Dog with Two Tails, 25 Moray Place, Dunedin

06/05/2015 - 09/05/2015

Production Details


Four girls. Much beer. Many cheesecakes. A lot of rage. What could go wrong? Join us in this ukulele cabaret as we lose our cheese and crackers over bad pick up lines, catcalling and our lack of a feminist batcave. 

Counterpoint continues it’s bold, 2015 season with a world premiere from Wellington-based playwright, Alayne Dick. Feminist Fridays is based on Alayne and her friend’s “totes tru stories”, about periods, boys and everything in between. Counterpoint is very excited to be working with Alayne – particularly as we are bringing the work of an Allen Hall graduate, back to Dunedin, sticking to our mantra that we can make great things in our own backyard. 

Local brewery Emersons are proud to be on board as the presenting partner of Feminist Fridays. Counterpoint feel that both companies are passionate about their Dunedin heritage, so this partnership made complete sense to both companies.

Director Luke Agnew is very pleased to have a chance to work with one of his past classmates. In regards to the production, he says, “the show is about more than just feminism. It’s a show about breakups and boys. It’s a show about when to conform and when to not. It’s a show about music and about being a badass – but mostly it is a raucous good time!” Agnew said Counterpoint have been “so supportive. You need a lot of backing to actually get a show onto the stage, and the Counterpoint team have given me that. They’ve worked out all the details and I’ve been able to focus on directing a brilliant show.”

This stunning cast (a mixture of both new faces and familiar ones) not only act, but also sing and play ukulele in the show – which features both old favourites and original work – under the musical direction of Zac Nicholls, of local band The Violet Ohs. Agnew really wanted to add a “gig vibe” to the show, so has included musical interludes in the production, and partnered with Dog with Two Tails – a great local café and bar, which Agnew is repurposing as theatrical venue for this show.

Jordan Dickson, Counterpoint’s Communications Manager, says “we believe that theatre shouldn’t be restricted to the stage. We’re really grateful that Dog with Two Tails are opening their doors to Counterpoint; we are passionate about finding new and innovative ways to bring high quality performance to the Dunedin public, and we see this partnership with Dog with Two Tails as another way to achieve this.”

Feminist Fridays is the second show in the Counterpoint 2015 season and opens on May 6th at 7:30pm. Doors open and pre-show entertainment begins at 7:10pm.

Dates: 6th – 9th May, 7:30pm 
Venue: Dog with Two Tails, 25 Moray Place, Dunedin 
Tickets: $20 Full Price / $15 Concession 
Bookings: https://www.eventfinder.co.nz/2015/counterpoint-presents-feminist-fridays/dunedin

Theatre , Musical ,

More ‘Girl Power!’ than Feminism but still a quality show

Review by Alison Embleton 10th May 2015

Billing itself as Feminist Fridays is a bold choice for this production It sounds intimidating to those who are uninterested or hitherto uninformed about feminism and sets expectations high for those with existing feminist leanings.

The set-up is clear from the beginning of the show: four female archetypes throwing back a few and discussing their various interactions with sub-par males, body issues, social stigmas and many other female-centric issues. All thrown about and punctuated with a great range of well know songs.

The Dog with Two Tails café and bar is a great location for this production. The warm, kitschy décor creates a nice quirky vibe and sets the audience up for this high energy play-cum-ukulele cabaret. The actors use the small stage area extremely well and take the opportunity to interact with the audience as much as possible.

The lighting design is on point the entire time, creating a great atmosphere and keeping the ladies on stage creatively and effectively lit. Unfortunately one let-down of using this location is that the acoustics are not always in the actors’ favour. There are several moments throughout where the audience loses sections of lyrics that are significant to the characters’ storylines when the music overpowers their voices. 

One of the most delightful things about this production is the cast: four women who clearly love every minute of their own and each other’s performances.  They’ve been deftly directed by Luke Agnew, whose aim for this show is to bring feminism out in an accessible and contemporary way. The energy and spunk that Annica Lewis, Katie Stock, Sinead Fitzgerald and Rachel Chin bring to their respective roles is delightful and compelling to watch.

The musical direction of this production is exemplary. Zac Nicholls has taken four individuals with little to no experience with the ukulele and created a very solid musical performance. Combining the cast’s lovely vocal abilities with the ukulele, melodica and the (too often overlooked) kazoo to produce quirky renditions of all kinds of lady-ballads. The top contender being Spice Girl’s ‘Wannabe’, which is the high point of the night, combining all the quirky, hammed-up and delightfully choreographed components of the show together.

Each actor has at least one song she is able to call her own, and has the opportunity to shine and take centre stage.

While there is no overarching storyline as such, and so no build up or resolution to speak of, among the stories and songs there are a few short vignette scenes that are stand outs. The first is a scene that surrounds the concept of ‘selfies’ and pushes the story to the brink of a deeper discussion, but cuts it off short with a comic moment. And the second is a shout-out to some well-known and some lesser-known historical bad-ass ladies/feminists.

Overall Feminist Fridays is a great night out. Lots of creative (and some wonderfully crass) laugh-out-loud moments, plenty of insight into the life of the average twenty-something female and, as I’ve already said, a lot of great ukulele renditions (Beyoncé’s ‘No Scrubs’ is another highlight).

While the ambition is to make feminism accessible and part of everyday consideration and conversation, the script does fall short in this respect. It is clever, witty and hilarious but it doesn’t really explore feminism in any genuine sense. Stories are told in regard to cat-calling and other issues females have to endure on a daily basis, but other than mentioning them (and making some quality jokes about the situations) nothing is actually explored in any depth. So, while Feminist Fridays may push the uninitiated to consider women in a different light, it ultimately sends a message of ‘Girl Power!’, not feminism. But that does in no way detract from the fact that this is a quality production, and well worth experiencing.


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