Studio 77, Victoria University, 77 Fairlie Tce, Kelburn, Wellington

28/02/2017 - 04/03/2017

NZ Fringe Festival 2017 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details

Friendship is a funny thing. It starts when you’re a child and everything is fascinating and beautiful, yet unimaginably big.

In Colour Me, Nostalgia! we explore the many kinds of friendships that help shape who we are: friends you’ve known since you were in the sandpit, friends who know all your secrets and dreams, friends who are different from yourself, friends that fizzle out, and friends that you can always return to as if nothing has changed.

There’s a fine line between innocence and angst when you’re growing up. In this explorative performance, we reflect on this liminal time that is youth, and the sudden realisation that growing up is actually a trap. In this strange, sexy performance, two alien girls reflect on what it means to grow and change within their small worlds. They share stories of flailing innocence and looking back at a box of memories, realising they grew up too fast. We believe notions of friendship and identity help shape us as people.

In Colour Me, Nostalgia!, we aim to snapshot colourful, gooey memories for the audience to hold. Look over your shoulder. Never forget where you came from. “To die would be an awfully big adventure!”

Your FAV, Victoria University,
77 Fairlie Tce, Kelburn, Wellington 6012
Feb 28 – Mar 4 2017
TICKETS: $10/$8

Theatre ,

Intriguing revisiting of growing up

Review by John Smythe 01st Mar 2017

The nostalgia trip starts as I drive up Kelburn Parade: a gaggle of Grecian maidens crosses my bows en-route to a party. Are Toga Parties back or have they never gone away?

In the foyer of Studio 77, bedecked with childlike paraphernalia, I’m challenged to a pillow fight by a lively woman I deduce to be one of the actors (Sarah Burton in fact, since the other is male: Matthew Staijen-Leach). Ah, the good old days when you could swing a pillow at someone and not get had up for assault – although we do take care to only bash each other’s pillow.

Set designer and co-publicist Darryl Ng treats us like pre-schoolers as he herds us off to ‘The Play Room’ – quite a little walk away, on another part of the campus (bring good shoes). This too is designed to evoke a child’s room in a family home. The flat floor means that even in the second row you can’t see much of what happens at floor level – which is quite a bit to start with.  

The premise is that Will (Matthew) has come to “get some things” from his old room and in the process he gets waylaid by memories; nostalgia for a more innocent way of being. The mystery is, who exactly is the young woman (Sarah) who turns out to be hiding in there and is tethered by a long yellow ribbon?

If you guess at something (sister, girl next door, imaginary friend …) then test it against the action that unfolds you will probably have to rethink it. Meanwhile their relationship fascinatingly and somewhat abstractly recalls the stages of maturation that presumably occurred in the room, at some level of reality or other.

Early on, when Will tugs at the ribbon trailing out from under a large covered rostrum, and glimpses a limb, the huge laugh of recognition he gets when he cries out, “What’s in the box?” – elongating the ‘o’ – alerts me to a pop culture reference. (Google reveals he’s channelling Brad Pitt as Mills in the 1995 film Se7en.) But the co-devised and written script – by the actors and co-director Ruby Hansen – doesn’t depend on our knowing many such tropes.

A convenient folder of transparencies projected via a handy OHP provokes the memories, from: a lunch box, a house, a bird and a bee, a sword and a shield, a ghost, bulging biceps, a strong magnet, fireworks … You get the picture(s).

Having started mute, the girl-who-will-become-a-woman admits to the name Brenda. The question of why she is tethered, albeit on a very long and apparently benign leash, compels my ongoing interest. They are robust playmates: gunslinger and light-sabre stuff; they explore ‘dirty’ words; she passes moral judgement on him more than once; she balks at the home he has made her and … If you’re going to see it, you may wish to skip the next X pars until after.

(Spoiler alert?)
When she wants to be free, he does the big “It’s not safe out there!” number before untying the ribbon for her. And when she’s gone for a while he demands to know where she has been. As for “Bad things happen when we go upstairs” – what’s that about? When he leaves her alone we are asked to make scary noises to freak her out: is this Will or Matthew asking us?  

That he needs her to make him feel tough seems like a strong clue as to who she is – and are we getting some Karate Kid tropes here? As they mature, they grow apart then miss each other: “We haven’t hung out in ages.” And he tries to deny that he has a crush on someone – that someone being beautifully represented by a balloon.
(Alert ends) 

Whichever way you interpret this boy/girl relationship, there is no denying it touches on universal truths about growing up and the way it unfolds is very intriguing. I recommend you visit this revisitation.

P.S. As I head home the street are awash with toga-clad students. The rites of passage from adolescence to adulthood are alive and well in this generation. 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council