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INTRIGUING, CHARISMATIC, FASCINATING, DISTURBING

Print Version

GO SOLO 2013 GROUP D
Directed by Anya Tate-Manning

at Te Whaea - SEEyD Space, 11 Hutchison Rd, Newtown, Wellington
From 3 Oct 2013 to 12 Oct 2013

Reviewed by Ben Blakely, 5 Oct 2013


Group D (or part two of night two) brings together four performances that couldn't be more different and shows very diverse methods of performance and storytelling. 

In The Factory, Frith Horan tells the story of Monochrome City in white-face. It is as colourful as the name suggests: a mechanical world of conveyor belts, routine, and rigidity. The inhabitants of this world both serve, and are themselves parts of, the machines that run the city.

Horan's work could be seen as a non-verbal duologue between herself and the projector. She plays the flesh and bone characters while the projector plays the role of the large and oppressive mechanical environment and the two work together well.

Horan neatly melds into the wall becoming part of the projection as she interacts with and responds to her projected environment as a selection of inhabitants of the city. The piece is very intriguing visually and enjoyable to watch. 

In the programme description for The Stanislaughatme Method, Rueben Butler suggests the inspiration for his performance is an exploration of vulnerability and audience interaction. It would make sense then that this exploration takes the form of a stand-up routine. There's a rather elongated musical intro before we get to the ‘warm up the audience' stage, with the obligatory and frequent checks in on how we are all doing before getting to the heart of his set: the tale of his rivalry with his older brother who is "built like a vending machine".

Butler as ‘Rueben the comedian' is naturally charismatic and charming, and wins the audience over almost immediately. He's certainly a lot more physical in his movements than your average stand up. But the routine itself is probably around average. This is of course comparing it to other stand-up comedians which one really can't avoid. But does one view it as simply a stand up set? Or is there more to it than that? If there is I fear that the audience really only sees one side of this coin. 

Jack Buchanan brings to life an ordinary world turned chaotic when The Visitors arrive in his house. I particularly enjoy the gentle pace that Buchanan establishes with the piece that comes as a result of deliberate, uncomplicated movements and non-verbal sounds.

It becomes very intriguing and fascinating to watch Buchanan discover where these visitors have come from at the same time we do. A fantastic little narrative is weaved and it is certainly the strongest in this group. A joy to watch.

I'm unsure if Timote Mapuhola's performance differs somewhat from that outlined in the programme (entitled Suli: the name of the 5 year-old child of a “Tongan guy” and “a Palangi girl”, although mother and child play no part in what we see). If it is indeed the result of a desire to show a "different side to comedy" then he may have missed that mark by producing a stark, chilling, and somewhat disturbing piece. We see a drunken man sitting in a chair trying to drown out voices in his head that are dredging up painful memories.

There is no question of the skill in Mapuhola's character portrayal which captures a man so close to crumbling. There are some holes in the story though, it doesn't seem as well fleshed out as it could be. I'm left feeling there are threads that could have been woven together a bit better to develop a more full and rounded piece. 

See also: GROUP A | GROUP B | GROUP C  
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