The Menagerie celebrates Matariki

The Menagerie joins The Fringe Bar’s week of Matariki Celebrations this year. The Fringe Bar – in its new home on Allen Street – will celebrate a full week of Matariki celebrations and The Menagerie, Wellington’s monthly variety show, has brought together a glittering collection of stars to dazzle the stage.

Producer Rachel Rouge says they have been working in partnership with Jo Paku to be part of Te Wiki o Matariki (Matariki week) “We are very much enjoying this collaboration with Jo, she’s amazing and has been able to get us in touch with some stellar performers creating a fantastic line up.” says Rouge.

The Menagerie on Saturday the 28th of June will feature performances by singer Lisa Tomlins, violinist Elena, Māori diva Toni Huata, Hemi Paraone (Brannigan Kaa singing James Brown classics) former MP Georgina Beyer, burlesque dancer Lady Cashmere and gender illusionist Amanduh la Whore as well as storytelling, pole performance stand up comedy and more.

Matariki is the Māori New Year and occurs during the rise of the Pleiades star constellation (also called Matariki and the Seven Sisters). It is the time to reflect on the year past and plan for the year ahead.

Jo Paku, is organising a full week of events at The Fringe bar and has been brought on as co-producer for the June Menagerie show “I thrive on promoting Māori talent, te reo and waiata by creating events that can be enjoyed by all” says Ms Paku.

The Menagerie is a fun, frivolous and light hearted monthly variety show that celebrates high quality and unusual live performance, it’s on at 8pm on the last Saturday of every month (except December). The last show sold out, and people were being turned away at the door, we recommend buying tickets early to avoid disappointment.

June Poster
Special Matariki show, 8pm at The Fringe bar, Allen St Wellington, Saturday the 28th of June.

Ten minute tops for new variety show

Press Release: The Menagerie, also got onto Scoop online newspaper.

A new variety show has come alive Wellington. The Menagerie is a collection of talented performers hand picked by veteran burlesque dancer Rachel Rouge. This variety show – started in November last year – is on every second month at the Fringe Bar on Allen Street.

Each performer is given a time slot of up to 10 minutes, and has free reign to do anything they like with their slot.

The next show on March 29th will feature Benjamin Crellin in the role of MC. Crellin, known as the dark knight of New Zealand comedy, has recently returned from the UK pro comedy circuit.

“We are delighted to have Benjamin in our next show.” says Rouge. “His fearless cutting wit is an excellent contrast to the visual spectacles in the show.”

The March show also features established local magician Paul Bates, new hip hop dancing talent Blu, award winning poet Michael Gray, pole performance, singing, ukulele performance, and a burlesque performance by Rouge herself.

The Menagerie aims to create a space where talented performers can try new things and stretch their boundaries. There may be acts to fall in love with, and acts that will be just plain weird. But if there is an act you are not enjoying there is comfort in the knowledge that within 10 minutes you will be watching something totally new and different.

The next show is on Saturday March the 29th, and The Menagerie runs every second month at The Fringe Bar, 26 Allen Street.
Doors open at 7pm, show starts at 8pm
Tickets are $30 at Eventfinda or on the door

Show, 8pm at The Fringe bar, Allen St Wellington, Saturday the 25th of January. Woot!
Show, 8pm at The Fringe bar, Allen St Wellington, Saturday the 29th of March. Woot!

Burlesque to comedy in one show

An article & photo by Amy Jackman

The good people have taken a lovely photo of a few of the November performers and given us a nice wee write up on the prized spot on the cover. You can see the full article on or you can read it below….

A Wellington burlesque dancer has switched from teaching in the West Bank to variety show producer.

Rachel Rouge ran the cabaret drawing event Dr Sketchy before spending a year travelling around the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

She backpacked to Jordan, Palestine and Iraqi Kurdistan, where she attended Arabic classes while teaching English and art.

“I have two great passions in my life. One is the Middle East, and the other is flouncing around in my underwear onstage,” she said.

Now back in Wellington, Rouge is starting a whole new venture – a variety show, The Menagerie, to be performed at The Fringe Bar’s new location in Allen St.

This month’s debut show will feature singing, dancing, comedic stripping duo Victor Victorious and Clever Hansel, comedian Daniel John Smith, dancing clown Jen McArthur, singer Gabriel Page, burlesque dancer Harlow Lestrange and Rouge.

“I love variety shows,” she said. “The great thing is if you don’t like the act it will soon be gone and something different will take its place.” The Menagerie, every second month starting November 23, 8pm, The Fringe Bar, 26 Allen Street,

– The Wellingtonian

The Wellingtonian - November 14 2013
The Wellingtonian – November 14 2013
The Wellingtonian article on Stuff Nov 2013