SIMPLE, CHARMING ENTERTAINMENT
by Richard Huber
Directed by Richard Huber and Erica Newlands
at Globe Theatre, Dunedin
From 6 Dec 2012 to 16 Dec 2012
Reviewed by Barbara Frame, 7 Dec 2012
originally published in Otago Daily Times
In the centre of the stage there's a sofa, and on the sofa sit Angie and James. Angie's a barefoot, runaway bride and Luke's a policeman. They spend most of the hour-long play on the sofa, in a series of short scenes during which they chat, flirt, snooze and bicker.
Written by Richard Huber, and directed by Huber and Erica Newlands, Songbird has little in the way of a plot. But what it does have is charm.
The characters are exquisite. Fugitive Angie is complicated: she's smart, snippy and opinionated, given to illogical assertions and especially fond of the adjective "transcendent." James is a more everyday New Zealander, sensible and with a talent for rational explanation. Actors Kate Han and Luke Agnew work well together, her effervescence neatly complemented by his patient, friendly solidity.
The dialogue is another reason to go to this play. In a programme note, author Huber says "Everyone has some favourite things. I wanted to write a play about some of mine. I hope you enjoy it." Huber's favourite things include, inevitably, The Sound of Music. Peter Jackson's movies, Jane Austen and mountains also feature prominently. The' dialogue is usually inconsequential and often (intentionally) clichéd, with much jumping to ridiculous conclusions, and circular, always returning to increasingly jumbled versions of Richard Huber's favourite things.
Gently but thoroughly entertaining, Songbird is an unusual and endearing pre-Christmas treat. And it isn't over when it's over – after the show audience members are invited to a ‘wedding reception'. The production will run until December 16.
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