February 21, 2023

Sexy Golf Boy

Sexy Golf Boy is Fringe at its best; weird and wonderful. Saying too much may spoil the experience though each performance is partly improvised, the performer is highly attuned to the audience. If you take your eyes off them for a moment, you may miss out - they're suddenly doing something completely different.

The venue (a bar above Sweet Axe Throwing) is gorgeous and well worth a look, several fainting couches (chaise lounge) are calling for someone to drape themselves across them. The performance area is intimate, there is no way to escape being seen though you can decline the audience participation (don't though, I am terrified by it ordinarily but here everyone is in the same boat).

The show is unexpected, awkward (more for the audience) yet somehow also charming. It's best to go in having no idea what to expect. There was meant to be a message buried in there but it flew over my head, I had a good time regardless. This is something you won't see every day. 

Sometimes Fringe knocks it out of the park, this is one of those times.

Tickets: $20

Performances: 7pm 21-25 Feb

February 17, 2023

Nailed It - A builder play

 Nailed it! is not the delightfully screaming Nicole Byer of your badly baked dreams. It was promoted as "supporting women in the trades" but instead comes across as a warning to stay far away. This second offering from the appropriately named Awkward Company feels like students doing it for credit.

A building crew loses a member who is replaced with a *gasp* female apprentice while they are undergoing a Health and Safety review (due to the death being on site). A huge opportunity is missed, a female crew with perhaps a token male or a female crew acting like blokes would have been much funnier than this misogynistic childish bunch. They all needed to be called on their shit rather than the solitary female caving to be accepted.

The set was fine, as were the costumes, obviously someone has an "in" at BCITO. The safety gear fashion show was the one highlight. The actor playing bumbling Brick was believable and had such beautiful cheek bones he should really try drag. The others overacted, (yelling is not acting) with the exception of Donald who could have camped things up more. The script was made worse with bad timing. Perhaps they were attempting slapstick but none of the necessary elements were there for it to work.

Even builders wouldn't find this funny, they'd be embarrassed to learn this juvenile humour is how they are viewed. It was disappointing this show didn't deliver on its premise, on the other hand, at least it's mercifully short.

Tickets: $20

Performances: 17-19 Feb

February 11, 2023

Summer Shakespeare: The Tempest

Summer Shakespeare has been a Wellington tradition for 40 years, often performed outside despite our somewhat tempestuous weather (see what I did there?). This year's offering is The Tempest at their most popular location, the Dell in the Botanical Gardens.

This is one of Shakespeare's uncategorised plays, not really tragedy (no pile of dead bodies at curtain close) nor comedy (though a jester and drunken butler both make an appearance). Weird magical creatures appear who are somehow enslaved to a mere man, yet the plot makes more sense than Timon of Athens (a previous Summer Shakespeare choice). A man was usurped by his brother and plots revenge, causing a tempest to land his brother, amongst other nobles, on his island of exile. For Shakespeare the ending is soft - a title is regained but the brother walks free.

There's something fitting about watching a play set on an island in the outdoors. There may not be allocated seating but the audience is guided to appropriate locations ensuring everyone can see and aisles are maintained. Sound was variable, some performers were miked while others relied on the stage mics (which occasionally picked up movement). The water elements were handled well but it's a shame they show more colour than most of the costumes, a differentiation in colour or cut may have highlighted rank and made characters unique.

The production has swapped some genders and included a non-binary character (played by excellent non-binary performer Susan Williams who I've seen elsewhere carry an entire show) on a rotating cast list. (Other) Noteworthy performances include Anna Secker as the believably innocent Miranda and Charlie Potter who sang beautifully as Ariel. The alternate cast flit in the background of scenes, presumably presenting floaty nymphs, being more of a distraction than anything else. The ecological theme is only evident when shipwreck survivors are offered plastics that float in the sea and somehow misses that natures powerful spirits are subjugated to a man with a book and a grudge.

Tips: bring layers to wrap up as it gets chilly, bring a chair if your body no longer feels like it did when you were 20 (limited chairs are provided), you can picnic before and during the performance, give yourself plenty of time to find a park and walk to the Dell (it's behind the rose gardens).

Performances: 11-25 February (times vary)

Tickets: $29