OFF-BEAT, QUIRKY, SURREALIST SCI-FI BLEND
THE WITCHING HOURS
6 eerie audio plays (2 a night)
written and directed by Uther Dean
presented by My Accomplice
at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
From 24 Oct 2013 to 26 Oct 2013
Reviewed by Charlotte Simmonds, 26 Oct 2013
“The Witching Hours is my first attempt at an ‘EP' for the theatre,” wrote the playwright in the media release, describing EPs as being “quick, cheap and disposable”.
Or, as I have always thought of them, collector's items, hand-labelled in hand-cut cardboard sleeves with two tone hand-made woodcut illustrations, hand-purchased at the merch table from the hand of the band themselves; collector's items that you want to snap up quickly before the band becomes really famous. (I'm describing an Arcade Fire EP I bought in Germany almost ten years ago. Pre-Youtube.)
When Uther Dean becomes a (more) famous director, screenwriter, megamillions-making novel series author, Ray Bradbury, or whatever he goes on to do when people start giving him more money to do it with, I'll be able to say, “Yep, I was at the live recording of one of the very first ever Witching Hours as the current incarnation was formerly known back in 2013.”
Because his writing is really, really good. Even when he's trying to be quick, cheap and disposable.
The Witching Hours is a series of six half-hour radio episodes (podcasts I guess) performed and recorded live: two to a night. They will be online at www.thewitchinghours.com very soon, so you can catch for free what you didn't pay $10 to see, but that's like finding out about the Arcade Fire later when they're all over radios and YouTubes and you'll only be half as cool.
Live audio plays may not be everyone's cup of tea, and I understand if others prefer sets, costumes and running around, but as a pretty hard-core introvert whose favourite films put other people to sleep, I am a strong appreciator of reduced stimuli art forms and find them no less stimulating.
I go on Friday night and am fortunate enough to witness Hannah Banks, Paul Waggot and Jonny Potts performing first Men Are From Phobos, Women are From Deimos, in which a gas-lighting husband is trapped, Sartre's No Exit style, on a spacecraft with his self-centred wife. The classic Albee-an couples drama plays out on a trip to Mars.
The second audio play is Fun and Games, in which a boring white, middle class woman tries to buy a board game for her son from a David Attenborough-cum-mysterious old man toy shop owner. A nice touch is having the playwright himself on stage providing foley; nice because every time the audience laughs, he grins wildly, so there is a sort of wordless playwright-audience banter going on that I have never seen before.
On Thursday I missed Pride and Toxoplasmosis (odd happenings at the SPCA) and The Flip of a Coin (workers at the Ministry of Fate go rogue). I heard a whisper from an audience member that Thursday night was better than the fantastic Friday night so I look forward to hearing the podcast online.
Saturday night I will be likely to miss The Dark Gardens of St Sinister (knights fighting monsters at a monastery) and either The Dark Ones (supernatural phone-in radio) or a dream thriller set in Wellington art galleries called Portrait of the Artist as Another Man, apparently dependent on whichever Dean has decided to write this morning, and perhaps Francesca Emms and Sam Hallahan will be present, since they weren't present on Friday.
My only criticism is that the name seems out of place. The phrase ‘witching hours' evokes for me more sinister, Halloween, supernatural horror type notions, and not the oozing Ray Bradbury from every pore type of off-beat, quirky, surrealist sci-fi blend in the tradition of The Twilight Zone (for which Ray Bradbury did actually write at one point) that the show really is, although I suppose if I had paid more attention to the poster initially, I should have been able to pick that up.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.
|David Geary||posted 27 Oct 2013, 05:46 AM|
Hi Charlotte - noice review, I look forward to listening in to the podcasts. I think you mean Sartre not Satre - yours Pedant Geary of Canada
|John Smythe||posted 27 Oct 2013, 02:13 PM / edited 27 Oct 2013, 02:19 PM|
My bad editing, David - will correct. (I also messed about with Charlotte's punctuation around the Ray Bradbury reference and that, too, is corrected now.)
|Uther Dean||posted 5 Nov 2013, 01:39 AM / edited 5 Nov 2013, 12:00 AM|
If anyone is interested the website is live at TheWitchingHours.com. The first episode is up for download with an episode a week due on Saturdays for the next five weeks to get us to the end of the first series.