Couch Soup

Bluenote Bar, Wellington

13/02/2007 - 17/02/2007

NZ Fringe Festival 2007

Production Details

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

Stephanie christian
Ross McLeod
Bronwyn Williams
Benny Marama

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

Theatre ,

1 hr

Any suggestions?

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 …


neil furby February 14th, 2007

Yes 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

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