November 30, 2014

Richter City vs Bay City Rollers

The last home game of the season had our Richter All Stars up against BCR’s Iron Maidens, from Napier.

The Roller Derby World Cup is just a few short days away (Team NZ’s first bout is 4am December 5th our time), the All Stars were down a few of their regular players. Anna Pave-U'Ova, Beatrix Skiddo and Jem Molition were already on their way to Auckland to meet with the rest of Team NZ prior to flying out Monday.  If you happen to be in the area with some time up your sleeve, join a gathering of fans and skaters to farewell them, from 4.30pm at Auckland International Airport.

Following the kerfuffle surrounding Meat Train that we alluded to last time, she was invited to skate for one of the two invitational international Vagine Regime teams that are scheduled to battle it out at the World Cup in an expo bout at the end of day two.  Meat Train was one of the founding members of the Vagine Regime Aotearoa team and has yet to depart for Dallas, Texas, so was able to be at the bout.

Solid performances from Burn Witch Burn and Gael Force throughout this year has earned them both a spot on the All Stars this time, as well as the first Wellington appearance this year for a post injury Princess Slayer.

Richter pulled out in an early and expected lead, with the BCR jammers (Krash Bambi Kute, Angel Rage, Kill Billy and Dee Capitator) struggling to get through the purple walls.  Penalties were flying thicker and faster than seen before at Kilbirnie Rec Centre. It was just seven jams in when the first player, BCR’s Kill Billy, was expelled from the bout for a high block against Bubble O’ Kill that was deemed reckless by the refs.

A jammer down, but not giving up hope, BCR managed to get their first lead jammer not long after. They took advantage of Princess Slayer, Richter’s jammer, being in the penalty box and gained lead jammer the following two jams, scoring some much needed points.  Other jammers Richter used in the first half were Volcanic Ash, Burn Witch Burn and Invisigirl.  The scores into half time was Richter City 194 to Bay City’s 45.

The second half seemed longer than usual, thanks to the skater penalties fast approaching the max of seven before fouling out of the game. Each jam felt like it was followed by an official time out, with the foul outs giving rise for some shuffling in line ups, and a chance for some to rest!  The first foul out of the bout was birthday girl Ella Kazam (Richter’s Co-captain), but closely followed by Evenger (BCR’s captain), Porterhouse Skate (BCR) and Princess Slayer all before we had seen ten jams in the second half.  Soon after Wanda Bash (BCR) and J’Knee Dodgem (RCRD) also fouled out before in a kind of turnabout from the first half, Bubble O Kill was expelled for a dangerous low block. The foul outs continued seeing Richter’s Tino TurnHer and BCR’s Reigning Chaos and Angel Rage skate off to spectate the final few minutes.

All the foul outs and the two expulsions meant that what had been 22 skaters rolling out at the beginning was reduced to just 11 in the final moments.  The final jam started with BCR giving it their all with just four skaters left in the game, only to see Burn Witch Burn gain lead jammer and end the final score at 331 v 104 to Richter City.

Bay City Rollers’ skater Krash Bambi Kute was great to watch at several points during the game, and was my pick for MVP.  Special mention to Angel Rage for looking like she was having the time of her life at several times during the night.

November 22, 2014

The Tempest

William, you've been 'punked.

A darkened stage; thunder, lightening and the spidery projection of a clockwork airship hurtles towards the audience. Monocles are dislodged, corsets frayed and bustles are skewed as the ship is wrecked upon the shore of a strange, steam powered island.

This is no Jules Verne novel, but the beginning of director Benjamin Haddock's steampunked version of William Shakespeare's The Tempest, currently showing at Gryphon theatre.

While it may seem to be a unusual intepretation of the great classic, the bare cogged and brass boned mechanics of this sub-genre of science fiction are a successful substitution for the magical manipulations in the original and visually emphasise the play's major theme of theatrical illusion. The neo-victorian/futurist props and costuming in particular are a highlight; the result of a collaboration between Haddock, Karl Arndt (Production Manager), and his local steampunk consultants who have based each character's outfit on a streampunk alter ego. Posters outlining this process are available for perusal in the theatre.

The play itself remains true to the original tale of ship wreck, betrayal, manipulation and redemption, though with some notable gender shifts; Alida Steemson gives a convincing performance as the magician /puppeteer Prospera (originally Prospero), the wronged Duchess of Milan, betrayed by her sister and banished to the island 12 years prior with her young daughter Miranda.

Prospera is a magician in the manipulative sense, not a witch, but a mechanically minded genius who manipulates her machinery to create a storm to bring her enemies together, engineering a series of often hilarious events with the ultimate aim of marrying her daughter to Prince Ferdinand and restoring her to her rightful highborn place. Prospera is aided by two servants, a gentle automaton named Ariel (in the original an airy spirit) and by Caliban, a snarling disfigured creature. Ariel's costuming is worth a mention, with interactive elements that include flashing lights and a removable key.

Miranda and Ferdinand (Amelia Noble and James Bayliss) are perfectly and humorously portrayed as the innocents of the plot, naive, posturing adolescents in love, and infinitely dorkable. Comic relief is provided by the drunken Stephano and Trinculo (Andrew Goddard and Allan Burne), who had the audience in stitches with their carry-on bafoonery.

The combination of confident performances and elaborate costuming have created a visually dynamic and entertaining work, though a dash more emphasis on the darkside of human nature would not have gone amiss. All in all a great show that will translate well to any audience.

The Tempest will be showing from Wednesday, 19 November - Saturday, 29 November at Gryphon Theatre , 22 Ghuznee St, Te Aro, Wellington
Get your tickets here

November 17, 2014

Boulcott Preservation Society Garden Tour

In times of adversity it's great to see a community come together with a common goal. That goal for the Boulcott community is to limit the building of a retirement building on land which once belonged to the golf club. Although promises were made that Sommerset would consult with locals the current plans up for approval are much larger than originally proposed. Desperate to reduce congestion in an area with narrow roads which already bear traffic from a primary school, a golf club and the hospital; ensure the area is not disrupted by loud and protracted building; as well as unsightly building of a towering four storey block in people's single storey back yards the Boulcott Preservation Society was formed.

The first fundraising event was the Garden Tour held Sunday 16 November. It was a success with 700 tickets sold and a substantial amount raised to support any future legal battles. Signs have been popping up all over the neighbourhood with slogans such as; "They call it consulting; we call it insulting."

Crowds thronged the streets of the Boulcott community on the boiling day to see a diverse range of gardens, from modern to classic, small to surprisingly expansive. Of particular interest was the students garden at Boulcott Primary School. Pride in their own properties as well as pride in the community was shown by all involved. I do hope that this will be an annual event, whatever the outcome of the current issues.

You can read more about the Society on their Facebook page