BATS Theatre, Wellington

04/12/2007 - 15/12/2007

Production Details

Out of the paddocks and into the shed

An hour of hokey-pokey gumboot throwing blokes and sheep. It’s flat stick, open slather on the doodackie huru we call home.

This small but perfectly formed tiki-tour of NZ, examines everything from the hidden humour of starfish, the sensitive poetic side of the man alone, to the sticky side of adventure tourism.

Featuring Will Harris, Paul McLaughlin and Peter Rutherford as you’ve never seen them before.

Ladies bring a plate. Blokes bring a crate. Book early to ensure a good seat on the bus and remember – don’t feed the sheep.

BATS theatre
Tue 4 – Sat 15 December (no show Sun/ Mon)
6.30 pm
$18 full / $12 concession & groups of 8+
Bookings: Ph 802-4175    www.bats.co.nz

For a special sneak preview you can catch our sheep in a 48hr film at www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPO833-tj3g

Or simply go to www.youtube.com and search for ‘la promenade des moutons’.

Will Harris
Paul McLaughlin
Peter Rutherford
Sound - Stephen Gallagher
Costumes - Zoë Fox

Theatre , Comedy ,

Giggles and warm fuzzies

Review by Lynn Freeman 17th Dec 2007

At the end of a long hard year you want just want to have a laugh and you’ll get them at godzone.  Though this collection of street theatre pieces by loonesco clearly work far better out on the street, with milling crowds and more opportunity for audience participation.

There’s no chance to choice your seat and sit comfortably here, chances are one of the black singleted ones will round you up and herd you into the front rows – this reluctant reviewer earned a clip around the ear with a stick so my advice is do as they say! Be a sheep if you must.

Paul McLaughlin, Peter Rutherford and Will Harris are the current line-up, Will being one of the founders of loonesco back in 2005. The group tours festival and are perfect festival fare – on a small black stage they felt a bit claustrophobic.

There are some crack ups in the routine, from the opening slide show sequence of New Zealand’s recent history to the sheep threesome (Will Harris is the world’s funniest sheep impersonator) to the three cleaning women and a long but entertaining routine on a building site – great stuff.  Some of the show is less successful, notably the starfish, once you’ve stropped giggling at the fuzzy outfits it’s a bit of a dud and a long one at that.

But let’s not get too serious about a show that’s designed to share a few laughs, which it does.


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Gentle spoof on Kiwi men

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 06th Dec 2007

The silly season just got a whole lot sillier with the arrival of three Kiwi blokes in shorts, singlets, and gumboots on stage at Bats where, to quote the publicity, it’s open slather on the doodackie huru we call home. The hour-long show starts with a splendidly incompetent backyard attempt at This is New Zealand complete with Sibelius on a scratchy soundtrack and an OHP projecting many pictures upside down. The show ends with some dancing that is a lot better than better than Rodney Hide’s.

Being Kiwi blokes there’s not much dialogue, though Paul McLaughlin does get briefly poetical in one sketch. With the exception of three cleaning ladies, sheilas don’t appear to have much importance in Godzone. No, it’s male competitiveness that drives these blokes.

Most of the competitiveness (and the humour) is of the subtle one-upmanship kind: some construction workers vie with each other in drilling holes; two campers compare their tent poles for length; and three athletes get stroppy with each other before they waddle off into a walking race. However, they do get a bit aggressive round the barbie when they try to out do each other in providing an animal to cook.

But this gentle spoof of the world of the good keen man can suddenly veer off into another world altogether: under water with a hypochondriac starfish or into a paddock with some very silly sheep trying not to be sheep, or up in the air for a running gag about a terrified skydiver.

Zoë Fox’s costumes are terrific, particularly the starfish; Steven Gallagher’s sound design is great; and Paul McLaughlin, Peter Rutherford and Will Harris keep the show running smoothly with rapid costume changes and they garner the laughs with a whimsical humour tinged with pathos that reminded me at times of Jacques Tati.

As a Christmas present Godzone would make an excellent stocking-filler.


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A series of mostly whimsical ideas

Review by John Smythe 04th Dec 2007

Godzone is a really obvious idea that gets away with itself because, as I recall, no-one has really trodden this track since Bogor went up in (aromatic) smoke and Footrot Flats was put out to pasture. Besides, this take on the classic Kiwi joker – not to mention the odd woman, sheep and starfish – is not entirely predictable.

It could be richer, denser, deeper, more dynamic … Indeed the odd climax would not go astray. But thanks to Flight of the Conchords (Bret and Jemaine) and The Humourbeasts before them (Taika and Jemaine), ‘laid back’ is the name of the comedy game these days and Godzone adheres to the fashion.

The trick is to take nothing – silence, stillness; faces and bodies in expressionless repose – as the starting point, so that when something does materialise on the ‘blank canvas’ it’s all the more magical. This is second nature to Will Harris and Paul McLaughlin and Peter Rutherford follow suit to generally pleasing effect.

Rather than give full expression to their distilled and magnified clown personae, they play gently with clown-like elements, eschewing pratfalls for pathos.

A long white sheet adorns BATS’ black box stage to become the screen for an amusing OHP slide show evoking a classic 1950s view of ‘Godzone’. Then it’s a building site where equally retro gags – like Peter’s accident-prone chippie – are superseded by ingenious optical illusions to win good laughs. Their Cleaning Women need more work; another fold or two to help their segment rise better to the occasion.

From a well-conceived sky-diving sketch – which turns out to be a running (falling?) gag – we plunge deep beneath the sea to tune into the inane conversations of three brightly hued starfish. Next, Will’s bumblebee outfit give Paul and Peter pause. But the real camp bit comes with pitching a tent just before the heavens open: a high point in Steven Gallagher excellent soundscape.

While Paul’s bush poet is the most loquacious anyone gets all night – well, in the hour or so the show takes – the body language of their three sheep speaks volumes on the desire to belong yet be an individual; the ensemble work here is sheer delight. Zoe Fox’s costumes, by the way, are wondrous to behold.

There’s a walking race, a barbecue that has a go at our need to always go one bigger and better, and song and dance to finish off.

The many and seamless costume changes are effortlessly woven into the unbroken fabric of the show. And it remains a series of mostly whimsical ideas, yet to be formed into a whole that transcends itself, which may or may not be loonesco’s goal. Meanwhile you could do a lot worse with an hour of your life.


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