NZ Fringe Festival reviews x 3
Reviews for three neat shows in the Fringe Festival.
Seeing the city: a tasting menu by Ania and Kim Upstill, at 17 Tory street, final showing 19 February 2016
We are greeted at the door by Ania Upstill and invited to wash our hands. She directs us on to Pippiajna Tui who shows us to our seats and asks a few questions. A third woman, Kim Upstill, moves quietly around the space checking tables, showing us the programme which is also a menu.
The five scenes have a title, a description and a matched tasting plate. Delivering the food becomes part of the performance with all three women variously speaking, moving or handing around plates. Kim has precise dance movements which are best in scene 2 as she constructs little food towers. Pippiajna is lovely during scenes 4 and 5 as she shows her distress at the repeating movement around the tables then is stopped in order to announce scene 5. Likewise Ania is charming with repetitive movements in scene 4 then a stumbling return to the main table in scene 5. One of the delights of this piece is that the audience is free to make their own interpretations because it is all so open.
Kim also has an art installation at 17 Tory street which shows during the day.
Through rose coloured glasses written by Courtney Rose Brown, directed by Aimee Smith, on at Thistle Hall to 20 February 2016
Taylor spent a lot of time with Sam’s family when they were kids and they’ve been friends ever since. But after Taylor moved and Sam went to university their friendship has been strained to breaking point. Are the pacts they made when they were young still relevant to their lives now? Can they reconcile with each other when they’re not sure they can reconcile to themselves?
Written by Courtney Rose Brown (who also plays Sam) I think this show is a lot cleverer than the description in the Fringe programme credits it with. There is some horrifically funny dialogue about how university and relationships affect individuals. It has some smart things to say about PTSD and the difficulties of trusting other people (and oneself) again. The chronology of the play is all mixed up and Brown and Andrew Broadley (who plays Taylor) have a nice dynamic as they show the shifting relationship of the characters.
N.B. Content warning for discussion of mental health, suicide, abuse and alcoholism.
Why do I dream? By Sabrina D’Angelo, on at Gryphon Theatre to 20 February 2016
Sabrina D’Angelo is “a practitioner of Body Poetry, an eccentric and fairly non-existent art form that is best described as “non-verbal spoken word”, or “human-puppetry”. It borrows from the great traditions of mime, interpretive dance, mask, and ham.” From my point of view it is bizarre physical comedy where D’Angelo sometimes becomes her own puppet. Weird yet a heck of a lot of fun to watch.
For most of this show she is retelling the story of Madame Bovary. Balloons, plastic bags, gloves, and other props are used in interesting ways to become other characters (Or parts of other characters at least.) D’Angelo has amazing control over her body with the conclusion of the sad tale of Madame Bovary being a particular highlight for me.