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March 1, 2010 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

A Love Tail


A cat. A dog. Two cells. Some love. And a bomb. That’s all you need to know of the plot of A Love Tail. It seems wrong to call it deceptively simple, although it is. We may just have to settle on delicate and fully formed.

Jezebel Black (Aroha White) is a cat and knows how to make bombs. When she is imprisoned next to Rob (Matariki Whatarau), a dog, together they begin to plan their bomb-based escape. Unknowing of each other’s species, a connection that may or may not be love slowly grows between them.

A Love Tail is not happy with simplistic metaphors, men as dogs, women as cats, and very deftly and quickly turns deeper questions of connection, communication and how our impressions of one another are formed. A Love Tail is smarter than it looks.

The cast perform admirably, each breathing distinct and relatable life into their pet-based characters. They find a perfect pitch of evoking their animals without ever having to really spell it out. A Love Tail trusts its audience. Kate McGill’s direction demonstrates a clear understanding of how to let a story tell itself without being shrunken or distended to fit a running time.

The shows sense of humour is marvellously pitched, never allowed to undercut the ideas under discussion. There are also several musical interludes, which, while performed with aplomb and skill by the performers, feel somewhat like secondary distractions from the rest of the show.

Ian Hammond and Richard Larsen’s set is a delightfully evolving beast, finding just the right niche of abstraction to demonstrate the characters’ situation and plans. Thomas Press’ lights and sound are, as always, really good.

Though, to my taste, it gives a little bit too much away at the end, A Love Tail is smart to not answer its own questions, leaving them up to the audience. Love can sometimes just be being locked up together.


A Love Tail
Devised by Matariki Whatarau, Aroha White and Kate McGill
Directed by Kate McGill
With Matariki Whatarau and Aroha White

23 Feb – 3 Mar 2010 / (04) 802 4175

Part of the 2010 Fringe Festival (


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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