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Apocalyptic Hell's Teeth four years in the making

EMMA WHITTAKER
Last updated 05:00 24/07/2013
HElls Teeth
DARK FUTURE: Hell’s Teeth director Ros Gardner, left, and actress Madeleine de Young.

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In 2096 New Zealand is blighted with an unknown epidemic that wipes out almost the entire population.

The country is isolated from the rest of the world and the only communication survivors receive is a signal from the mysterious Parallel 38 in Kaitaia.

It comes through a bio-chip worn under the skin that we've come to rely on after selling ourselves to the rest of the world as a perfect test population for new technology.

Northland is where survivors think they'll find help, only to find things are not as they expect.

According to the The Tell Tale Theatre Company's debut production Hell's Teeth this is how the apocalypse will play out in New Zealand.

The multimedia show at Mt Eden's Crystal Palace Theatre mixes film and special effects with live performance.

It's been four years in the making.

In 2008 the founding members of the theatre company came up with the concept for their end of year show with TAPAC's Out Loud youth theatre group.

"Because of what it was and when we did it we couldn't fulfil the production concept with the original," writer and director Ros Gardner says.

Like most of those involved, Hell's Teeth actress and producer Madeleine de Young couldn't let it go.

"Even though I hadn't seen the play or been near the script for a number of years there were scenes I still knew off by heart, and they weren't necessarily mine either," the Sandringham resident says.

"You just can't leave it, it has such a strong emotional pull."

The catalyst for the original play was the Sars outbreak.

While cinemas have been overrun with apocalypse-themed films in the past five years the company says it wanted to do something unique to New Zealand.

"They're all about America going down. That's not a problem and they can go for it but the thing is we are such a specific place," Ms Gardner says.

The Tell Tale Theatre Company is a mixture of amateur and professional actors.

By day Ms de Young is a university student studying health science, English and politics.

Founding the company hasn't been easy.

"Having to ring people up and ask them for things has been a huge learning curve. We're starting to see where we can go with it. We've been talking about a show for early next year which should be a lot of fun," she says.

Hell's Teeth is on at the Crystal Palace Theatre, 535 Mt Eden Rd, until Saturday. Adult tickets $25 from iticket.co.nz.

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