Boomerang Lean and the She-Devil from Outer Space

Happy (Cnr Tory & Vivian), Wellington

10/02/2009 - 14/02/2009

NZ Fringe Festival 2009

Production Details

Sex, Drugs and Veganism

Coming to the Fringe Festival in February 2009 is a tragic musical comedy with a trace of pantomime – ‘Boomerang Lean and the She-Devil from Outer Space’. Taking inspiration from well known favorites such as Hair, The Rocky Horror Show and Jesus Christ Superstar, co-creators Helen O’Rourke and Stephanie Cairns say that they are attempting to resurrect the spirit of the golden era of rock opera with their quirky tale of a naive vegan farm boy and his corruption by an evil She-Devil from Outer Space.

The show runs from the 10th to the 14th of February at Wellington’s Happy Bar, on the corner of Vivian and Tory Streets, and features a live band, a drag queen narrator, breasts with laser guns in them, rock ‘n’ roll stardom, drug abuse and animal slaughter.

"We’re aiming to produce something that can be enjoyed by a broad rage of people and make an entertaining evening, but with deeper underlying messages and witty social comment" says Stephanie.

The two believe that musicals are under appreciated in today’s theatre scene and are ripe for a "big as revival party with unashamed extravagance," says Helen. "Musicals are seen as a guilty pleasure by film and theatre buffs because they’re kind of lowbrow, but they have this amazing ability to really connect with audiences that we think deserves further exploration".

At: Happy, Cnr Tory & Vivian Streets
Dates: 10 – 14 February: 7pm
Duration: 1hr
Prices: Full: $15; Concession: $12
Fringe Addict Card Holder: $10
Audience numbers are strictly limited – bookings are advised and can be made by calling 04-976-1327 / 027-481-2327 or emailing 

Boomerang Lean - Hayden Frost
She-Devil from Outer Space - Helen O'Rourke
Narrator - Stephen Jackson

Electric Piano - Stephanie Cairns
Bass - Marley Mokomoko-Young
Drums - Leon North
Guitar - Alex Hardiman
Synth - Rupert Snook

Stage Manager - Susie Harcourt
Costumes - Olivia Ryan
Lights - Flora Wassilieff

1 hr, no interval

Refreshing, original, cheeky, noncommittal …

Review by Melody Nixon 11th Feb 2009

Narrator Stephen Jackson tells us at the opening of Boomerang Lean and the She-Devil from Outer Space that we’re about to witness the story of an innocent boy, "confused, tempted, betrayed and overwhelmed." That seems a somber and almost sanctimonious note to begin on, but as it evolves, Boomerang Lean is anything but overly-serious or intent on imparting great messages of wisdom to its audience.

For this Fringe Festival romp, Helen O’Rourke and Stephanie Cairns have created a surprisingly light-hearted, cute and frolicking piece of musical comedy, full of straight exposition and underdeveloped plot-lines, but wonderfully fun all the same. The storytelling is articulate, the songs even more so, and – perhaps unusually for many musicals – the musical interludes seem to be welcomed with anticipation by the audience, not secret dread.

This is to a large extent due to the unselfconsciousness of the actors, and their down-to-earth sincerity. Hayden Frost as central figure Boomerang Lean immediately inflates himself into the space of Happy; his confident spirit fills every bit of the apposite venue. Stephen Jackson runs into a few difficulties as the narrator, forgetting lines and slurring sentences together, but he is entertaining in a variety of supporting roles, especially when clearly enjoying the more effusive characters.

As the sexy She-Devil star Helen O’Rourke is almost outrageous, launching into the role with all the glitz and raunchiness of a Debbie Dorday offshoot. The She-Devil’s Madonna-esque "laser titties" become a recurring prop for comical moments and are, well, satisfyingly strange. O’Rourke seems unsure of herself in only a few tense moments of her solo pieces. If she approached these solos with a little more abandon, the audience might be able to warm to them and help her along.


The acting is enhanced by a series of funky video projections by Josh Barnes. Barnes’ timing isn’t always accurate and the pictures seem to get a bit mixed up in Boomerang’s "Sydney song," however the effect during the ‘hypnotic’ scenes is enjoyably psychedelic and overall the visuals are well done. Lights by Flora Wassilieff assist in this regard, and the instrumentals of the fantastic five piece band add a whole dimension to the show’s quality – as is the case with many Happy theatre pieces.

In the end though, the forty-five minute show spins to an abrupt halt. Aside from the explosive finishing notes of the She-Devil’s song of conquest, there’s little to signal that the play itself is resolved. The She-Devil drags her victim hurriedly from the stage, and we’re startled into applauding – but it’s unclear for what.

Perhaps the piece could be fleshed out and offer more insight into Mr. Boomerang’s transportation to the grey, amoral world of the corporate slave (could he perhaps turn thirty in the final scene?!), and give an indication of what the writers believe is so truly terrible about this fate. 

But, in all fairness, Boomerang Lean is just about silliness and fun, and it seems wrong to pick apart a piece that, much to its credit, is one of the few plays of late that does not take itself too seriously, or seriously at all. Boomerang Lean is about presenting a very refreshing and original little number to a worthy audience, and sneaking in some cheekiness and noncommittal fun along the way.


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