Te Kotahitanga Expo Hall, Forum North, Whangarei

29/01/2015 - 06/02/2015

Production Details


– an anarchic riff on power and leadership and the choice to make a choice –

A bunch of people fall into a room. 

Some lead, some follow. They unfold, refold, stand up, stand out, explode, disappear, pause and join in.

A lyrical and powerful show about order, disorder and what it means to stand up and take a stance. 

Watch empires rise and fall, flocks form and disperse, conflicts spark, new ventures succeed and fail, humans get hysterical and start all over again. 

The ranter.
The dancer.
The bystander.
Which one are you?
What makes you decide to change?

Te Kotahitanga Expo Hall, Forum North 
29th January – 6th February 7.30pm, 2015
(2.30pm Sunday Matinee / No show Monday / Preview 7.30pm 28th January) 
Tickets: $10
Inquiries: (09) 438 4453 / 

Jasmin Fisher-Johnson, Maeve Adair, Kipling Davies-Colley, Sophie Gilbert-Keene, Ruby Curtis, Amelia Greenaway, Jack Robinson, Zoe Robinson, Meg Robinson, Vanessa Shaw, Florence Morrison-Smith, Zelde Morrison-Smith, Hannah Gwillim, Joel Ruys, Toby Collom, Jodi Katsoolis, Austyn Mills, Alliyah Tuaumu-Kemp, Zach Wendt-Smith. 

Tash James, Chloe Alderton, Charley Draper, Cinta Damerell, Kayla Ganley, Lutz Hamm, Dallas Rees, Derek Simpson, Laurel Devenie, Gina Moss.

Endlessly inventive

Review by David Stevens 30th Jan 2015

I’m always pleased to see the shows of the Northland Youth Theatre, ranging from the wondrous The Blue Airplane to the radiant The Odyssey to the dark (but not dour) and thought provoking Albert Black.

Their latest offering, Crashmob, is in different territory – it is challenging. It challenges several (but not all) of my concepts of drama. Directed by Jo Randerson, it seldom defines itself, it has no easily accessible plot, little development of character and no immediately obvious storyline.

We’re never told where it is happening or when it is happening, or even what is happening except at the end, so in a sense it is metaphysical theatre and has a non-too-distant kinship with the Aboriginal concept of the dreaming – or dreamtime – because it is every where and every when while being, at the same time, specific to this group of young people now. 

We are introduced – slowly and intriguingly – to the young people who appear from behind various large boxes and then hide behind them again. Some of them seem shy or surprised that we are there and some seem frightened by us. Gradually, the boxes come down and they, accustomed to us by now, mostly ignore us and carry on with whatever they are doing.

What they are doing is often less clear. I know what I think it was all about, but if you tell me it is about something quite different, I’ll just shrug and say “fair enough.”

So this is what – I think – happens. They are somewhere. They are worried about the present and concerned about the future and have their differing opinions as to how the future can be made better. Those opinions, often conflicting, are expressed as waffle and platitudes, and two groups form, antagonistic to each other, with violence between them (political party attitudes flooded my mind). There is only one thing on which they all agree: “We need more happiness.” A leader appears, promising that happiness but, power-mad, still spouting waffle and platitudes until ‘a voice of the people’ arises, with promises of his own way to achieve happiness – with his own version of waffle and platitudes.

This is all entertainingly done and my advice is to take it at face value, lie back and enjoy it, but if you want to find a meaning to it, I think that becomes clear at the end: an effective and faintly disturbing ending, which impressed me, both with its conception and its realisation. Jo Randerson is to be congratulated, and not only for that.

To burn a boat to two, I think it is about the dilemma in which many young people of their age find themselves, still young but just opening the door of adulthood – and what they see is attractive and scary and inevitable. They know that they will eventually have to assume responsibility for this imperfect world. 

And looking at the world they will inherit, the world that we older generations have created, who can blame them for being scared, and excited and having nightmares – and ambition? 

As always at the NYT, whose house style is endless invention, it is endlessly inventive. It doesn’t have the scale or scope or ambition of, say, The Odyssey, there are no great coups de theatre, but it is filled with lovely effects, with the boxes, simply done but no less effective for that. 

I have nothing but good things to say about the cast, all whom acquit themselves admirably. I can’t single anyone out, I can’t give names to characters – who played whom – because the characters don’t have names and the program only lists the participants. All of them should go home happy, with big smiles on their faces. 

Is there a ‘but’? Oh, sure, and more than one, but I can’t be bothered looking for them. I could say that I long to see these young people work on an accepted text, as young musicians might have to work on a Beethoven score, but since few of them are determined on a life in the theatre, that’s just me being an old fart – and it isn’t what the NYT is all about.

I have spent a rewarding hour in the company of a group of young people whose energy and sense of commitment all entertained me and provoked my mind. If it is sometimes a puzzle, that’s fair, I love puzzles. If it is something whose major value may be to people of their own age, to that specific age group, that’s fair, too – their time is beginning and the best advice I was ever given is to write about what you know. 

If it challenges some of my perceptions of what theatre should be – and it does – that’s fair as well. I can stand to be challenged and it also affirms many of the things I believe.


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