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RAUCOUS ENTERTAINMENT WITH A PURPOSE

Print Version

NZ Fringe Festival 2013
PUT IT IN MY BLOWHOLE


at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
From 21 Feb 2013 to 24 Feb 2013

Reviewed by Lucy O'Connor, 22 Feb 2013


Written and directed by Alwyn Dale and Becca Barnes, this ocean comedy/drama manages to incorporate so many elements. There are laughs, there is drama and, best of all, we learn exactly what happens when mermaid and a human man create a ... WHAT exactly?! 

We are welcomed with a cascade of witty ocean puns that have us cringing and crying with laughter. At least the perpetrators of these puns are aware – Vi (Emma Smith) seems particularly worried that her child may grow up allergic to them.

As with any relationship, Vi and Hamish (Stevie McCleary) must make sacrifices, especially where spawn involved. A leg surgery by vet, stealing a dolphin and getting a Land Visa are just a few of the processes involved in making a life together for this determined couple.

What really impresses me is how versatile and committed the actors are to their roles. Glen Puklowski and Rachel Groot deserve particular mention for their work across several characters, each as quirky and entertaining as the next.

Emma Smith as Vi has never ending enthusiasm not to mention a perfected tail flutter and mermaid laugh. I love the incorporation of well-known Wellington locations. Seatoun is mentioned (another pun?); Newtown, which is “full of hybrids”, and the Splash Club where it turns out that an actual mermaid will not be employed.

The set design and layout is perfectly basic. Special credit to the efficient set hands who are flawless with their quick changes. The slight muck up with the medical curtain adds more than it detracts so not to worry! Hawaiian ocean themed music accompanies the change of set allowing us to cruise right into the next scene.

The idea of how to incorporate a live baby is genius with a life sized man who has a stuffed baby suit around his neck (Hugh David Philip) and moves as his parents ‘carry' him. The baby/merchild cry has me in fits.

Put it in my Blowhole cleverly parallels historical struggles for inter-racial acceptance in the most comical way I have ever seen. It is O-fish-ally the best Mermaid production since Splash. To ‘let people be who they are' is a wonderful way to sum up what we are to take from the production – aside from an hour of raucous entertainment.
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