February 24, 2015

Fringe: Real Fake White Dirt

The new Bats Theatre is more beautiful than I had expected from its old bones. The downstairs theatre looks pretty much as I remember though. My first visit back there was to see Jess Holly Bates in a one woman show illustrating her particular perspective on what it means to be white in New Zealand while desperately trying to feel some connection with the land, a sense of culture and dealing with post colonial guilt. As a white girl with a sprinkling of Maori blood I related to a lot of what she was saying, I recognised characters, real kiwi situations.

The actress and writer, Jess, was phenomenal. I was struck by the poetry of her turn of phrase then it turns out that it has actually been compressed into book available for sale after each performance. It was interesting to note that the only time you saw the slightest sign of a stumble was when she was being herself. Why is such a talented woman shy? She may be white, sorry, pakeha, but she can sing a hell of a karanga.

Written and Performed by Jess Holly Bates
Tickets: $18
Performances: 8:30pm 26 February - 1 March
Venue: Bats Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace

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