Performer's homecoming hit
It's been a long journey home for Christchurch performer David
It's a journey that started at the quake-damaged Loons theatre
in Lyttelton before taking him to the Auckland Comedy Festival and
then across Canada.
Now, Ladderman's one-man show Battle of the Bastards is being
performed for sell-out crowds at the World Buskers Festival in his
The festival run is a homecoming hit for Ladderman, who moved to
Christchurch from Australia to attend the Circo Arts school in 1998
and has been an active member of the city's performing arts and
busking scene since.
The show tells the story of Edmund the bastard from the William
Shakespeare play King Lear, but peppered with busker-style
interludes and audience interaction. It was created almost
accidentally about 10 years ago when Ladderman needed to hurriedly
find some material to fill in for an absent performer at a comedy
club. Slowly, the piece grew until it told the whole story of
Edmund's ambitious and bloody rise and fall.
"I didn't really know that I was creating a one-man show at the
time. It sat on the shelf for years," he said.
The show was dusted off in 2010 and performed at The Loons
theatre, where Ladderman is a founding member, as part of a
Then the February 2011 earthquake struck and The Loons theatre
was out of action.
"We just thought: 'Let's push it'.
"By now the incident had occurred and things were different and
we needed to explore other avenues."
The show was accepted into the Auckland Comedy Festival and then
toured a series of fringe festivals across Canada.
The buzz and strong reviews caught the attention of buskers
festival artistic director Jodi Wright in Christchurch.
"We used the Auckland Comedy Festival as a launch pad to get to
Canadian fringe festivals. Our success there allowed Jodi to have
the confidence to bring it here," he said.
Now the show's journey across the world has led to success in
his home town, Ladderman is keen to develop his career away from
street performing and towards "indoor shows".
"For the long haul, this is what I'm interested in, finding ways
to work indoors. It is a different kettle of fish."
He is already developing a new one-man show about medicine-show
doctors and a two-hander about mind readers has been accepted into
six fringe festivals in Canada this year.
Wright believes Battle of the Bastards will "go places".
"The quakes have been responsible for a lot of creative people
having to think differently about how they create," she said.
of the Bastards
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