for Smoking” and “A Haunted House.” When not filming, Koechner performs live stand-up comedy across the country and creates original content videos for his YouTube channel, “Full On Koechner.” He currently resides in Los Angeles, Calif. with his wife and five children.
A Trickster God of irony, The Man is a nameless modern incarnation of the fool archetype. A new world jester who delivers an ever smiling spiel dripping with satire, mischief and yellow paint.
“A persona that is somewhere between The Joker and a 21st century facebook Oscar Wilde”- Kate Copstick
LadySane is a new comer in the Wellington burlesque scene. With her Fantastic choreography, cheeky little acts and comical facials, she is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat!
Female & Celebrity Impersonator, Drag Queen, Hostess &
Zane and Degge
Zane and Degge have been entertaining audiences around New Zealand since before they can remember. Born your average baby brothers, cute, round and bald, they are now fully fledged variety entertainers. They bring shows that meld highly skilled circus feats, hilarious grassroots comedy and fantastic creative entertainment.
Savanna’s stand up comedy is that of a sarcastic nature and her face is that of resting bitch-face. Her observational style story telling will let you step into her Doc Martins and show you a world as seen by an angry bogan.
Won 2013 Wellington comedy scene’s ‘Best Newcomer’ award
Won 2012 ‘Best Dressed’ at her high school ball
Alien Junk Monsters
Increasing waste accumulation combined with mutagenic toxins and possible extra-terrestrial influences has led to the evolution of a new life-form: ALIEN JUNK MONSTERS.
However the news is not all bad, as these fellas love to BOOGIE.
David Klein tires to combine his loves of storytelling and science in a theatrical environment. His full-length show ‘Toward a Better Understanding of the Universe’ earned him Best Newcomer at the 2015 NZ Fringe Festival Awards!
This young lady has traveled the length of the country from theaters in the countries largest cities to the streets of the smallest. With a background in dance she infuses this into her circus performances both in the air and in the arms of her strong acrobatics partner. She defies gravity, has luscious hair and really does dance in the air – this is not an aerialist you want to miss.
“Her tissue and aerial hoop performances have the audience gasping and cheering as she skillfully weaves her magic. The choreography of her pieces is beautiful and it is wonderful to see her display musicality and interpretation, as well as her physical ability.” NZ Theatre Review
Follow her on Facebook to see where she is next weaving her magic:https://www.facebook.com/smidgeaerialarts
Or for more about all she has to offer:
As the front woman for Karen and Her Fellow sinners, Karen puts the sin in singing. She’ll be your femme fatale with the tragic past and heart of gold. A friend once said Karen had the kind of voice you could curl up and go to sleep in – her favourite review ever.
Rachel Rouge is the curator, producer and stage manager of The Menagerie. Occasionally she performs burlesque, sometimes she MCs cabaret shows and every month she updates this website with some new bit of information about herself written in the 3rd person.
Rachel once won a ‘Sing Along Sound of Music’ costume competition by dressing as a hill. By gluing a little plastic goat heard to her green wig she managed to cover a few bases: Climb Ev’ry Mountain, The hills are alive, High on a hill, etc.
March 2015 Performers
Peter Quin has been playing with bubbles for two years and can often be seen performing around Wellington on a still day. Come and experience his latest iteration: the electrifying Midnight Bubbles.
Faí is a Celtic trio originally from Christchurch although the blood and rhythm from the old country clearly flows through them.
This partnership of guitarist Michael Koefman, violinist Evie Hay and Irish whistle player is called Elena have been together since 2009 and perform regularly at weddings, funerals and everything in-between. Faí made their Menagerie debut last month represented by only two thirds of the trio. The audience loved the depth and breath of the music and they have been asked back.
If two thirds of Faí knocked out socks off what will the whole trio be like? We can’t wait to find out.
Georgia Fergusson & Shayna Tweed
Georgia’s love of singing started at a young age, with her first performance being in the Sunshine Singing Group when she was 8. Trying all sorts of different musical styles she finally landed on Opera and has been in love with it ever since. Georgia is now in her third year at the New Zealand School of Music and is trying to make her Opera dream come true.
