New play based on The Simpsons opens in Auckland

A new show has opened in Auckland, and it’s based on The Simpsons.

Called Mr Burns, the Silo Theatre play features some well-known Kiwi performers, such as Ana Scotney from The Breaker Upperers and Joel Tobeck whose list of work includes Sons of Anarchy and Shortland Street.

Written by Anne Washburn, the story begins with an untold apocalyptic event, and how the recollection of the famous Simpsons episode Cape Feare - where Sideshow Bob tries to kill Bart - helps bind those left alive.

The message is centred around the importance of storytelling and holding onto cultural traditions.

"Something can grow into something bigger, as stories get told and things get changed," said director and life-long The Simpsons fan Oliver Driver.

"What binds us together are stories, legend, myths and the beginning of them and how they can shift and change over time, and the necessity of stories for our survival," Scotney said.

The play has previously been done in the US, UK and Australia, but this is the first time it’s been performed for a New Zealand audience.

Tobeck, who hasn’t done any theatre work for 15 years, says the show is the full package.

"It has the drama, the music, the dance and the grandness of The Simpsons,” he said.

The show is on at Q Theatre in Rangatira until the end of the month.

Mr Burns is on at the Q Theatre in Rangatira and features some well-known Kiwi performers including Ana Scotney from The Breaker Upperers and Joel Tobeck from Sons of Anarchy. Source: 1 NEWS



Rapper Mac Miller 'dead for hours' before emergency services arrived

Mac Miller's dead body reportedly lay undiscovered for hours before police and paramedics arrived at his house.

The 26-year-old rapper's body was discovered by police and paramedics in the bedroom of his San Fernando Valley home around midday on Friday (local time), but sources told TMZ it was clear he had passed away from an apparent overdose long before they arrived.

The night before Miller was discovered, he had had friends over to the house to hang out, and they left in the early hours of the Friday morning, with police revealing no one has come forward to say they had seen him alive after that night.

A call to emergency services said the Self Care hitmaker had suffered a cardiac arrest, but it's believed that the person who found him may not have realised he was already dead.

It was previously claimed Miller's California home had been "swept clean" so there would be no evidence of drug use.

Police searching for clues were said to have found only a small amount of white powder at the property.

American rapper Mac Miller dies age 26.
American rapper Mac Miller dies age 26. Source: Bang Showbiz

Earlier this week, the rapper's body was released to his family after an autopsy on his remains was completed, though an official cause of death has not yet been confirmed.

Los Angeles County coroner's spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said: "The autopsy was completed and a cause of death has been deferred pending additional tests. His body has been released."

A cause of death won't be announced until test results are released, and that could take anything from a few weeks to months, the spokesperson confirmed.

Now Miller's body has been released, his funeral will be able to take place.

Though it's currently unclear when that will happen, the Dang! star was raised in the Jewish faith, where it is preferred to have burial take place in as short an interval of time after death as possible.

FILE - In this July 13, 2013, file photo, Rapper Mac Miller performs on his Space Migration Tour at Festival Pier in Philadelphia. Los Angeles County coroner’s spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, that investigators have performed the autopsy and released the Miller's body to the family, but a cause will not be announced until the results of toxicology tests that can take weeks or months. Miller was found dead in his Los Angeles home last week. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)
Rapper Mac Miller performs on his Space Migration Tour at Festival Pier in Philadelphia. Source: Associated Press

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Woo! Wrestling legend Ric Flair ties the knot at 69

Ric Flair has married Wendy Barlow after six years of dating.

The wrestling legend tied the knot with fiancee Wendy Barlow today in a low-key ceremony at a resort in North Florida.

According to TMZ, fellow WWE icon The Undertaker was among the guests, while RAW star Dolph Ziggler walked Wendy down the aisle.

The 69-year-old wrestler donned a custom suit for the occasion and came in for the ceremony to the sound of Offset and Metro Boomin's track Ric Flair Drip.

Ahead of the ceremony, Ric had posted his excitement on Twitter.

He wrote: "It's Going To Be A Wonderful WOOOOO Wednesday!"

Wendy - who was previously known to wrestling fans as Fifi the French Maid - is Ric's fifth wife and the couple have been together for six years.

