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Print Version

Presented by Underwater Panic Productions

at Underworld 152 Vivian St, Wellington
From 18 Feb 2013 to 8 Mar 2013
[Every weeknight - 30 mins]

Reviewed by Lucy O'Connor, 20 Feb 2013

“We're ordinary people living ordinary lives/
We're lying to our husbands and cheating on our wives ...”  

All right, I'm in. Who can resist a bit of scandal to spice up your own life and – let's face it – make us feel a tad less troubled. After all, if that's what they're calling ordinary, imagine what else is going on.

The concept is a musical soap opera series performed live across three weeks (week days). The Days of the Bold and the Restless comes from playwright Rose Duxfield who came to the Fringe with Seductobot last festival. 

We are launched straight away into scandal number one when Gladys (Lyndsey Garner), engaged to Gary (James Barber) kisses Edna (Anna Miranda) – and so sets the scene of what will be an array of acting out and catching out.

Praise to the set designers who keep it very simple with such a small space. The stage direction at times feels over-crowded in the venue, especially when Florence (Caroline Wanden) has a fit over a kindergarten issue. I assume it is meant as a more awkward scene but the effect is missed as the actors struggled to feign disinterested interest. How ironic that this is in turn a bit awkward to digest for the audience.

There are some very out-of-place moments such as the audience's involvement with the raffle prize, which come from nowhere and add no depth to the episode.

The characters are cleverly intermingled. Florence is a nice break from the sweet characters we've met. Acted by Caroline Wanden, the enthusiasm given to the role is fantastic but I would suggest she remain focused on her ‘hard assed' demeanor when the audience is reacting.

I must mention Lady Cashmere's performance with Ethel. Her commitment and timing with a character that could easily be overlooked is remarkable and should be noted. The pianist, Bruno Shirley, is a fantastic talent and makes the performance with his fitting show tunes – a trend likely to continue across the series.

Having seen only episode 1 of 15, [on Monday] I must give it praise for what is bound to be a series of unexpected revelations. My only major complaint is how extremely short the piece is. The storyline feels – excuse my informality – vomited out in scandalous increments and overall very rushed like the actors have somewhere better to be.

With so many things going on and so many episodes ahead, you would think that the director would take her time to capture and lull the audience straight to episode 2. It feels as soon as I got my head around everything, the show ends and for that reason, I am not compelled to get to the bottom of it all. I feel I've had enough scandal in 20 minutes to last me the three weeks. 
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