Circa Two, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

01/03/2011 - 05/03/2011

NZ Fringe Festival 2011

Production Details

Bob Dylan’s blues harp will have a solo all of its own in Flect-Re-flect, the new multi-media work being created by Wellington composer Michelle Scullion and her company of musicians, singer-actors and dancers for the Wellington Fringe Festival in March. 

The harmonica was a personal gift to Scullion from the great man himself when he visited Wellington in during the 80s and they met back stage after a concert at Athletic Park. Scullion has been creating the songs for Flect-Re-flect using the poetry of the well-known New Zealand poet, the late Alan Brunton and the words of the late Sally Rodwell – both of Red Mole Theatre – as the basis for the lyrics. She wanted to pay special tribute to Brunton and decided to compose a solo that reflected Dylan’s trade-mark harmonica-playing in his honour. 

The show is a fast 75 minutes of non-stop music and song all composed by Scullion and performed by some of Wellington’s leading musicians and singers. In addition there will be dance, short monologues and scenes, together with projected film and imagery to reflect a variety of moods throughout the show.

Scullion worked with the iconic Red Mole Theatre Company in its heyday – composing music, performing and creating a CD with the group. Flect-Re-flect commemorates their work and provides a modern take on some of the more extraordinary scenarios created by Brunton and Rodwell. 

Circa Two – 1 Taranaki St
1 – 5 March 2011 – 7.30pm
Matinee: 2 & 5 March 2011 – 2pm
Bookings: bookings@melectra.com

$15, $12, $10 (special discounts for group of ten or more)

Performers in the show are:
Ale Acevedo
Sally Barratt-Boyes
Jacquie Fee
Brannigan Kaa
Matthew Pike
Peter Pritchard
Michelle Scullion
Scott Simpson
Grant Sutherland 

Design is by Wellington artist Stuart Shepherd.  

Great music to celebrate a breadth of work

Review by Fiona McNamara 02nd Mar 2011

Flect-Re-Flect is a musical commemoration of the work of Sally Rodwell, Alan Brunton and Red Mole Theatre company. As a tribute piece it works perfectly. Rodwell’s and Brunton’s words are treated sincerely and passionately, with each performer relishing his or her own role.

A collection of Brunton’s poems and scripts, and Rodwell’s monologues, have been assembled to make a show of about an hour fifteen, featuring a cast of ten: five dancer/singers and five musicians.

Stylistically matching Red Mole’s work, the production shows clear influence of the Dadaist movement. The twenty-five poems and scenes have each been put to music, of numerous different styles. Props too, fit the collage-aesthetic: a broom acts as a boom mic, and a camera case and a plastic cup are spray-painted gold as a tv camera, helping to create a collection of interesting stage images.

The music is excellent: a collection of rock, blues, classical and many more. However, sometimes it seems to take precedence over the words, and particularly the spoken word texts need to be articulated more clearly, as often they were difficult to follow.

The dancers worked well to created beautiful and controlled movement in the space, but I felt they were unfortunately held back from their full potential by the very small stage of Circa Two.

Though understandably a celebration of a breadth of work, the show did feel a bit too much like working through a list of songs. I guess that was partially the point, like looking through a photo album, however clearer links between sequences, and something made out of the transitions, would have made the evening feel more like a complete whole, flowing through as one event.

Red Mole itself was criticised for a lack of connection to audience, despite the obvious energy of the performers, and this seems to be the case here to. Though Melectra Productions clearly understands and loves the material, the links they have found between each piece are not communicated to the audience clearly enough for us to really be able to engage.

That said, if you are a fan of Red Mole, or if you’re looking for some great music this Fringe, this performance is not to be missed.  
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