Best of 2016 – Auckland Theatre props

The unsung special effects of theatre productions, killer props that helps define a scene, a mood or a joke. Here are some of the more memorable of the year.


A drum kit, WHITE / OTHER, Basement Theatre
A brilliant opening motif, returned to later in the show, as Alice Canton hypnotically played the opening riff to David Bowie’s China Girl.

Ackbar head, An Hour With Ackbar, Basement Theatre
A prop worthy of an award, if such things exist in New Zealand theatre land. It had the power to turn Wellingtonian actress Anya Tate-Manning  into the intergalactic Ackbar, of eternal “it’s a trap!” Star Wars fame. The force was strong with this prop.

Soil, Potato Stamp Megalomaniac, Basement Theatre
A prop unlikely to return any time soon, given the potential for Legionnaires disease, but one that made a fitting home for an audience sized number of potatoes, and the occasional packet of (gluten containing) pasta. It was nearly upstaged though by both a potato synthesiser and some strategical shaped pieces of cardboard. This show was a bit of a prop fest.

Body suits, Camping, Basement Theatre
A potential nominee for best nudity of the year, given the anatomically correct nature of these body suits, unveiled during the climatic climax to this campiest of tales.


Art Show, Centaur, Basement Theatre
An impressively credible selection of art, memorably narrated by Jesse Griffin. My favourite was the mocking but completely accurate curator’s explanation, accompanied of course by a curator’s explanation.

Fancy dress, Perplex, Herald Theatre
Without wanting to spoilt the show while it is still running there are some impressive examples of fancy and less fancy dress (including a birthday suit) in this show, enough to rival the Auckland Theatre Awards for creativity and surrealism.

What do you think of this selection? Anything you loved that I either missed or didn’t mention?

Author: jontycrane

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