Georgia will be accompanied by fellow opera singer Shayna Tweed
Jacquie is a performer that is fascinated with the art of drag, musical theatre and the seedy underbelly of jazz. She loves to sing, act and dance. You can catch her performing around Wellington and she will be performing as a flamboyant peacock and a temperamental flamingo at Wellington’s CubaDupa festival in March. And will be singing Wednesday evening at The Southern Cross on April 22nd 2015.
Hester Hawthorne is an introverted exhibitionist with a penchant for the ludicrous.
She’s been lurking around the fringes of the Wellington burlesque scene since 2009 when she made her debut as performer, producer and parent all in the same week.
Humour, flair and size-ten feet make Jim the hostess with the mostest for this upcoming Menagerie. With comedy chops tastier than your mums Sunday roast she will keep this night rock’n’rolling along with her own brand of laughs, sarcasm and pokes at the world at large.
Mr Wizowski is a man for all occasions. As long as the occasion calls for comedy, circus or some dubious legal advice. He’s been called “delightful, funny, zany and clever” (Theatreveiw 2015), but don’t let others make up your mind, witness him for yourself to get the full Wizowski experience.
From sixty-three letter German words to canine landscaping operations, any topic is fair game for this poet. His talent was honed on the mean streets of Wellington, where the only escape from his harsh reality was in iambic pentameter and craft beer. This explains the rhythmic, boozy nature of his work. He has also developed something of a reputation for excessive rhyming and terrible puns. For this he makes no apologies.
His poems are best served with a crisp Czech pilsner.
Gerard can be seen all around Wellington on any comedy stage that hasn’t
explicitly forbidden him.
His stories combine everyday experiences with a totally inappropriate sense of grandeur, that will feel like a second home to anyone who thinks they’re more important than they really are.
“Gerard Paapu is really very funny.” “…honest and real.” – Jan Maree for Theatreview
“The audience’s most loved pun” — Theatreview
Rachel spends a lot of time searching for the strangest and most entertaining performers in Wellington (and beyond). She goes to as many comedy, poetry, drag, circus, cabaret, theatre, musical, and burlesque shows as she can. She also stalks buskers. It’s not only fun, but it’s worth it to find the most fantastic group of performers to bring together for each one-night-only show.
February 2015 Performers
The Menagerie is delighted to welcome back the incredible Jarred Fell who will HOST ALL THREE SHOWS this month. We are so excited about this we are going to use both inappropriate capitalisation and an overuse of exclamation marks!!
Jarred brilliantly smashes together comedy with sideshow styled magic. His performances, they are fun, creepy, intriguing and absolutely hilarious.
ou may have seen this gentleman busking around Wellington from time to time. He’s really not bad. He likes brandy and cake.
Sharn Te Pou is more than just a singer/songwriter he is a visionary. Believing in a brighter future where people are more open-minded and accepting of one another. He draws inspiration from life and his own personal beliefs. With his unique sound and soulful voice he’ll take you on a journey into his mind. After years of creating and developing his own original sound, thanks to Creative New Zealand he was given the opportunity to record his very first EP self-titled “Sharn” which he hopes to release early this year. This 4 song EP is a short but powerful glimpse of who Sharn is and what he has to come.
Pete O’Connell and his Spinning Wheel
Pete O’Connell and his Spinning Wheel Performing with a unique musical instrument of his own design, Pete O’Connell has been mesmerizing audiences for the past 2 years with his “Spinning Wheel”. This ingenious musical design creates an undeniably appealing and innovative sound, which, especially when combined with the guitar, greatly extends the guitar potentials for musical expression into a whole new realm of musical possibility. You must see and hear it to believe it!
Tess Munro Pedreros
After an impromptu performance in a crowded Spanish restaurant at the age of two, Tess started dance classes and has been performing ever since. Never satisfied with a single style, she tried everything from ballet to ballroom, hip hop to ice dance, kung fu to flamenco, competitive aerobics to contemporary dance before discovering circus. She now gallivants around the world as a mesmerising mistress of the hoops.
