Te Whaea - Basement Theatre, 11 Hutchison Rd, Newtown, Wellington

02/03/2020 - 08/03/2020

NZ Fringe Festival 2020

Production Details

This event is koha. You can reserve a ticket for $5, and/or koha directly at the door.

‘Hay in the Needle Stack’ follows hopeless romantic, kiwi-boy Harvey Meservy as he journeys across the globe to search for his love, Sophia who has lost contact with him 3 months into her O.E. On Harvey’s quest he crosses paths with a variety of strange and absurd characters whom either help or hinder his chance of finding his lass.

Come and immerse yourself in a beautiful story full of hope, love, laughs, suspense, music, movement and poetry.

Be sure not to miss your flight…

Te Whaea Dance and Drama Centre – Basement Theatre, 11 Hutchison Road, Newtown 
Monday 02 – Sunday 8 March 2020
(Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun only)
Price Koha $5.00
Book Now 

Wheelchair access available 

Theatre ,

45 mins

Becomes almost rhapsodic in nature

Review by Patrick Davies 04th Mar 2020

Hay In The Needle Stack is one of those gems you find at a Fringe – a smart, articulate piece of theatre that entertains, is extremely well performed and takes you on an unexpected journey.

‘Harvey Meservey’ (the performer – given this is a koha entry I can understand no programme, but I would have dearly loved to name you without wading through the admirers), goes on his OE at the end of his second year. The lone chair in the black space and the subject matter does tend to make me hope I’m not watching yet another ‘I’ve-been-overseas-and-learnt-something’ show. In one way this is what it is, and in so many other ways it’s utterly something else.

Let’s call the performer ‘Harvey’, as a name is much more relatable and for anyone who has been privileged enough to head overseas, this mahi is extremely relatable. Not that you need to have done, the narrative is so easy to follow and we all end up, like Harvey, not where we expected.

‘Harvey’ performs a dozen or so crystal clear characters with a high level of technical skill and a large repertoire of gesture and inflection both physically and vocally. Skipping effortlessly between a range of modes – spoken word, direct address, dance, repetitive gesture, etc – this is a master class in story-telling. The bare space surrounding the chair becomes an array of environments we never fail to see easily. 

His techniques for instantly stepping from one character to another is both skilful and inventive. At each turn he finds new ways to introduce or allow characters to interact that, while being a joy to watch, never take us out of the story.

Harvey heads to uni to study philosophy and the big questions. Of course, boy meets girl (Sophia), boy falls for girl (in an hilarious and cringe worthy way), then boy heads of on his OE. The parents have their views, his mates and girlfriend theirs. And then he’s off. Anyone who’s sat in an airport lounge will enjoy/endure the repetitious nature of Harvey’s ‘Delayed’ chapter of the performance.  

Its then that things go awry… and here is where you really lean forward in your seat (if you haven’t already). What follows is story, narrative, performance and the aforementioned philosophical questions colliding, making the ordinary, the extraordinary, the metaphorical and the idea of ‘real/self/ego’ up for grabs. While grounded, the story becomes almost rhapsodic in nature.  All the while messages from Sophia keep us from becoming adrift.

This performance and production really deserve the words tour de force. The generosity, connection with the audience and overall message make you leave walking on air. This is a must see, and I definitely hope there is a return season if you miss it amongst the melee of shows.

Quick question, Fringe marketing and Waka Maori [sic] Inc: does the website not do macrons or is this a choice?


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