Dakota of the White Flats

Te Auaha, Tapere Nui, 65 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington

30/05/2023 - 06/06/2023

Production Details

Written by Philip Ridley
Director: Ella Becroft

Red Leap Theatre

Dakota of the White Flats is an adaptation of the novel by award-winning author Philip Ridley. A high-action, pulpy, punk noir that snatches the classic coming-of-age adventure story out of the hands of a gang of boys, and passes it to two loud, unapologetic, brave young women.

Dakota Pink is 13-years-old and afraid of nothing. She lives in a bleak housing complex on the edge of a polluted canal. Abandoned supermarket trolleys litter the streets and the oil slick water is filled with monstrous mutant eels. Dakota and her best friend Treacle discover a secret that propels them across the water to the Broken Glass Fortress on Dog Island. Dakota of the White Flats is a finely crafted adventure, shot through with comedy, horror, an immersive soundscape and live punk music.

Created for a multigenerational audience, specifically 11-17-year-olds, this fast-paced and electrifying show celebrates the resilience, bravery and hope of young people in a changing world. Directed by Ella Becroft, with set design by John Verryt, lighting by Rachel Marlow and composition by Eden Mulholland, Dakota of the White Flats is not to be missed!

Venue: Te Auaha
30 May – 6 June 2023
Time: 7.30PM
Prices: $32 – $47
Booking: https://www.teauahaevents.com/home/dakota-of-the-white-flats/

Cast: Batanai Mashingaidze, Ariāna Osborne, Amelia Reynolds, Logan Cole, Lutz Hamm
Dramaturg: Tom Eason
Sound Design: Eden Mulholland
Set Design: John Verryt
Lighting Design: Rachel Marlow
Costume Design: Ana van Schie de Pont
Choreographic Advisor: Sarah Foster Sproull

Theatre ,

70 minutes

One hell of a rollicking ride, with slick stagecraft and pitch perfect performances

Review by Francesca Emms 31st May 2023

Red Leap have taken Philip Ridley’s classic coming of age adventure story, Dakota of the White Flats, and smashed it onto the Te Auaha stage with frenetic, fun, fantastical energy. 

Gritty and grimy, the White Flats are the bleak housing towers where our hero Dakota (Batanai Mashingaidze) lives. Using two triangular scaffolds covered in shabby venetian blinds, John Verryt’s clever set evokes the cramped and dilapidated flats.

Rachel Marlow’s lighting is fun and fast, spooky and surreal. Spotlights, shadows and torches are used to great effect. It feels grungy and low-fi, which adds to the world.

Ana van Schie de Pont’s costume design helps to set the scene. Dakota and her best friend Treacle (Ariāna Osborne) are decked out in loud, punky costumes. While the supporting (and they really do support in every sense of the word) cast have flexible bases so they can flash between characters with a change of glasses, shoes, turban or dressing gown.

The plot sticks pretty closely to the original storyline, and all the characters are there, so those of you who (like me) loved the book as a pre-teen will not be disappointed.

After Dakota and Treacle accidentally spill the beans on what’s hidden in Medusa’s supermarket trolley, the precious item is stolen. Feeling responsible, the girls decide to break into the Broken Glass Fortress on Dog Island to get it back. After braving the polluted canal and monstrous eels and out-smarting the security system, they discover an even bigger secret …

Medusa (Amelia Rose Reynolds) is the faded diva, comically single minded in her pursuit of diamonds and love. Dakota’s mum, Lucy (also Reynolds), is charmingly bonkers and invigoratingly righteous. Lutz Hamm plays an infuriating and pathetic Henry, and Logan Cole delightfully disgusts as… actually, I won’t give away the ending. 

All in all, this is one hell of a rollicking ride, with slick stagecraft and pitch perfect performances.

Go see it if you can.

Here are links to reviews of the 2021 premiere season (with a different cast) in Whangarei – by:
Jan Fisher and Mary de Ruyter (TheatreScenes)


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