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May 5, 2008 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Cohen Holloway’s Hypnotastic Tour 2008 & Like Someone in Love: The Life and Death of Chet Baker

It’s nights like April 29 which really remind you why it’s sweet as being a theatre critic. Cigarettes, gossip, theatre, drinks; then more drinks, more theatre and finally, jazz.

My night started at Bats with Hypnotastic, a racy new production for the International Comedy Festival produced by Out Of Bounds, the same team of agile actors who last year brought us FootBallistic. Host Cohen Holloway (who I believe was played by himself) probed the bizarre depths of the subconscious in show masquerading as a hypnosis act. ‘Audience members’ were called up onto the stage and sent into the land of hypnosia, where all manner of strange and wonderful things lurked.

The show was woven through with pop-culture references which really kept me laughing. At one point, gremlins skitter about the stage attacking a guy, while in another moment we saw a life-size transformer materialise before our eyes. Way cool. David Bowie’s cock, however, was less cool and more… floppy…but still entertaining. Where the show really stood out was its incredible props work, which involved what must have been a truly monumentous effort for all involved. While the choreography may not have been faultless, the show was surely a pleaser.

Over the road at Blondini’s later that night, David Goldthorpe’s solo act about Chet Baker, Like Someone In Love, is seeing a return season after last years Fringe Festival – and deservedly so. With smooth jazz sounds and a crystal chandelier hanging above us, this show does for theatre what velvet does for underpants; and if you haven’t tried velvet underwear, I suggest you do so soon.

In seriousness, the show’s low-key set design was nicely matched by Marcus McShane’s lighting plot, creating a hazy, ambient mood which gave the play a nice, slightly surreal, sensibility, as though we were watching a memory or a ghost. Goldethorpe looks great on stage, his characterisation is engaging and his trumpet playing and vocals are formidable. The accompanying band, consisting of Tim Solly, Mostyn Cole and Richard Wise, add a touch of finesse to the finished product which makes for a superb production.

To summarise – Wellington’s theatre sector impresses yet again!

Cohen Holloway’s Hypnotastic Tour 2008
Written by Dean Hewison and Ben
Directed by Dean Hewison
At Bats
Apr 29 – May 3

Like Someone in Love: The Life and Death of
Chet Baker
Written and Performed by David
Directed and Developed by David Lawrence
At Blondini’s Jazz Lounge (Embassy Theatre)
Apr 29 – May 3


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