Review: Blonde Mountain Wolf Man
Craig Geenty comes from a large and extended family. They’re gregarious. They like a bit of a drink. They’ve been whispering about a family secret for years. Great-grandfather Joseph is still officially missing after disappearing on his way back home after making a delivery in town in 1921. Did he crash? Did he run away? Was he murdered?
Geenty, wearing a check shirt, tights, and a cap with ear flaps welcomes us at the door and invites us to join him in a beer tasting. It’s the first indication of how multiple levels of connection are woven through the show. Each of the renamed four beers* serve as a new chapter in the story of how his grandparents (plus great-great and great) met. He reflects on his own personality and links it back to similar experiences his ancestors went through. It’s part storytelling, part melodramatic mime, part genealogical exploration – with dancing. There are a lot of names and timeframes to keep track of so plant pots are used to stand in for people. Lighting helps to define different timelines.
The main focus is the missing person mystery. It’s an interesting thing to be part of an audience where the performer is describing contradictory stories about individuals and there are other related individuals in the audience with you. Around the laughter and beer tasting, Geenty asks questions of masculinity, drinking culture in isolated New Zealand rural areas, and how family secrets and choices echo through the generations. Very good.
* From Heyday Beer Co., 264 Cuba Street.