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March 9, 2009 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Uther’s Review of the Fringe Festival

Like a zombie apocalypse, the Fringe Festival overran Wellington from 6 February to 1 March. Dead-eyed artisans stumbled through the streets forcing flyers for their show into any passing person’s clammy paws and sometimes gnawing on that same person’s head for sustenance.

All in all, I saw 21 shows in the Fringe. Full reviews of all of those shows are up at my blog and should be up on the Salient site soon. And with one very notable exception (see last week’s Salient), I had a great time. I also had opinions. So…

Colony! and GRIMM. While the talent was obvious, the shows themselves didn’t seem ready to leave the rehearsal room. 7.5/10 for Colony! 6/10 for GRIMM

The Skyrocketeers of Justice vs. The Zombie Apocalypse more than made up for its lack of zombies with a mountain of hilarity. 9/10

Buddha Boy was preachy and uniformed middle class faff. A good cast wasted on a dull script. 6.5/10

A Mime to Kill was, while overly auto-didactic, an interesting exploration of a much maligned theatrical form. 8.5/10

Boomerang Lean and the She-devil from Outer Space had, inexplicably, someone in a cow costume doing the scene changes. Anti-corporate supernatural fun you can dance to. 9/10

The Intricate Art of Actually Caring was really good but not the second coming as it was heralded by some. Great direction and design mask a slightly bloated script. 9.5/10

Drowning Bird, Plummeting Fish is theatre so brilliant it’s important. A work about our growing apathy that refuses to succumb to it itself. Almost perfect. 10/10

Lies and Other Stories Before Bed had great multimedia and live music. Forgot to have a plot. 7/10

POLY-ZYGOTIC was charming, if seemingly stretched to fill the hour. 8/10

Words Apart got by on the sheer charm and energy of its actors. 7/10

The Piradicals was a play about gender politics that didn’t want to discuss gender politics. Felt like the third act to a really great full length work. The actors were fun to be with even if they were almost always shouting. 7.5/10

Suitcase was an incoherent, portentous, shallow mess making painful and tokenistic generalisations about what it is to live in New Zealand. 5/10

The Minister’s Son was a brilliant personal story that needed to give itself time to breathe. 9/10

Once Upon a Time in Aro Valley was worse than incest. 0/10

Keep It Rural needed to stop judging its characters so harshly and be happy with its own sense of humour. 8/10

Who’s Poppin’? was all kinds of wonderful, mixing body popping with comic monologue to retell the history of hip hop in Wellington in a very personal way. 9/10

A Most Outrageous Humbug was very good. Poe would be proud. 8.5/10

Post-Gay was what it was. Slight and not nearly as shocking as it wished it was. 6.5/10

Wolf’s Lair had an immaculate performance and stunning directing but ended too abruptly. Felt unfinished. 9/10

The Rodwell Monologues: it’s great to see Sally Rodwell’s writing live such a vibrant life beyond her tragic death. 9/10


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.

Comments (4)

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  1. Stephanie Cairns says:

    Cheeers Uther!

  2. Ivy says:

    I saw Drowning Bird, Plummiting Fish, and greatly disagree with your assessment.
    The show was effectively the first 5 minutes of three or four different shows, presenting intriguing ideas so briefly as to strip them all of meaning. The work has nothing to do with apathy, apart from a complete apathy for continuity and coherence in theatre.

    Fortunately, and this is what saves it from an oblivion of hyperactivity, a couple of the snippets of ideas we were shown were compelling and dynamic. It would have served the devisors of this production much better if these ideas were explored further, rather than merely moving on to the next concept like moths. Purpose was voided in the search for something new to amuse for a few moments. That’s a sad indictment on this “avante-guarde” style of theatre. 4/10

  3. Simon says:

    I disagree with Ivy

  4. Uther Dean says:

    I agree with Simon.

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