BATS Theatre, Wellington

13/03/2015 - 21/03/2015

NZ Fringe Festival 2015 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details

Ivan Johnston is a 30-year-old loser filling his days with delusions of being a rock star, despite not being in a band and living with his parents.

He lures his old high school band mates to a place they haven’t been in years, ensuring they… Don’t Ever Forget

Venue: BATS Theatre 
13-14, 17-21 Mar 2015
at 7.30pm
A$18.00 | C/Stu$14.00 | FA$12.00

Theatre , Musical ,

Honours the spirit of disfunctional bands

Review by Jo Blick 14th Mar 2015

The key to any play that involves a band is a realistic band name. Could there be a name more Rockquest than ‘Death Clunge’?….. I believe such a band could exist. 

Years after the death of rhythm guitarist Gavin, the members of ‘Death Clunge’ are brought together for the first time since their bitter post-Rockquest break up. Appearances are not what they seem and what was supposed to be a memorial turns into something more murky. Confrontation, recriminations and a trawl through Death Clunge’s greatest hits rapidly follow.

The five cast members are evenly matched and all get their moment to shine. Michael Trigg’s Ivan, the scrawny rock star wanna-be who’s currently  “between bands”, is by turns pathetic and devious as he manipulates his ex-bandmates. Adrian Weeks as Paul gets laughs for the dubiousness of his suit and his uptightness. 

Vanessa Kumar’s Tess (the Yoko of the band) puts a new spin on drunkeness before coming into her own and the suitably louche Jonty, played by Joe Dekkers-Reihana, subverts his velvet and silk Keith Richards get-up when he calms his squabbling ex-bandmates by introducing the “talking stick” and insisting they use their “inside voices”.

Susie Berry as Ivan’s internet date Phoenix 44 also has a bravura moment belting out ‘Lost Within My Cavernous Clunge’ at a volume that surely must have been heard by the patrons in the bar.   

Some of the pacing seems a little off in the early sections, with characters unbelieveably quick to reach peak anger, and towards the end things become so chaotic it is sometimes unclear what’s happening.

Jonty’s declaration of love in particular, seems to come from nowhere without any real dramatic purpose, other than giving the character a bit of a moment. It’s possible I missed something. It’s also possible that 50 minutes isn’t long enough for writer Simon John McCarthy to investigate all the nuances of his story.

Then there’s Tess’s business with the vodka bottles, which is very funny but comes perilously close to pulling focus.

I must also point out that Don’t Ever Forget is littered with ‘clunge’ jokes, but either it’s the most hilarious word in the world or I’m completely juvenile because it never ceases being funny. Feel free to argue about that amongst yourselves. 

Ultimately, Don’t Ever Forget is a blackly funny piece that honours the spirit of disfunctional bands everywhere. The thrash metal finale is a great way to tie up a show that may not perfect but certainly entertains. “May the Clung be with you.”


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council