TOPICAL, TIGHT WITH SLEEK PRESENTATION
LIVE AT SIX
By Dean Hewison and Leon Wadham
Directed by Tim Spite
Presented by Out Of Bounds and SHOW PONY
by arrangement with Playmarket New Zealand
at Downstage - return season, Wellington
From 5 Sep 2013 to 21 Sep 2013
Reviewed by Laurie Atkinson, 10 Sep 2013
originally published in The Dominion Post
The late Sir David Frost once said that television enables you to be entertained in your home by people you wouldn't have in your home. You certainly wouldn't invite the Machiavellian lot presenting the news at TV1 News and 3News as depicted in Live at Six.
This interactive satirical comedy has come a long way since its first production at Bats in 2009. The script is topical and tighter and the sleek presentation is impressively high tech (Johann Nortje).
The audience is invited to contribute too in the making of the news item even before the play starts. We can post videos, tweets, and photos of an event in the bar that becomes the major news item of the night as the two newsrooms battle it out to get their version of the truth.
These amateur videos can be integrated into the show by each channel's geek (Eli Kent, Barnaby Frederic) who beavers away at a computer at the side of the stage. We can talk about the events on Facebook, Twitter and Vine during the show but we are asked to keep our phones on silent.
On the other hand you can ignore all this and simply watch what happens when TV 1News' Jane Kenyon (Jessica Robinson), the award-winning- news-reader-mother-of-the-nation, is shown on Facebook off her face at a media award ceremony, and 3 News has got hold of it.
TV 1 goes into damage control, while TV3 relishes the schadenfreude and digs away for more dirt, after all “It's only news. It's not real.” Personal relationships at work and home are sacrificed for the sake of the best angle and any sense of morality at any point is quickly suppressed.
The cynicism displayed is tempered by some very funny sequences (a mock news story created by one of the geeks) and some delicious comedy from Tim Spite as a pompous TV3 news reader swatting flies with a magazine with himself on the cover and when he rehearses his meaningful nods for the camera.
A polished and entertaining satire.
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See also reviews by:
James Wenley (TheatreScenes: The Auckland Theatre Blog);
Paul Simei-Barton (New Zealand Herald);