Ladyfruit is a tryhard. Because she tries hard. She’s got a kind heart and her feet firmly planted in the whenua. She plays to her emotions. Don’t generalise her, fool! She doesn’t even know what genre of music she plays. It changes all the time. Her sound is a mixed bag of soulful melodies, a spit it and hit it rapping style, and a ka-chink ka-chink hori guitar strum when she feels the mood strike. Ladyfruit just simply, loves jamming, like a fat kid loves cake. She also loves cake. And fat kids. Check yourself, this woman has soul.
Frank Burkitt originally learned his music in the session pubs of his native Edinburgh but his music is more akin to old time blues, contemporary bluegrass and American roots music. He writes bluegrass drinking songs, Celtic ballads, country anthems and songs that are in completely his own style.
Evie Hay (violinist) played her first performance with the Chieftains at the age of eight years old and being surrounded by Celtic music since a toddler, she has gained an enormous passion for this style of music. Five years ago she met and collaborated with fellow musician and duo member Michael Koefman (guitarist), while busking inside Christchurch Square. Ever since, the two have been enjoying performing for all kinds of events around Canterbury – and have now relocated here in Wellington City where they are continuing to share their music with the hope of one day taking it on their travels to the other side of the world.
Mike Kay is a performing artist whose media include subterfuge, influence and mind reading. He specialises in mystery and the applied science of imaginary solutions, with a success rate higher than any solutions that haven’t been thought of yet.
Visit his website: http://mountebank.co.nz/
Jerome is a regular MC and performer on the NZ comedy scene and has taken part in multiple NZ Fringe Festivals. He is a frequent compere of the Wellington Raw Comedy Quest, and has appeared on TV2’s Christmas Comedy Cracker hosted by Rhys Darby. From the insightful to the silly, he has entertained audiences from Auckland to Edinburgh.
“had the audience hanging off every word…uniquely enjoyable” The Lumiere Reader
“has an infectious enthusiasm and a delightfully lateral view of the world” Theatreview.org.nz
“brought the house down” Salient Magazine
Follow Jerome on Twitter: @JeromeChandra
Go see Jerome’s Fringe show Same Same Different
Jonny is a talker-talkwriter from Wellington. He likes open fires, tennis, Patti Smith, walking after midnight and David Letterman.
Go see Jonny’s Fringe Festival show LOOSE: a private history of booze & Iggy Pop 1996-2015, at BATS 11-14 March bats.co.nz/shows/loose/
Follow Jonny on Twitter: twitter.com/fastercamels
Seductively suggestive this vivacious vixen has a classically cheeky Burlesque style. One that will electrifies more than just the spot light. Trained at the Miss La Belle House of Burlesque she’s been thrusting glitter on stage for 3 years now. Windy Wellington based she knows how to blow more than just your socks off. When she’s not on stage she’s managing it, so don’t let her demure disposition deceive you she’s a barbaric beauty.
Go give her Facebook page a like.
This nifty little mocha-coloured vixen is a siren of the stage. As her name suggests she is a born-this-way show pony of the dazzling and bedazzled kind.
Her ventures into burlesque started 2 years a go and she has loved every glitter and adrenaline fueled minute of it. She has performed in many burlesque shows but also been a main character/performer in some of the well known burlesque based stage plays over the past couple years such as “Nautical Naughties” and “Skindiana Jones: Temple of the Lost Harlot”.
Her acts are often a little quirky with a lot of character and a lot of bump ‘n’ grind! Sensuality is her game and baby when you watch her show you’ll…..well you know when you see a cute puppy with a unbearably delicious treat just out of it’s reach? Yes. That’ll be you.
28 Days: A Period Piece is a brand new musical comedy about adolescence, womanhood and educational theatre from Discharge, the award winning comedy collective that brought you Benedict Cumberbatch Must Die and What is this, Woman’s Hour?
“An hour of hugely carried short and sharp laugh-so-hard-you’ll-piss-your-pants type sketches … ” Theatreview
“Laugh-out-loud…highly entertaining character-based comedy … ” Theatreview
Go see Discharge’s Fringe show 28 days: a period piece