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Chocolate madness tours the South!

Chocolate madness tours the South!

Hardworking duo Alex Ellis and Phil Ormsby from Flaxworks Theatre are back on the road again, this time touring New Zealand with their second production ‘Murder by Chocolate’. Starting in Takaka on the 20th February they are returning to the touring circuit they love with this lighthearted tribute to the original murder mystery. Performing in 16 different venues throughout the South Island on a six week tour they are returning to many of the venues where they performed their first play, ‘Biscuit & Coffee’ almost 3 years ago. “It has been amazing ringing venues that we think of as the places who helped us at the start and not only having them remember us, but be excited to have us back!”

After the premiere of Flaxworks first original play ‘Biscuit & Coffee’ at a small Tauranga theatre in 2005 the two jumped straight into their $400 van and hit the road. “We had never done anything like this before, it was the second play Phil had written, and my first one woman show, and we had no experience with producing or marketing” says Alex “ but we just had to see if it could be done”. They returned one month and 13 shows later with bills paid, $10 each in their pockets and all the inspiration they needed to keep going. Since then they have performed ‘Biscuit & Coffee’ in over 25 more venues around the country from the tiniest country halls to established theatres such as BATS in Wellington and The Herald Theatre in Auckland.

‘Murder by Chocolate’ was premiered in Wellington at BATS in January of 2007 and after a bit of refining has since played seasons in Whakatane, Tauranga, Dunedin and Auckland. But the duo has been itching to get back to more extensive touring despite the new challenges this presented.

“Although touring ‘Biscuit & Coffee’ was hard because we had no idea what to expect at least it was designed to tour. Alex performed and I teched but ‘Murder by Chocolate’ is more complex” says Phil. “Up until now we’ve always had a technician to run the show but the financial risks of an extended tour mean we needed to see if we could do it ourselves. The trick has been to substitute the usual light and sound effects with more performer friendly devices in a way that still works with the storyline”. Between them, the two performers play six characters and now also operate all of the 40 odd light and sound cues in a show already described by a Lumiere Review as ‘totally madcap’.

“It is challenging but ‘Murder by Chocolate’ is a fun play” says Alex. “People enjoy it, they laugh out loud. The best compliment we have had is someone saying they would never normally go to theatre but since seeing our show they are going to make the effort to see more. And that’s a great reason to tour”.

‘Murder by Chocolate’ will be touring the South Island from the 20th of February to the 29th of March. See it; it’s a chocolate rush to die for!

See for tour dates and more information.


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