GLOCKNID (DWARF WARRIOR) - Abby Howells
12/05/2015 - 16/05/2015
Glocknid (Dwarf Warrior) is a fierce and formidable dwarf warrior. She has fought dragons that shoot fire out of their eyeballs and other scary stuff, like orcs. Glocknid’s hobbies include fighting people and fatally stabbing them.
This Comedy Festival, Glocknid is going to perform some stand-up comedy.
“Dwarves are not known for doing comedy. They are better known for other stuff, like having beards, fighting and their ability to withstand magical spells. There’s an old dwarf expression that goes ‘Dwarves don’t do comedy’. So this whole business has been pretty difficult for my family to accept. I’ve been banished from the mines for sixty years.”
Glocknid (Dwarf Warrior) Tells Her Fleshy Public Of Her Greatest Ever Battle is presented not under duress by Big Lies Theatre Company – a newly formed theatre company that focuses on producing uniquely theatrical experiences (Nominated Best Newcomers NZ Fringe 2015).
Written by Abby Howells (Winner Best Comedy Winner Dunedin Fringe 2012), directed by Alex Wilson, and performed enthusiastically by Glocknid, this one-dwarf-warrior-play is to be a once in a lifetime event – a dwarf warrior slaying a crowd not with her butchering fists but with her butchered attempts at comedy.
Tue 12 – Sat 16 May, 6.30pm
Groups 6+ $13.00* service fees may apply
04 802 4175
Stand-up comedy , Comedy ,
Really cool and interesting character; clunky show
Review by Shannon Friday 14th May 2015
Behold, oh mortals, as I sing a song of heroes on a mighty quest. At the center is Abby Howells, she who is slight of frame and small of voice, to weave a tale of the grand heroine Glocknid, Dwarf Warrior.
As a mortal may one day take leave of her body, so has our heroine Glocknid taken leave of the dwarven kingdom beneath the mountains to present her story. Having read but one tome on stand-up and but one more on friendship, she tells a tale of heroes, friendship, orcs, epic battles with siblings, wizards, and a surprisingly philosophical dragon.
(From this point on, I’m dropping the faux-epic tone, because it is startlingly hard. Well done to Howells for nailing it.)
From the moment we enter the theatre, Amand Gerbault-Gaylor’s pre-show music places us entirely and so specifically in the world we’ve entered. Howell’s first appearance in Anna Stuart’s delightfully over-large and slightly tatty armour (with the best dwarf skulls in Wellington theatre) tells us exactly who this character is trying to be.
The show exists in two parts: first Glocknid’s attempts at stand-up and comedy, and then her attempts at acting (lying, in the dwarven construct) and storytelling. After a short (failed) attempt at human comedy, Glocknid then tells us the story of how she overcame a dragon and became a hero (kind of).
Howell has chosen what might be the most difficult theatrical conceit to pull off ever. It is very, very hard to make a good show as done by a character who is bad at making shows. It might be an impossible quest, and I kind of wish folk would just stop doing it.
With Glocknid, the team clearly has enough talent to make a show that works really well, so just filter that show through the consciousness of someone with a totally different frame of reference. It would work equally well, I think, to have Glocknid fail at human stand-up but co-opt theatre for some dwarf saga time.
The show is clunky. About two-thirds of the time the clumsiness works because Glocknid’s character is so delightfully awkward, but the other third of the time it feels like a cop-out for theatre makers who can’t figure out a better way to solve story problems or represent crazy-cool fantasy stuff onstage. For example, an early gag where Howell /Glocknid has to jump /run /scuttle from place to place to play multiple characters in a scene wears thin after spoiling the pace in the first scene, but then it keeps happening for the rest of the show.
In contrast, the staging of the dragon, who we never see except as a red light and voice over the speakers, is effective and imaginative, and the ‘less you see, the more you know’ light /dark encounter with the wizard works marvelously. Darryn Woods makes some bold lighting choices, and they pay off big time.
And Howells’ Glocknid is a really, really, really cool and interesting character. I like the mash-up of epic fantasy tropes and OMG-bashful-girlyness that I never get to see play an important part in epic fantasy. I mean, even Sansa Stark has to harden up to survive.
The best-written and most natural humor in the show comes from the contrast between the stereotypical young woman’s vernacular and Glocknid’s attempts at creating a stereotypical heroic epic. And I like seeing Howell playing with her typical casting (e.g. Beards, Beards, Beards) without rejecting what I find appealing about watching her onstage.
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer