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“Perfect” Benedict Cumberbatch inspires new show

“Perfect” Benedict Cumberbatch inspires new show

An obsession with British actor and movie star Benedict Cumberbatch has inspired three Wellington women to write and perform “Benedict Cumberbatch Must Die”, on at BATS Theatre from 19 to 28 June.

Abby Howells, Kate Schrader and Caitlin McNaughton are members of award-winning comedy collective Discharge, most recently seen in the New Zealand Fringe 2014 with its sold-out show, “What is this, Woman’s Hour?”

The idea for this new show came about earlier this year when the three women discovered they shared a “deep passion” for Benedict Cumberbatch.

They talked about him for two hours, sharing their fantasies and dreams, before Kate said: “This is not socially acceptable behaviour for adults. He’s making us crazy. Benedict Cumberbatch must die.”

Caitlin said: “That’s a great title for a play.”

Rehearsals began and their “Benedict Cumber-pitch” to BATS Theatre for a season in June was successful. Abby, who is doing her masters degree in scriptwriting at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University, wrote the script.

“We thought if we performed a play about him he might come and see it and fall in love with us,” Abby says. “We sent an invitation to 221b Baker St and even though he’s not on Twitter, we’ve been tweeting his colleagues and friends like Mark Gattis and Amanda Abbington.”

They’ve also heard through a friend of a friend of a friend at Weta Workshop that he might be coming back to do post-production work for the third Hobbit movie, “The Battle of the Five Armies”, in which he provides the voice and motion capture of Smaug.

“He’s got such a beautiful voice,” Caitlin sighs.

“Oh god,” Kate groans.

“Actually, we’d be terrified if he came to the play,” Abby confesses. “It would tear us apart as friends. We did wonder at one stage if he could sue us – and if he did, would that mean we’d have to go to a court hearing and he’d be there?”

There are three characters in the show. Clarissa (Caitlin McNaughton) is an aspiring actor who has written a one-woman show to perform for Benedict Cumberbatch. Tamara (Kate Schrader) is a flighty Cumberbatch fanatic obessed with celebrity culture. Abby describes her character, Genevieve, as a psychotic Ralph Wiggum (from The Simpsons TV show) who stays in her room writing fan fiction.

“Benedict Cumberbatch Must Die” is on at 8pm from 19 to 28 June with no show on Sunday or Monday. Bookings at or (04) 802 4175.


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