Corpse on the Side

Club Ivy, The Garden Club, 13B Dixon St, Wellington

30/11/2010 - 09/12/2010

Production Details

CORPSE ON THE SIDE is a fundraiser for the Summer School project. Long Cloud is raising money to give 30 students the opportunity to be part of a theatre boot camp and perform in DAUGHTERS OF HEAVEN and THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY at Downstage Theatre. 

CORPSE ON THE SIDE is an all original devised murder mystery event, created by the company. There is the chance of winning great prizes throughout the night. 

Trevor and Mia have been together for two years. For their anniversary they throw a party for friends and family. However the party turns out to be a night to remember. The couple has a very special announcement to make that will shake up the room. 

Long Cloud Youth Theatre is a hothouse for New Zealand’s most exciting young acting talent. Long Cloud, run by Whitireia Performing Arts Company and based in Wellington, is a unique training and production company for young people aged 16-21. The Company gives young actors the means to enhance their theatrical skills through practical performance experience and the opportunity to work with Wellington’s foremost theatrical directors and tutors. The program is led by award-winning teacher and director Willem Wassenaar. Company credits are EQUUS (2010), THE MISANTHROPE (2010), THE SEAGULL (2010), VERNON GOD LITTLE (Downstage, 2010), TITUS ANDRONICUS (2009), THE CRUCIBLE (2009), GRIMM & COLONY! (2008 & 2009) and SPRING AWAKENING (2008).

is @ Club Ivy, 13 Dixon St.
Tue 30 Nov, Wed 1 Dec, Tue 7 Dec, Wed 8 Dec, Thu 9 Dec.
Doors open @ 7pm, show 7:30pm – 9:00pm.
Tickets $25/$20 (which includes a free drink & finger food). 

Bookings: / 04 238 6225.
Pay at the door. LIMITED SEATING. 

HANNAH: Tai Berdinner Blades
AARON:  Felix Borthwick
ADAM:  Michael Boyes
JONOTHAN:  Riley Brophy
TREVOR:  Ben Crawford
TYSON:  Joe Dekkers-Reihana
ELLEN:  Fran Olds
NATHAN:  Rickey Dey
MIA:  Lucy Suttor

Photography Michelly Ny
Produced by Long Cloud Youth Theatre   

Tue, Wed, Tue, Wed, Thurs only

Lots of talent in flawed fundraiser fun

Review by Phoebe Smith 01st Dec 2010

Devised rambunctious murder mystery event, Corpse on the Side is Long Cloud Youth Theatre’s fundraiser for their Summer School project, which will provide the opportunity for 30 young actors to attend a ‘boot camp’ and culminate in two productions at Downstage Theatre. As such, it is a shame they played their opening night to a very small audience at Club Ivy; particularly unfortunate as the audience’s participation is an essential element of the show. 

The premise of the piece is Trevor and Mia’s two year anniversary party. As the audience arrive we are offered a free drink –which is delightful- and then talked to as ‘guests’ by circulating actors, as the characters, who are also guests, arrive.

Opening night and a very small house engendered a rather wide-eyed, nervy energy in the actors and much of this opening conversation was strained and stilted. Some audience members may prefer to be given some space to enjoy their dates and their drinks after the initial greeting, unless the actor actually has something of wit or substance to say.

Once the audience has played a few party games we get down to business and are introduced to each character in turn. Each young actor portrays a borderline cliché stock relation or friend of our central characters, Trev and Mia, and each is a potential suspect in our murder mystery.

This is our first experience of the play’s structural difficulties. Because we can see how many characters there are onstage for nearly the duration, there is a sense of inevitability about how much of the play is left; which characters must still have a surprise up their sleeve to make their presence necessary. While these surprises do add excitement, the twists that these characters provide could be more interesting if they were less clichéd.

Audience interaction is sporadically utilised throughout the play with police constable Nathan (Ricky Dey) making some particularly good choices of moments to include the audience so that we feel that we are aiding the investigation. It is odd, though, to at times be treated very much as ‘one of the guests’ and then all of a sudden be relegated to passive audience. 

All flaws aside, Corpse on the Side makes for an enjoyable evening. There is a lot of talent in this young cast (particular mention to the off-his-face without being over-the-top Ben Crawford as Trevor) and director Willem Wassenaar is very good at utilising their youth, rather than squashing it.

I very much look forward to their Downstage productions and to their continuing work as practitioners. Have a drink or two straight after work before you head in, and wear your dancing shoes! 
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