Review: Te Radar’s Eating The Dog
Te Radar’s show Eating The Dog has the hypothesis that New Zealand’s history and national character have been shaped by all the crazy fools out there, having ill-fated adventures, making things that don’t quite work, and generally getting a bit carried away.
Eating The Dog is a slideshow at heart, but the selection of subjects and Te Radar’s enthusiastic delivery make it more than just a bunch of old photos. It’s like visiting a provincial museum and getting a guided tour from a fellow who shows you all the weird objects out the back and tells you all the good stories.
And I get the feeling that a show like this wouldn’t be possible without the excellent online collections available via the National Library. In fact, I’d love to see more interesting photos and stories from the archives presented in such an interesting way.
About halfway through the show, I was hit with a sudden realisation – there are no women in Te Radar’s stories. A few wives are mentioned, but all the main characters are men.
Te Radar did address this. He swears he looked for some interesting women’s stories to include in the show, but it turned out that all the people doing bloody stupid stuff in the olden days were men. Or, at least that’s how history records it.
But based on the wide range of bloody stupid contemporary handcrafts showcased on comedy website Regretsy, I suspect that looking back at the handcrafts of New Zealand’s pioneer women would reveal a comedy goldmine.
Te Radar has a genuine affection for the collection of rogues he’s gathered. While we’re laughing at their antics, it’s also laughing at ourselves – that dumb-arse "she’ll be right" Kiwi spirit that can get us into trouble as much as it leads to innovation.
And while the show features some blokes who are reasonably well known in New Zealand history, others will be new to audiences, but perhaps deserving of a bigger place in our collective memories.
- Te Radar’s Eating The Dog, Downstage theatre
29 June – 10 July