LOVE IN THE KEY OF BRITPOP
Fringe Bar, 26-32 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington
25/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
Anglophile Aussie girl meets English boy in an indie disco. A blur of love, gin, and passionate Britpop debate ensues. But is sharing music taste enough?
“A must-see for anyone who grew up in the 90s” The Scotsman.
Venue: Fringe Bar
Dates: February, 25, 26, 27, 28
Duration: 55 mins
Prices: Full $16 | Concession $12 | Group $12 | Fringe Addict $12
| Artist Card Free
Theatre , Musical ,
Emotional story affectingly told
Review by Michael Gilchrist 26th Feb 2014
If you haven’t heard a lot of live, spoken word performances – and you’re interested in what this medium can deliver – make sure you catch Emily Andersen’s Love in the Key of Britpop, at the Fringe Bar until Saturday.
Spoken word is just what it sounds like – performance poetry enriched, since the sixties, by currents like rap and slam poetry. A lot of its enchantment lies in its fusion of the very traditional and the very contemporary. Its rhythms and rhymes seem to play on some ancient part of our cultural brain and the rapt attention Andersen elicits from the opening night audience has a magical quality at times. That’s also due of course to her skill with this medium. Her writing is beautifully balanced between narration and reflection, the colloquial and the lyrical and shows a great sense of how Britpop song lyrics can be woven like sparkles into, well, life’s rough tapestry.
A lot of Fringe Shows relate strongly to our contemporary drinking culture without exploring that culture very thoroughly. Here we find plenty of insights into the drinking-dancing-music complex and how it can frame – and interact with – our most important relationships. And the emotional story itself is affectingly told, with every detail working and a compelling honesty in play. Andersen is a richly talented writer.
In the biographical notes to the show Andersen records that she was lucky enough to be mentored by the late, legendary Dorothy Porter. In the spirit of that truly kick-ass Australian writer and woman I’ll be blunt enough to say that Andersen could do a lot more to match the quality of her material with the quality of her delivery. She needs to work on her voice, particularly ensuring that she maintains vocal energy right to the end of sentences (and beyond) and cuts down on high rising terminal inflections. More variation in pace and tone and more clarity of diction would also contribute to a more powerful delivery.
My feeling is that this is a text that has a lot more potential to be opened up to dramatic effect. More could be done too with integrating some of the sounds of Britpop itself with the performance. As with most poems, a bit of top and tailing wouldn’t go astray either, particularly in terms of the tail. This is a very well sustained story but it does feel like it could and should end once or twice before it actually does.
Having said all this, special mention must be made of Andersen’s professionalism and concentration, which are exemplary in the case of some very unhelpful noises off toward the end of the performance.
I won’t spoil the story for those who get along to the Fringe Bar in the next few nights. The genius is in the details of this girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gains herself love story. You will need to know, for example, exactly why ‘bar’ rhymes with ‘foie gras’.
Let me just say that those who do make it will be rewarded with a memorable, indeed compelling, hour’s entertainment.
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