A Trip Across The Universe

Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

12/04/2012 - 21/04/2012

Production Details

Inspired by Julie Taymor’s musical movie Across The Universe, the world premiere of this exciting new stage show is THE event in this year’s entertainment calendar!

A Trip Across The Universe is a poignant look back at an inspiring and turbulent time in American culture. It features a rock ‘n’ roll score filled with the forever-relevant songs we all love written by The Beatles including ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, ‘Come Together’, ‘I Am The Walrus’, ‘Blackbird’, ‘Across The Universe’ and many more.   

With an amazingly talented Wellington cast, A Trip Across The Universe is set to entertain, inspire and turn you on. So tune in, turn off, drop out, drop in, switch off, switch on, and explode this April at the Gryphon Theatre, Ghuznee Street, Wellington for a show that will blow your mind!

Thursday 12 April to Saturday 21 April
at 7.30 pm
at the Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

Cast List:
Trish Butterfield, Meghan Mitzel, Sheree Moanaroa, Kirsty Sabrina Moir, Natalie Moreno, Janelle Pollock, Bonnie Riley, David Butterfield, Jesse Finn, LeRoi Kippen, Paul Williams, Robert Zaher

With Special Guests:
Waylon Edwards, Chris Green and Tess Munro

And Introducing:
Emma Munro

Crew list: 
Production Manager: Hannah Bain
Producer: Rodney Bane
Wardrobe Manager: Jesse Finn
Photography: Jared Pallesen Creative Design  

Striking emotional chords

Review by Toby Wray 13th Apr 2012

Entering the performance space, it’s clear from the set filled with rugs, Beatles posters, Uncle Sam propaganda, lanterns, a large peace sign and musical instruments, that what is about to be presented is a musical showcase.

A Trip Across the Universe is publicised as being inspired by Julie Taymor’s film Across the Universe, [which depicts the impact of Beatles music on the USA] and this certainly holds true; anyone who has seen the film will recognise that the characters, their journeys and the way the music was used, have been lifted almost directly from the film onto the stage.

Director Stuart James has said that the show is a ‘concert style production’, but that he believes ‘the music is powerful enough to evoke emotion without the need for a cohesive story’. As such, the show is filled with 22 Beatles’ songs, and no dialogue.

Having seen the film on which the show is based, it is difficult to make the call as to whether someone who hasn’t would take quite as much from the performance, even more so for somebody who also had little knowledge of the Cultural Revolution. I do feel that there could have been better reference to the riots, as while Julie Taymor’s movie makes reference to this during ‘Let it Be’, the show’s performance of the same song, while very touching, seems to lack the same clarity.

That said, the many symbols of the anti-war protests, or at least the befitting costuming, would surely spark an investigation by anyone who was not already aware of the history!

For anyone wondering, before seeing the show, why New Zealand’s own history at that time is not being focussed on, rest assured that with the show’s set-up, an adaptation would not have worked. A valid show as that would be, the history that A Trip Across the Universe focuses on, is equally valid and more suitable for the lack of cohesive story-line and title!

The cast and musicians both individually and collectively are very talented and certainly do all of the music justice. Several performances graced me with goosebumps and having been raised a Beatles’ fanatic, I was very impressed.

I can delightedly say that although it may be a concert style production, the emotion put forth by the performers is incredibly striking. As this is the case, I feel obliged to say that A Trip Across the Universe should be considered more than just a showcase of Beatles’ songs. 


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