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February 18, 2009 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Colony! and GRIMM


Devised by the Cast
Directed by Willem Wassenaar
Tutored by Sophie Roberts
with Jack Buchanan, Ally Garrett, Tai Berdinner-Blades, Imogen Zino, Hayden Frost and Sophie Hambleton


Devised by the Cast
Directed by Willem Wassenaar
Tutored by Sophie Roberts
with Bea Joblin, Ben Crawford, Stella Reid, Emerald Naulder, Zac Kerr, Jack Buchanan and Ali Lai-Carlyle

Wellington Performing Arts Centre
6 – 9 February 2009

In the 2009 Fringe Festival.

Long Cloud Theatre Company is slowly positioning itself as an alternative to Young and Hungry. Another program to fill the gap between high school theatre and professional theatre or university study. It is fertile soil in which these young actors are to frolick and grow their talent. And talented they are. Without exception, these are a gifted bunch. Though some work, especially with the GRIMM cast could be done to move from simply shouting at the audience to projecting their voices. Their audience’s ears would thank them for this. If this is a glimse into the future of Wellington and New Zealand theatre, it looks like we’re in safe hands. While it seems unfair to single cast members out for praise, both Hayden Frost and Jack Buchanan excel giving what are effectively professional level performances. I hope to see a lot more of them very soon.

Colony! is the story of a group of circus performers stuck on an island that may or may not be New Zealand while GRIMM tells the well worn tale of fairy tale characters becoming aware of their nature as fictional constructs and escaping to the real world. It was a questionable decision by their director supremely talented director Willem Wassenaar (Angels in America: Millenium Approaches, Jeff Koons) to have the casts devise their own shows. The two resulting works sit heavily with all the down falls of such a process. Both feel overlong and padded, Colony! especially which runs to 80 minutes while feeling like 120. Much of their run times are made by extended monologues by the characters – the kind of exercise that works well in a rehearsal room to build up a sense of depth within the character but really should be left in said rehearsal room. Spattered throughout both pieces are wonderful moments of character interaction but these are few and far between. Both pieces demonstrate an annoyingly juvenile need to shock their audience simply for its own sake – the best example of this being a scene in GRIMM in which two girls kiss while the rest of the cast scream and flip off the audience. They, at points, might have well have had signs with simply read ‘ARE YOU SHOCKED YET?!’

But, however weak the pieces themselves proved to be at points the talent within them is more than obvious. Lets just hope that their next work has a writer in the mix somewhere.


About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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