Southern Ballet Theatre, Christchurch

02/10/2010 - 04/10/2010

BATS Theatre, Wellington

06/03/2010 - 13/03/2010

Body Festival 2010

NZ Fringe Festival 2010

Production Details

Angel turns suicide bomber! 

An angel, trapped on earth, has resorted to terrorist activities in order to return to her natural state of loving bliss. The angel, known to the public only as “Angel,” has made an internet broadcast claiming that “we are all entitled to be loved unconditionally for who we really are” and that she will be “doing all of humanity a favour” if she carries out her explosive plans.

Angel is a funny and touching contemporary clowntheatre show. Created by the most talented of Christchurch’s independent circus, theatre and music artists, Angel takes an irreverent and playful look at modern spiritual alternatives.

Angel tells the story of an angel fallen to earth and longing to return to heaven. A sweetness pervades the piece as the angel discovers and pursues earthly ways of achieving enlightenment.

Three uniquely talented women have brought their expertise together in the creation of Angel: Olli Ricken (circus tutor at Christchurch Polytech) is masterful as the angel, gifting the audience a depth that her 17 years of experience in clowntheatre and circus allow her.
Lucette Hindin (the clinic) brings to the piece her unique skill and ten years of professional experience creating cutting edge and beautiful devised theatre.
Arielle Atman, intuitive pianist, has created music for Angel which on its own would satisfy an audience for an hour. Angel catches these three at the height of their creative careers. Angel is a funny, thoughtful, and expertly delivered piece of theatre.

Bats Theatre
6 March, 9 – 13 March 6:30 pm
Preview 6 March 4pm ($12 and $10)
Full $16, Concession $13
Bookings at Bats ph 802 4175

Company  Flying Kiwi Circus
Venue  Southern Ballet Theatre, Christchurch Arts Centre
Date/Time  Sat 2nd – Mon 4th October 8.30pm
Duration  60 mins
Cost  $18, $15 (concessions)
Bookings  from Court Theatre (03) 963 0870 booking fees apply


Fallen angel faces difficult audience

Review by Hannah Smith 07th Mar 2010

It is hard to think of three things more different than an ethereal floating angel, a flat footed red nosed clown and a suicide bomber, but Angel marries these wildly incongruent concepts into a sweet and delicate comedy that looks at the funny side of spirituality.

The show begins with a spectacular ‘fall…splat’ sound effect and performer Olli Ricken face planted centre stage, dressed as an angel: long golden hair, white robe and… a big red nose. She has just fallen from heaven. She then spends the next hour trying and failing to reattain her state of celestial grace. 

Her quest takes the form of a combination of clowning, puppetry, and circus tricks. Ricken gives a finely nuanced performance, the majority of which is sans dialogue. This does not hinder our understanding, the progression of each thought and feeling is clearly expressed by her face and gesture. The story-telling is further enhanced by the excellent piano accompaniment, composed by Arielle Atman. 

On the second performance (following a matinee) the audience was small and not particularly warm: hard work for a show that feeds off laughter and requires audience participation. It felt as if sequences that are usually successful were falling flat. The audience interaction was charmingly played but failed to draw any real laughs from a hesitant and nervous seeming crowd.

It was not until Ricken broke out the more explicit ‘clown’ routine that the audience really started to let go. She is circus trained and it is clear that the ‘clown’ material is her strong point.

Having her speak in the last section of the play seems to me to be a mistake. Firstly, Ricken does not seem nearly as comfortable speaking with her voice as she does with her face. Secondly, and more importantly, it changes the terms of the contract between performer and audience at a very late stage in the proceedings. 

As soon as she opened her mouth I felt that I had the right to expect answers to some questions which previously had not bothered me. Examples: why has the angel fallen from heaven? Her wings have been ripped off, she must have done something pretty bad for that to happen – what was it? Also, I liked her character until she opened her mouth, and after that, well, I didn’t like her so much. She was not as clever as I had expected her to be.

That aside, this is an unusual piece of work and in a style that we do not get to see that often. I think that it would work very well for children. As an adult, I had the niggling feeling that this piece was missing something. Perhaps what it was missing was a big generous audience ready to be amazed, but the show I saw seemed fragile, and the black box of BATS swallowed it 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. 


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