13/02/2007 - 17/02/2007
Directed by David Foote
The Southern Hemisphere’s longest running one-page play festival, now in its tenth year, returns to Fringe 07. “Perfect for those with a love of theatre and short attention spans. Or those just after a nutritious evening out,” – Salient .. 30 new plays, four actors, no waiting.
When – Feb 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th – 8:00pm
Venue – Bluenote Bar
Prices – Full $12 Concession $10 Addict $8
Tickets – (04) 801 5007
The Scream Caroline Waugh
Caught In The Act Neil Troost
Everything In The Kitchen Ross MacLeod
In The Eye Of The Monkey Pip Six
Everyman Jason Hanson
Maudlin David Foote
Penguin Sketch Chris Kent
Dusk Lisette De Jong
Only Brown Ego David Foote
Future Season Of Survivor K Morris
Thanks Anyway Ross MacLeod
Show Guys And Girls Emma Koretz
Old Friends Barry Lakeman
Short Of A Woman Andre Surridge
Sales Pitch Ross MacLeod
Hopeless Case Stef Christian
The Black Freighter Pip Six
At The Vet Barry Lakeman
No Pill For Dumb Ian Grody
If Supre Sold Couches Stef Christian
The AA Meeting K Morris
Sandlewood David Foote
The War On Obesity Andrew Porteous
Two Guys Steve Chappell
Couch Fu Ross MacLeod
The Jungle NoteBook Desiree Gezentsvey
He Can Wait Jason Hansen
Coming Out Benny Marama
Blood Rush Alison Davie
Into The Sea With The Ghosts Pip Six
Wooden Heart Andre Surridge
Final Concert Of The Model Citizens Benny Marama
Ship Song Ross MacLeod
Review by John Smythe 14th Feb 2007
The Couch Soup gimmick turns 10 this year, offering yet more of the same: an hour’s worth of one page ‘plays’ (‘snippets’ or ‘sketches’ would be more appropriate terms for most) performed by a team of 4 actors. This year there are 33 pieces penned by 18 writers.
With nothing fresh about the idea, although it remains quite a challenge for writers and actors, one has to ask where the value lies for the audience. Channel hopping at home would give us a more dynamic mix of random stuff. And while Couch Soup may stand as a microcosm of the ‘lucky dip’ that is Fringe itself, the ‘hit’ rate, in my perception, is lower.
There are some good moments, including: ‘Jenny & McNeil’ singing ‘I’m Gonna Kill You with Everything in the Kitchen’ (Ross McLeod), although it could be shorter; two women faking they know each other (Barry Lakeman); a guy’s clever strategy for getting first in the queue at the vet (Lakeman again); Jesus at an AA meeting (K Morris); a guy faking gay to get girls to trust him (Benny Marama) …
And it turns out Stephanie Christian, one of the actors, also wrote the motor-cum-potty-mouth woman (Hopeless Case) and the fashionista couch saleswomen (If Supra Sold Couches) which offer but two of the extraordinary range of comic characterisations she brings to the show. Perhaps best described as a Kiwi Dawn French, she is the highlight of the evening.
Ross McLeod, Bronwyn Williams and Benny Marama are also to be commended for their tireless work, and what it has taken for director David Foote to get the show on cannot be taken for granted either.
But there is too much dross this time round. Too many pieces are in the nature of dramatic doodles rather than haikus. The couple of scenarios that do return don’t develop their ideas well enough. There is nothing ingenious about how the transitions are achieved. Inevitably it all adds up to quite a lot less than the sum of its too-many parts.
While the couch is not always used as a couch – one piece makes an elephant of it – the setting may have passed its use by date. It’s either time to put the concept to rest or give it a total revamp. Wardrobe Soup? Inner Tyre Soup? Post your suggestion as a comment …
Go to Home page to see other reviews, recent comments and forum postings (under Audience Chatter), and news.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
neil furby February 14th, 2007Yes a rename might give the creative juices a charge. Maybe goulash or booyah. Even my favourite soup, water melon gazpacho soup might do the trick