The wedding comes a year after Ric was placed into an induced coma for 11 days after being rushed to hospital with stomach pains that were later diagnosed as the early stages of kidney failure and congestive heart failure due to years of alcohol abuse and he later praised Wendy for her support during his medical ordeal.

He said: "Wendy stayed with me in the ICU every day. She got what's called ... seriously, ICU psychosis, and she never left my room for 11 days."

Ric also claimed he "couldn't walk" after he was brought out of his coma, and was sent to a physical rehabilitation centre where he had to learn the basic function.

He added: "And then when I got released from the hospital they checked me into place, because I had to learn how to walk again, I couldn't walk, I couldn't do anything. I couldn't twist the top off a Gatorade bottle or open a diet Coke. I lost 43 lbs. So they put me into a physical rehab, not an alcohol rehab. I'd already done that gig, and that really worked."

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 22:  Ric Flair (R) attends Univision's 30th Edition Of "Premio Lo Nuestro A La Musica Latina" at American Airlines Arena on February 22, 2018 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
Ric Flair and Wendy Barlow. Source: Bang Showbiz


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Thousands march through central Auckland celebrating Māori language week

Hīkoia te Kōrero was about celebrating and promoting the Māori language to all New Zealanders. Source: 1 NEWS

E hia mano tāngata i takahi i ngā ara o te pokapū o Tāmaki Makaurau ki te whai I te kaupapa ‘Hīkoia te kōrero’.

He mea whakatū te kaupapa nei ki te whakanui, ki te whakatenatena hoki i te kōrerotia o te reo i tēnei te wiki o te reo Māori, me te aha, ka tū anō he huihuinga āpōpō ki Manukau,

Inā te huhua o ngā kura o te rohe me ngā rōpū hapori o rāngai kē i whai wāhi atu ki te hikoi,

Kua kī taurangi ngā kaiwhakahaere ka whai wāhi atu ngā waka kawe tāngata hei te tau titoki.
 

Thousands of people paraded through central Auckland today as part of Hīkoia te Kōrero.

The event was set up to celebrate and encourage Māori language during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, and it will be followed tomorrow with another event in Manukau.

Many schools from the Auckland region had a presence at the parade, as well as community groups from many sectors.

Organisers are promising that next year's event will incorporate vehicle floats as well.


Most read: Complaints made to Commerce Commission after Celebration Box's sweet startup gig turns sour online

This story was first published on Thursday September 13.

An image posted on Instagram by Iyia Liu, left, and a screenshot of Celebration Box products, pictured right.
An image posted on Instagram by Iyia Liu, left, and a screenshot of Celebration Box products, pictured right. Source: Iyia Liu/Instagram/Screenshots

Complaints have been made to the Commerce Commission about Auckland company Celebration Box after numerous customers said their orders were lost, late, or not as described - and that they were blocked after making complaints online.

Celebration Box, co-owned by Iyia Liu and Briar Howard, sells customised boxes of confectionery and desserts which are delivered to customers on a certain date, with prices ranging from $39.95 up to $139.95 for a box.

The company is facing an online backlash after a surge in orders over the Father's Day period left them apparently struggling to meet demand.

Screenshots of a complaint made about the quality of a Celebration Box.
Screenshots of a complaint made about the quality of a Celebration Box. Source: Supplied

Jade Schutte posted about Celebration Box on Facebook on Friday, collating complaints from people who said they had a negative experience with the company.

"So many of my friends are out of pocket, they can block as many people as they like, hide all their reviews and delete all the comments thinking that it will cover this all up but I’ll make sure the word gets out," Ms Schutte wrote.

She told 1 NEWS that many of her friends had been affected, and that after she posted about Celebration Box, others came forward to share similar stories.

"I then realised the extent of how many people had actually been ripped off and blocked and it really upset me ... like, these people paid with their hard-earned money, and most of these boxes were gifts for other people," Ms Schutte said.

"To then be blocked when complaining about their orders not showing up or receiving no refund - it just didn't sit right with me."

In complaints seen by 1 NEWS, customers said their Celebration Box arrived late and completely missed the occasion they were purchased for - especially around Father's Day.

A handful of the complaints made online about Celebration Box.
A handful of the complaints made online about Celebration Box. Source: Screenshots/Supplied

Some people said they were blocked by Celebration Box after complaining, and comments made by the company seen by 1 NEWS suggest they have blocked people for "writing rude irrelevant posts".

