DRAWN IN BY BEAMS OF DELIGHT
My Headís in a Whirl
presented by Interacting and A Supported Life
at TAPAC Theatre, Western Springs, Auckland
From 24 Feb 2011 to 26 Feb 2011
[1hr 20min, no interval]
Reviewed by Keziah Warner, 25 Feb 2011
When the WOW theatre company are asked to stage a Shakespeare play they just cannot decide which of the Bard's thirty-seven works they like best. Not wanting to miss out their favourite, they perform a triple-bill of Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Twenty-three actors from Disability Arts Theatre Company, Interacting Theatre and A Supported Life present all three plays using a mix of contemporary language and Shakespeare's own text.
The original text is used most effectively in Macbeth, where Lady Macbeth's final speech before committing suicide is beautifully and poignantly delivered. Macbeth also provides the most atmospheric scene as white gauze is pulled across the stage and a mass of pale-clad bodies writhe behind it to represent both the ghosts that haunt Macbeth and his queen and the evil spirits invoked by the witches. The weird sisters – all-male and cloaked – are also genuinely creepy with their evil cackles and hidden faces.
It is perhaps, however, the more comedic and modern elements of this piece that allow it to really shine. In Verona, the Montagues and Capulets party along to the Bee Gees' ‘Stayin' Alive', complete with dance routine.
For A Midsummer Night's Dream we are transported not to a magical forest but just over the road to a music festival in Western Springs Park where the fairies cast their spell along to the Spice Girls' ‘Viva Forever'. And, as at any festival, all the characters are lost within the first five minutes.
The modernity allows the actors to show off their wicked sense of humour – Romeo and Juliet's balcony scene contains the immortal line, “Oh Juliet, you look so pretty in that nightie.” And Demetrius makes use of a classic brush-off for the lovesick Helena as she chases him through the night: “It's nothing personal, I just don't want a girlfriend right now.”
These aspects also present the company's thorough understanding of the text and the frustrations it presents to a modern-day audience. The inevitable fate of Romeo and Juliet causes particular consternation from their contemporary viewpoint.
This performance will show you Shakespeare in all its aspects: comedic, tragic, traditional and yet timeless. But the real joy of watching Interacting Theatre is the complete delight of every single performer – it beams from the stage and can't help but draw you in.
This review kindly supported by The James Wallace Arts Trust http://www.wallaceartstrust.org.nz/
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