May 29, 2016

Richter City Home season 2016: #1 Smash Malice vs Brutal Pageant

The first bout of the intraleague season for Richter City saw the two original home teams, Smash Malice and Brutal Pageant (Last year's winning team) face up against each other. A handful of new look uniforms, a bunch of new skaters, and an overhaul of the programme coupled with a short video clip as a basic introduction to Roller Derby among the changes since last year's home team season, along with the recent return of Ghetto Anger as MC. Whilst I wasn't a huge fan of the Ghetto Anger/Bullet Surprise MC combo of years past, having Ghetto Anger tag teaming with an experienced skater (Tuff Bikkies) hit the spot. Ghetto Anger's return wasn't the only throwback to the past experienced by long time fans of Richter City. 

Saturday's crowd felt the largest experienced in a long time at Kilbirnie Rec Centre, it never ceases to intrigue me that the home team season draws larger crowds than when we have visitors! The larger crowd meant the video clip was almost drowned in the hubbub, especially with no warning from the MCs that it was about to play and that if you were a new to derby to pay attention, and not helped by the lighting near the screen still being on at that point.  With the possible alternate location for the screen next time, and knowledge to turn the nearby lights out hopefully will make the video much clearer to watch next time.  Injuries saw Skanda Lass and Invader Sin on the Malice bench with Frodo, but Ella Kazam’s thumb dislocation at practise this week couldn’t keep her away, though I did spot a brace on underneath the wrist guard.  

The bout started with a good looking rainbow formation from Brutal Pageant that kept back Tu High long enough for Vicious Vegie to make lead, which was helped along by Tu High getting the first penalty of the game for a back block. Pageant made a quick start on the points with scoring each of the first four jams leaving Malice trailing behind on zero, until Tu High won the first Smash Malice lead of the bout in the fifth jam and putting a few points on the board, soon helped by a power jam by Volcanic Ash.  Very strong walls from both teams lead to more than a few jams resulting in it taking over a minute for a lead jammer to be declared, and a relatively neck and neck first quarter. The few nods to times past in the first half had not just Pageant's captain Ella Kazam jamming a couple of times, but saw a jam from fellow beauty queen Suffer Jet to end the half, it was good to see her with the star again, and with the pink jam ref pointing her as lead jammer, helping take the half time scores to 90 to 69, Pageant lead. Interestingly, it was a relatively clean half penalty wise, but it seems the majority of the penalties awarded were to jammers.

Ash was very much on fire with her jamming this bout, despite being caught in the box a few times, together with Tu High (though much steadier on her feet this year, managed to fit in 3 trips to the box in one jam) I wager they racked up most of the Malice points, with occasional help from Berocca Bomba, May Maim and captain Tino Turnher. A very fast jam partway through the second half had me impressed by and commiserating with Bailey's Comet as she boosted her already fast speed just on coming to pack with the Brutal Pageant jammer relatively close on her heels, but it took the refs nearly quarter of a lap to notice her calling the jam, likely enabling Pageant to earn some points that otherwise wouldn't have been awarded. Ash frequently stashed the jammer panty through the night, seemingly a strategy to get through the initial pass with as little interference from opposing blockers, in order to get scoring quicker, a move also adopted by Brutal Pageant a few times. The frequent panty stashes were coupled with strategically timed panty passes, and great adaptation to opposing team's strategies, showing a lot of cohesion within both teams so early in the season, even with some of the freshies a mere month or two post graduation. Melpractice and Helen of Destroy appear to have melded into the Malice blockers with such ease, with Deb Auchery occasionally filling in Pageant's jammer rotation of Tarenosaurus Wrex, Vicious Vegie, and Gael Force and previously mentioned Zam and Jet.

Through no lack of trying from Smash Malice, the bout ended with Brutal Pageant taking the win with a score of 168 to 130.

A sad announcement was made during the bout, former Richter skater Lethally Blonde is very ill at the moment, and throughout the venue were collection boxes for get well wishes and spare change to help assist Blondie's family with costs related to her hospitalisation. If you know Blondie or just wish to contribute, I'm sure the league would be happy to receive more messages and donations to forward to her family. Contact them direct through Facebook or Twitter to arrange.

Next bout is Brutal Pageant against Comic Slams on 2nd July. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for more information and tickets. In the meantime, Richter City are gearing up for another Freshmeat intake, and are hosting a Freshmeat and Greet this Wednesday 1st June at Hashigo Zake. Further details are here.  The Convicts are soon off to Adelaide, and I believe the tournament organisers are planning to streaming some of the tournament on YouTube, hopefully we can see some Convicts (or Whakatane!) bouts on there, see the TGSS website for the tournament schedule and don't forget to convert from Adelaide time!

May 19, 2016

Pedal and Castles

Castles is an award winning show and Pedal is it's prequel. Like with most things, the original is better.

It's not what I expect from a dance performance. You can see why this new genre is award worthy. This one woman show exhibits a triple threat - she can sing, dance and act. Perhaps that should be upgraded to quadruple as she's written, arranged and choreographed each show herself (or am I up to six levels of skill?).

The little music there is mostly comes from the performers mouth, there is an unexpected talent, and even more impressive that she continues while dancing or contorted in strange shapes. I don't recognise the lyrics, has she written them herself? The other text is like spoken word poetry. The dancing, less than I would have expected, is melded with the words.

My companion described Castles as 'an exorcism of popular culture.' Compared to Pedal it's comic, energetic and more accessible. There is less blank space. In a cold theatre, with a production that was difficult to follow, I found my mind wandering from Pedal.

Props to the costume-prop designer. Those creations were ever surprising.

Performances: 17 - 21 May 7pm*
Tickets: $20**

Performances: 18 - 21 May 7pm & 8pm*
Tickets: $20**

*I admit these seem confusing, check the Bats site for specific performance times and dates
**Special pricing for attending both shows

May 15, 2016

King Lear

Ah Shakespeare, how you have been wronged. We have such a sanitised view of your works. Thankfully Victorian sensibilities no longer reign, allowing Circa to include fist fights, guns and sex scenes in their production of King Lear. I'm glad I hadn't seen or read this play before so I could be surprised as things unfolded, though I admit to reading the programme which had a full outline. The storyline (sorry Shakespeare) was frankly ridiculous and I may have been lost without prior knowledge. You'd think the playwright felt some sort of joy in destroying his characters before sending them off the way he goes on.

Of course the average theatre goer has heard of Ray Henwood (if nothing else as the father of comedian Dai) and Circa audiences should know him very well from his one-man-show repeat season of A Christmas Carol. He takes the title role of the King, ranging from dignified gentleman, to mad man, to stricken father. The old man was showing his age but held nothing back. There were several other familiar faces but I didn't recognise the names,  a fact I feel a little guilty about.

The simple, adaptable set portrayed several houses as well as the barren outside. Sound effects of rain almost made it cold inside. The dry ice was always vaguely present but never enough to be noticeable about from the coughs it elicited.

As all Shakespeare is the play is very long, close to three hours. You'd be better to see it on a Tuesday or Wednesday when it starts earlier or even a matinee performance.

Performances: 14 May- 18 June (Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 6.30pm;Thursday – Saturday, 8pm
Sunday Matinees 4pm)
Tickets: $46

May 9, 2016

Green Team NZ Home Cleaning

He was very proud of his performance but I've had better. I gave him another go but I was equally disappointed. He took longer than others have and still didn't get the job done. He should have brought all his own props. Till I find someone better I'll either do without or manage it myself.

It's a bit like sex really.