Other complaints revolved around the quality of the product itself, with some saying the food was in poor condition or that their box was not as described when it arrived.

A Commerce Commission spokesperson confirmed an undisclosed number of complaints have been received about the company and declined to make further comment.

CO-OWNER PLEADS FOR EMPATHY - WHILE SUNBATHING IN BALI

In an Instagram post made on Tuesday from Bali's exclusive OMNIA beach bar, Ms Liu responded to some of the criticism, saying "people don't realise the complexities of a rapidly scaling start up business.

A post made by Iyia Liu on her Instagram page responding to complaints about her Celebration Box business.
A post made by Iyia Liu on her Instagram page responding to complaints about her Celebration Box business. Source: Screenshot/1 NEWS composite

"In the past six weeks we have had to scramble to find staff, we've run out of space to operate meaning we had to find a warehouse, we kept running out of supplies of EVERYTHING and we would call around Auckland or NZ trying to find them but often we had bought all the stock they had, meaning we had to substitute," she wrote.

"On our busy days we had to shift our entire team to dispatch, meaning other parts of the business weren't able to operate ... our entire team being new also meant everyone is still training and learning processes.

"It's been so easy for so many people to criticise without being able to stand in our shoes or have empathy."

Ms Liu has been behind a string of brands in recent years, selling products marketed heavily through social media, including Waist Trainer, Luxe Fitness and Bambi Boutique.

Iyia Liu has sold two businesses for millions, but says she learnt the most from a business that failed. Source: Seven Sharp

In 2016, she paid Kylie Jenner almost NZ$300,000 to post a picture of herself wearing a Waist Trainer, leading to a surge of revenue and profit, and she has since sold Luxe Fitness and Waist Trainer for millions, she told Seven Sharp earlier this year.

She is in the process of having a house built near Auckland, and recently purchased a V8 2012 Mercedes-Benz G-class SUV.

"We've only had the best intentions, we have tried to right every wrong and are still trying to," Ms Liu wrote on Instagram.

"Give our little team who is still learning some time to fix every problem, because we're all still learning and all trying to do our best.

"Of course we wanted it to be perfect but the business grew so quickly, which is the point of this post," Ms Liu wrote.

"It's not an excuse, it's an explanation and reason, we have refunded anyone who has emailed in who is unhappy."

'WE ARE SINCERELY SORRY'

Co-owner Briar Howard told 1 NEWS that they "acknowledge that not all our customers have had the experience they were expecting", and said they are looking at ways to limit the number of orders they receive to manageable levels.

Ms Howard said orders over the Father's Day period were 35 per cent higher than in a typical week, and admitted that "some orders were not to our standard which is something we regrettably consider could have been avoided.

"Father's Day was a big learning experience for us ... we had an unprecedented amount of orders, but we worked extremely hard and quickly hired staff to ensure we could meet the demand."

Ms Howard confirmed Celebration Box had hidden or deleted negative comments made on their social media accounts.

"In the initial stages of the negative feedback, a couple of comments were deleted from the page as we had spoken directly to the people involved and it had reached spam levels on our pages ... we acknowledge this was done in error, and we no longer delete or hide any comments," Ms Howard said.

Only users who were deemed to be abusive were blocked, she said, as "a number of the comments we were receiving were personal attacks directed towards us and our staff members – including a number of death threats which were reported to the police".

Ms Howard said they had made the decision to disable the review feature on their Facebook page due to negative feedback.

"We do think customers should be able to share their positive ratings with us on Facebook, however, it was our preference to deactivate this as there is no control within Facebook over illegitimate reviews.

"We do believe only customers should be able to review their experience with us, however, we will keep this decision open for regular review by our team," Ms Howard said.

"We have remedied the issues of those who have contacted us directly following our standard process ... refunds or replacements are our means of fixing issues and we have taken extra consideration for customers during the Father’s Day period as we acknowledge we made mistakes.

"We have apologised on our Instagram stories – upon reflection, this possibly wasn't the best platform as it isn't permanent.

"We are sincerely sorry to all customers who haven't had the experience they expected with us, and we accept full responsibility for this.

"The only other thing we'd like to say is, we have had a huge number of happy customers however we want to make sure all our customers are happy customers."