Last Tapes Theatre Company Opens ‘First Steps’ Season with Fantastical Debut

Meet Addy. A butterfly-tamer, in a treehouse, living in a magical world of her own creation. But what happens when Addy begins to lose herself to the fantasy? Beanie-Maryse Ridler‘s fantastical new work Defending the J.J. MAC is a story about mental health, acceptance, reconciliation and grief…with a little bit of magic thrown in the mix. Last Tapes Theatre Company are proud to be bringing the premiere of this New Zealand play to the Basement to open the 2016 season.

Beanie-Maryse Ridler's fantastical new work Defending the J.J. MAC

Beanie-Maryse Ridler’s fantastical new work Defending the J.J. MAC

Beanie’s writing explores the use of magical realism and imagination as coping mechanisms for the human mind. Does the use of the fantastical make it easier for humans to understand the things we don’t really want to face? And therefore does using this technique in theatre, or any other art medium, open audiences up to understand things they might not have been willing to look at before?

Emerging director Leon Wadham takes the reins (fresh from a Silo Theatre internship) with a cast of Toi Whakaari graduates – Ella Hope-Higginson and Shane Murphy(2015), and Ana Corbett (2011), also a Niu FM broadcaster, alongside established theatre actors Bruce Phillips and Cameron Rhodes. Also on board are Rachel Marlow(lighting), Fraser Mildon (costume design), Andrew Foster (set design) and Rowan Pierce (sound design/composition).

Leon says “It’s really exciting to be working with a new writer – one with a strong voice, who has an interesting story to tell. Seeing veteran actors like Cam and Bruce work with emerging actors on fresh writing is a real thrill. The rehearsal room has a fantastic energy about it.”

“The script is fanciful, provocative and entertaining. I think people will walk away delighted by the magic of the work and satisfied with the story. There are lots of layers to the play, and a lot to reflect on and discover long after the lights come up.”

An emerging force in theatre, Last Tapes Theatre Company have already begun creating a theatrical legacy, presenting uniquely New Zealand works including Fallout: The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, Verbatim and Portraits, as well as the hilarious sell-out season of Earnest.

This year, Last Tapes Theatre Company is focusing on developing emerging talent – new writers, new actors, new practitioners. Their 2016 season Last Tapes: First Stepsmanifests this intent with four world-premiere plays.

Following Defending the J.J. MAC, Last Tapes will premiere the debut play from up-and-coming screenwriter Oliver Quincy Page Sodomites: A Comedy in August, starring Last Tapes’ own Cherie Moore. In September Last Tapes will continue to showcase their in-house creative talents with Valerie, a biographical cabaret by company director Robin Kelly, new musical director Tom Broome, and Moore stepping into the titular role. Once again, Last Tapes will close their year with a collaboration with the Actors’ Program – another strong showcase of NZ’s future acting talent.

Last Tapes Theatre Company presents
Defending the J.J. MAC
Written by Beanie-Maryse Ridler
Directed by Leon Wadham
2-6 February
Basement Theatre
Tickets on sale now from
Tickets $22 ($18 concessions)

Beanie-Maryse Ridler's fantastical new work Defending the J.J. MAC

Beanie-Maryse Ridler’s fantastical new work Defending the J.J. MAC

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