June 16, 2022

The Wedding Singer

The essentials are the same but The Wedding Singer musical is different from it's source material. Slight plot changes culminate in a hilarious Vegas scene as Robbie "collects" impersonators - perhaps something better handled on stage than on screen where it might have ruined the heart of the movie. That's what's missing in this show; heart. There are bad wigs, big musical numbers and awful accents, but no heart. 

A fundamental flaw in the concept is that the two main characters, Robbie and Julia, aren't flashy enough to carry a musical. You'll find the side characters are pumped up and any of them are more than capable of having their own show. In fact I'd pay good money to watch Linda's (Ashlee Hammerin) musical, she could carry four. Also of note was Romy Vuksan as Holly, Julia's cousin, when she was wasn't overacting but had a solo and a Madonna inspired outfit she was unmissable. Give Linda and Holly free rein and the show would be 100% better...though it should be noted that both characters were overly sexualised. The rapping grandmother (Susan-Ann Walker) deserves a mention, but only for that one song.

Christian Charisiou is much hotter than Adam Sandler but where Sandler's Robbie is innocent and charming, Charisiou's Robbie comes across as arrogant, obnoxious and, as George notes, in need of an anti-psychotic. Elise McCann's Julia Sullivan was irritating rather than innocent, skipping the wide eyed ingénue they were aiming for. There's an innocence to the leads in the movie that comes across as stupidity in this production. I couldn't care about them or their romance, though part way through the second half I almost felt it when they had a duet about the love they were hiding from each other.

The cast sings original songs rather than 80's classics so there are scarce chances to sing along, a huge disappointment. It was so over produced that I almost walked out after the first song. The second act opens with the most annoying genre convention of a very long pointless song.

The audience was older than expected, heavily 60+ rather than 40+ and often unmasked as masking was not a requirement of the venue (another reason to skip this one).

This is all cheese and cringe but no charm. If you loved the movie, don't see the musical.

Tickets: $79+

Performances: 10-19 June (Wellington, show then moves to Auckland)

June 15, 2022

Body of Work

Body of Work offers a range of services such as naturopathy, chiropractic, yoga and massage. It's located in central Lower Hutt and although they do not offer parking the War Memorial Library is a short walk away - if you aren't up for the short walk I suggest you try elsewhere as they are also up a flight of stairs. The premises and atmosphere are nice but the walls are thin.

Booking is easy to do online and, based on this, it appears they open for massage on Monday-Thursday and Saturday; with slightly longer hours on Monday and Thursday and an earlier closing on Wednesday and Saturday. The website lists a therapist who no longer works there and not all the links work, you need to look around to find the bios. They offer 10 trips for 30 or 60 minute massages saving you $50-100. There are four well qualified therapists to choose from, I was randomly allocated to Trina. 

My history wasn't really taken, which isn't a bad thing as it means more time on the table. A short form was included with the appointment confirmation though the therapist didn't mention this I assume she had accessed and read it. In response to the questions I was asked I indicated where I would like massaged and the pressure I preferred. So far, so good.

Unfortunately what comes next will, however I word it, sound like a list of complaints. The table was very high and I am not tall, getting on and off was difficult. The massage that followed could only be described as frustrating. Not all of the area I requested was treated though other areas were. Though I did ask for more pressure that only lasted for a short time. Some parts of treatment were good but no one wants to be constantly barking orders when you're meant to be relaxing. My goals were not met, areas were not fully or sufficiently treated, I walked away feeling as though I hadn't had a massage.

As a therapist it's important to keep in mind the power dynamics; clients often don't feel as if they can speak up, so ask for feedback and listen. If they seem uncertain striking up a conversation can help to ease them into answering your questions honestly. Watch for body language, do they tense or twitch? then pull back on your pressure. Adapt your table (or use a stool), draping, bolstering and treatment to your client. 

June 8, 2022

Presenting…The Tiwhas!

It's pride month, not that NZ tends to do it like the Americans - we scatter events throughout the year and regions. It's a time for supporting queer business and queer creatives. Should you feel the need to engage in pride, this is the event to do it. 

The Tiwhas (rhymes with divas) are exactly what it says on the packet; Māori drag queens. But they're so much more. There's the traditional lip syncs but most of the night is actual singing from the ladies and their back up singers, with choreography and a little, ok a lot, of attitude thrown in. It's an evening of poi, pukana and pop songs - heavy on the latter.

I ask you, is this what you expect your drag queens to look like?

No? Then you'll understand why the audience was raw from screaming by the end of the very first song when they appeared dressed as they are above. The screaming intensified as the performance progressed. I cannot express how much fun this was and also, in small doses, moving.

There are classic girl group hits, modern classics and a bit of te reo too. It's a beautiful mix of cultures representing who so many of us are; modern, Māori and queer.

Performances: 7-11 June, 7:30pm

Tickets: $35