21 Reasons

Tararua Tramping Club, 4 Moncrieff St, Mt Victoria, Wellington

11/02/2008 - 14/02/2008

Production Details

"Come to my party!

No presents required, just your wonderful presence…but presents would also be good."

Often they’re great, sometimes they’re crap. Either way twenty-firsts are something we live to remember…. or regret.

From the people who brought you Fringe 2007’s favourite late show Sensational, 21 Reasons is a fast-paced and highly satirical look at the classic Kiwi right of passage that is the 21st Birthday. Follow 4 very different 20-year-olds as they crash head-on into their yardies, vol au vents, speeches, tantrums and quarter-life crises; struggling to make it through with their dignity intact.

Rankle Productions is a fresh, young theatre company founded in 2006 by a small group of Wellington theatre enthusiasts. The company includes two time winner of ‘Young Playwright of the Year’ Robert Ellis, actress Francesca Emms, designer Charlotte French and hot new director Cherie Jacobson. 21 Reasons also showcases the many talents of Sue Wilde, Jonny Potts, Josephine O’Sullivan, Henry Johnson, Melissa Phillips, Robert Bullen, Jasper Lambe and our reigning ‘Mr Gay Wellington’– AJ Marsh.

Warning: recommended for immature audiences: contains adult themes and strong language.

Come along, enjoy Gran’s asparagus rolls, and generally have a ripping good time!

Thanks to Fringe, Wellington City Council/Creative Communities, Massey & Victoria Unis & Lonestar 

Monday 11th – Thursday 14th February, 2008 @ 10pm
Tararua Tramping Club Hall, Moncrieff St, Mt Victoria
Tickets: $15 Waged / $12 Unwaged / $10 Fringe Addict
Bookings: rankleproductions@hotmail.com or 027 293 8152

Publicity Contact: Charlotte French 027 293 8152

Robert Ellis, Cherie Jacobsen, Francesca Emms, Sue Wilde, Jonny Potts, Josephine O'Sullivan, Henry Johnson, Melissa Phillips, Robert Bullen, Jasper Lambe, AJ Marsh and designer Charlotte French. 

Flair for pacey comedy

Review by Jackson Coe 12th Feb 2008

Following a Sensational season in 2007, Rankle Productions returns to the Fringe Festival this year with their familiar essence of downright kookiness.

21 Reasons explores four different twenty-first birthdays.  From build-up to execution, we follow the characters as they struggle through the coming-of-age ritual we have come to love and loathe.  The pedantic Trudy can’t settle for anything less than the perfect song list, Mandy is hopelessly lost in Paris and Luke is still desperately trying to keep his sexuality a secret from his parents.

The decision to stage the show in a public hall works well within the context of the play.  The audience are treated as guests invited to a party, many seated at tables and served chips, with helium balloons floating about the room.  The overall effect is quite pleasant.  Some of the site-specific offerings are used well, such as the cafeteria kitchen to the front of the hall which allows for some great comic moments.

Keeping true to the Kiwi twenty-first, the play itself has a tendency to be quite frantic at times.  We dive in and out of different stories, and the audience needs to stay sharp to keep on track.  We are assisted by some seriously quick costume changes.  At times I felt as though costume changes had occurred literally in the blink of an eye, and I appreciated the casts efficiency in this task which helped keep me on track.

The players themselves do well to maintain their energy throughout the shows hour.  Francesca Emms is once again in fine form, and Jonny Potts and Melissa Phillips show off a formidable range.  At times, however, some toning down of the heightened performance style would be in order, with less reliance on stereotypes to carry character.

21 Reasons is a good piece of Fringe-style theatre which continues Rankle Production’s flair for pacey comedy.  However, I wouldn’t mind seeing these guys challenge themselves more heavily in their future productions, perhaps with some more complex design features.  I can’t wait until they’ve truly hit their stride.


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