Fred’s, 46 Frederick Street, Wellington

16/02/2012 - 18/02/2012

NZ Fringe Festival 2012

Production Details

Honey never goes off. They found honey in Egypt, in the pyramids, in a pot or something, and they tried it and it was still really delicious and good. This play is about love and is about the universe and the mouse/cheese dynamic and will contain earnestness and stories and singing and flesh and shitty lyricism and honesty and almost certainly some kissing. It’s about love. Honey is written by Joseph Harper and has been made by Joseph and Virginia Frankovich and Chris Stratton and Ruby Reihana Wilson with music by Darian Woods.

Joseph Harper’s previous shows have been described as, “INTENSE YET LYRICAL, FRETTED WITH HUMOUR, ABSORBING AND STRANGELY LIFE-AFFIRMING” byJohn Smythe(Theatreview). Last year he was a nominee for the Billy T award, and he won Playmarket’s Playwrights B4 25 competition.

“So far this year I’ve mostly been just kind of hanging out, eating pizza and those instant spinach and ricotta ravioli things,” says Harper. “I’ve been playing a bit of cricket too.”

Freds on Frederick Street
Entry by koha
Thursday 16th – Saturday 18th February, 8:30pm 

A sweet play with a bit of a crunch and a lingering after-taste

Review by John Smythe 17th Feb 2012

Joseph Harper is a unique new talent on the theatre scene. At first blush he seems to deliver his stories and musings as unadorned chat then theatrical elements emerge and soon it transpires every placing of a prop or light has been well thought through. It’s theatre by stealth.

Likewise the casual nature of his presentation belies the rampantly inquisitive intelligence that drives his attempts to demystify life, the universe and everything. In Honey a wondrous dramatic unity is forged between black holes and mouse holes. The bigness and littleness of everything is ever-present in this extremely entertaining and absorbing 45 minute play.

Virginia Frankovich gives us the mouse-eye view of the world before she, as herself, encounters Joseph in some sort of limbo where a ‘voice of God’ – supplied by excellent live musician Darian Woods – interrogates them as to their fears and desires, specifically concerning ‘finding someone’. Inevitably they become a couple …

Their evolving relationship, and the Mouse interludes, are interspersed with Joseph’s erudite direct-address chats about the cosmos and our place in it, engagingly discussed in the context of his personal life experience. 

Counterpointing Mouse’s awareness of the ever-present dangers that hinder her abiding quest for cheese, and Joseph’s brain-boggling discoveries about black holes, event horizons and singularities, his and Virginia’s growing love is sweetly evoked – until he discovers honey “doesn’t go off” …

Can love ever have the same quality? Or does the quest for everlasting love fly in the face of natural and universal processes, like the quests for eternal youth, beauty and life? Is there hubris in attempting to become one with honey in order to avoid the demise of love?  

As the successor to his Bikes I Have Known versus Girl I Have Fallen In Love With and The Boy and the Bicycle, Honey confirms Harper as a profoundly interesting writer. His engagingly low-key performance style is beautifully matched by Frankovich and I would defy anyone not to want their relationship to last forever, as we contemplate the themes in the light of our own lives.  

In short, Honey is a sweet play with a bit of a crunch and a lingering after-taste.

Fred’s is a charming intimate space for this style of work but it deserves a larger audience in a more accessible venue. Meanwhile, catch it if you can. You won’t be sorry. 


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