CONVERSATIONS WITH THE GHOST IN MY BEDROOM

Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

12/03/2021 - 13/03/2021

NZ Fringe Festival 2021

Production Details



Despite the advice of her sister and the prayers of her best friend Ruby, Katherine can’t shake the feeling she’s being watched by a ghost. She’ll do anything to rid herself of this ‘holy spirit’ but nothing seems to be working…

Why won’t anyone just listen?

As part of the NZ Fringe Festival, this funny, sad and angry show is about women and their complex relationships with each other and their identities, and finding empowerment in being listened to.

Heartbreaker Productions is proud to present Conversations With the Ghost In My Bedroom as their debut Wellington Production.

This is a cringe-comedy conversation piece. It has moments of comedy and drama and features stylised monologues interspersed with naturalistic conversations.

The booking details can be found at fringe.co.nz/show/conversations-with-the-ghost-in-my-bedroom

Heartbreaker productions is an non male production company, with the intention of highlighting women’s stories.

Gryphon Theatre, Wellington
12 & 13 March 2021
6pm
Book at fringe.co.nz 


All members of the company have contributed collaboratively, but the listed roles are as follows:
Alia Marshall: Director
Mia Oudes: Actor, writer, graphic designer.
Anna Barker: Actor, scenographer.
Abby Lyons: Stage Manager.
Matilde Vadseth Furholm: Lighting designer.


Theatre ,


1 hr

Starts an interesting and productive conversation

Review by Ines Maria Almeida 15th Mar 2021

[This review replaces an earlier version that provoked a lot of valid feedback on social media and via email. I applaud all who have participated in this constructive process. – Ed] 

The full theatre at the Gryphon bodes well for the evening, and the blurb is enticing enough to persuade the delightful Cheltenham out of her pjs to join me. We’re excited about watching a play about women and their complex relationships with each other (and themselves), and empowerment, and the importance of listening.  

Heartbreaker Productions attempts to put on a thought-provoking show about these very important things. Mia Oudes and Anna Barker play Catherine and Ruby (well Anna also plays Catherine’s sister Abigail, her sister-in-law Faith, and her own mother Jenna, as well as her brother, and the guy who maybe tries to sexually assault Cat at a party, but I digress), who are best friends and flatmates.

Mia and Anna are animated actors; Anna in particular, who is probably more physical theatre than theatre, fizzing around the stage with seemingly endless and boundless energy (I’ll have whatever she’s having). But despite their energy, I can’t help but feel the show falls flat because there’s a lack of narrative arc. Halfway into the show I’m left wondering what exactly I’m watching: a monologue by Catherine about the somewhat complex relationship she has with Ruby? I’m not feeling it. Is it opening night jitters? I’m not sure, but there’s a full crowd here of people to support them, so that might be throwing them off.

Sure, Catherine’s relationship with her uptight sister is complicated (aren’t they all?) but again, there’s no spark between the characters which is what you’d expect from complicated female characters. Faith, the sister-in-law, is annoying (aren’t they all?!), but does that make this relationship stage worthy? I try to put my finger on why this play feels disjointed and pulseless, and the only answer I have is that the complex relationship between women, and the one they have with themselves, isn’t fully explored to its full potential here. And I guess my biggest beef with this is that these are talented actors who can handle a juicier, meatier script, but this one feels watered down.

If the crux of the story here is indeed about a potential sexual assault, it is handled with a lighter touch than I would’ve liked – compared, say, with the film A Promising Young Woman. If this is a play about empowerment, when does it show itself on the stage? As for the ghost in the flat that haunts Catherine’s sex life – what exactly is the point of this? Ruby’s religious zeal and over-attachment to bad god art feels forced, and out of touch for this day and age. I think the character is bold but is capable of, and deserves, more. 

The ‘importance of being listened to’ theme feels so unimportant to the ‘story’ that it just gets repeated a few times at the end, perhaps to stick to the blurb in the fringe programmes. For something so important, why does it feel like an afterthought?

I think the most disappointing thing about this evening is that my best friend and I were excited to see women do a show about women, and I even got ahead of myself thinking we’d have a great debrief over tea afterwards and talk into the night about all the things presented on stage. But what things?

Ultimately I feel let down by this production because everything it promised matters. I want to hear about the complex relationships between women, but in a deep and meaningful way. I want messy characters who make me think. I want a show to make me feel like getting out of my PJs was the right thing to do.
 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Now it’s worth noting that I’m always in awe of people who perform. It takes courage to think you have a story worth sharing, and then even more courage to take that story to the public. It’s also worth noting that both artists and reviewers do the work for the love of it, and not for any kind of monetary compensation. And so there is an agreement of sorts, an unspoken one, that basically says, if you’re willing to put yourself out there, you have to be ready for the criticism.

All reviews are subjective, of course. And one person’s ‘scathing’ is another person’s ‘honesty’. No reviews I’ve ever written were ever intended to insult, but rather inspire the creators to consider their art and their story, and to think about ways in which they can make it better. Time is the most precious thing that we have. And while this show was not a waste of my time, I think Heartbreaker Productions can do better. Even if this is a Fringe show, when I see talent, I have high expectations. And I’m not about to lower them. 

Thanks to the people who wrote in and prompted me to reconsider my initial review, and think about my own craft. You started an interesting and productive conversation. I’m here to grow as a writer, too. 

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