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September 22, 2008 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

On the Conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark Taking Me as Her Young Lover

From within the spectre of a looming election emerges On The Conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark Taking Me as Her Young Lover. The show, now its second run in Wellington, is a polished gem of political satire dedicated to that thought which has crossed most of our minds but which we normally would dare not say aloud – that unutterable topic of Helen Clark’s sex life.

The show builds on this question: what if Helen Clark were to take a young man as her lover? The question is, at the very least, disturbingly thought-provoking.

On the Conditions is presented as a lecture by “Richard Meros (BA)”, a fictitious character played by Arthur Meek*. Meros is convinced not only that our country’s beloved Prime Minister is in need of a young lover, but that it is he who best fits the bill. Using a dynamic Powerpoint presentation as a visual aid, he lays down his arguments over the course of the hour until you are convinced that Helen, and by extension the country, is sorely in need of a young lover.

Arthur Meek’s performance is what holds the show together. Sporting nerdy brown pants and a sweatervest, his polished and stimulating performance is ribticklingly fun. Meros has very impressive comic timing and his excellent performance was one of the main reasons for the loud choruses of laughter rocking through the Downstage auditorium on opening night.

This show is one that would be difficult not to enjoy, and if you enjoy stand-up comedy it is well worth getting along to see. It is artfully constructed and, in a wider context, impeccably timed, blowing fresh air over a political arena which has become stale and gloomy over recent weeks. By the time this review is published the show will probably be finished. But if by some chance it has been extended for an extra-long season, do go along because you will not be disappointed.

*Whether or not Meros is indeed fictitious is up for speculation. I’m starting to suspect he might actually exist. My opinion changes on an almost daily basis. Nobody really seems to know…


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