July 7, 2019

The Aliens

“Where are the aliens?”

“In the basement!” laughs the receptionist at Te Whaea, Hutchison Road, Newtown, Wellington.

The Basement is an appropriate venue for this play. Concrete and steel surrounds a sparse set, befitting of this play which makes no effort to soften it’s story.

Jasper (Jonny Potts) and KJ (Jack Sergent-Shadbolt) sit at a rough table out the back of a café. They have been musicians, perhaps they are geniuses. They certainly think a lot, but circumstances mean they have had little formal education, and they seem trapped in their world.

Young Evan (Dryw McArthur) comes across them as he is putting out the café rubbish bags. He doesn’t know what to make of them. Jasper and KJ see their role to enlighten Evan in their view of the world.

Cassandra Tse directs the trio through an intense 100 minutes. Her production is consistent. The ‘thrown together’ nature of the venue (including hired rostrum holding upright seats), the minimalist set, even the rumble of Toi Whakaari students coming and going above our heads all seem to contribute to the atmosphere. The audience is drawn into the story Jasper and KJ bring to us. What will the effect be on the innocent and naive Evan? I recommend you go along to find out. If this sounds like your sort of play, then you won’t be disappointed. (.. and remember to take some cash for the bar!)

The Aliens by Annie Baker at Te Whaea, July 2019

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