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March 5, 2007 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Volcanoes are Awesome

Directed by Heleyni Pratley
Southern Cross Tavern
February 19 – 22

Volcanoes are Awesome mixed cringe-worthy newspaper costumes with sharp, surreal dialogue. For me, it was an awkward mixture of laughs, gasps and the occasional racist jibe. The story covers the hard-to-follow journey of Jaz, a retarded audience member, who somehow survives the multiple beatings dished out to him throughout the show, by the arsehole cult leader – cat god emissary, volcano deweller – seemingly ending up as the hero?

Aptly cast from a tight-knit group young actors, there was no “lead” actor as such, more a collection of interweaving actors and storylines, partially making sense at the play’s conclusion. Mixing stories and (possibly true) facts of historical New Zealand volcanoes and eruptions, Volcanoes manages to poke fun at Christianity, God, and cult leaders, as well as established civil defence eruption procedure.

I’d be curious to see if this play is transposed into radio, as the top notch sound and sharp dialogue would transfer quite well into that medium, the only thing that wouldn’t work would be the visuals, which were reliably fantastic. A collaboration with the VBC maybe in the near future? I’d hope so.

Anyway, the venue sucked. In a good way though. Held on the night of the big NZ/AUS cricket game with the audience baying coming in straight through wall, the whole affair came off a lot more “real”. There’s nothing like drunken punters to give the fracas some sort of inverse authenticity.

Word on the street is a return season is coming up in the next little while. The first season sold out before the first show. Don’t be the munter who doesn’t go for the second. I’m going.


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  1. Noddy says:

    I find it interesing to find that one of our VUWSA exec. is writting a report on a play that was directed by a VUSWA VP where there, was no “lead” actor as such, more a collection of interweaving actors which appears to be their way of dealing with the authority power they have been given, as both of them hide from the light and bitch and moan about other VUWSA exec. without taking a look in a mirror to discover that the VUWSA exec that they are bad mouthing are actually doing their jobs and making a difference while they side step round the issue, do a half ass incompetent job and then complain when others bitch about them.

    Take a look in the mirror and realise that if you stood up and become the “lead” actor there would be no reason for others to bitch about you and you may even find to do the job you were paid to rather than standing around and bitching about other executives who are doing their job wonderfully.

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