COMPLEX WEAVE OF DELIBERATE IRONY = UNBEATABLE HILARITY
On The Conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark taking me as her Young Lover
adapted from the scurrilous booklet by Richard Meros, by director Geoff Pinfield and performer Arthur Meek
at The Classic Basement (formerly Silo), Auckland
From 6 May 2008 to 10 May 2008
Reviewed by Kate Ward-Smythe, 7 May 2008
Taking on the role of Richard Meros, Arthur Meek barely pauses for breath, as he categorically persuades his enthusiastic and at times raucous opening night crowd, that on the conditions and possibilities of our Rt. Hon. HC taking him as her young lover, not only is he an expert on the subject and a man not to be messed with in a debate, he simply must be right.
Meros is well read, well educated and politically astute. His text is dotted with literary references, full of civil sting, wit and humour - the perfect vehicle for an actor of immense talent and confidence, such as Meek. This fresh-faced man's delivery is so flawless, convincing and passionate, that by the end of 60 minutes of solid reasoning and academic workout, it's hard to think of a good reason why Meros shouldn't be free to pursue his ultimate target market.
Tonight was an unusual evening at the theatre, even before the lecture got underway. It began with Meek and his mate serving free tea and scones in the foyer, (they are campaigning after all....) then took a surreal turn when I ended up sitting in front of Rodney Hide and next to Michael Hurst... the latter has played the former (in the feature film We'reHere To Help).
Rodney and his back-row posse proceeded to heckle loudly and at times threatened to drown out poor Meek. To be fair, others in the audience were also vocal for a while, before we all settled in, shut up and succumbed willingly to Meek's tour de force.
Meek / Meros' obsessive rant is not all about taking our "Uber Frau" Helen - although the hypothesis gives rise to unbeatable hilarity. It is also a complex weave of deliberate irony, giving a voice to his shrewd yet confused generation, their aspirations, their aims and their hope for a better future.
If you are looking for something more cerebral in the last week of the Comedy Festival, this is the one for you.
(*I'm told by a reliable source that Richard Meros is an anagram for his / her real name.)
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Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] (The Dominion Post);
Helen Sims (The Lumiere Reader);
Lynn Freeman (Captial Times);
Anna Chinn (New Zealand Listener);
John Smythe (2)