My Complicated Relationship with Laurie Anderson
02/03/2007 - 04/03/2007
Created and performed by Charlotte Everett
Directed by Patrick Graham
Brains in aquariums, resin sheep, heated phone conversations with an American idiot – a solo musical comedy that’s sharp as a knife; hard as a diamond…
Something truly unusual and NOT to be missed! Book your tickets now to see the world premiere of a show that really is in a league of its own.
Created and performed by Charlotte Everett, My Complicated Relationship with Laurie Anderson is a cabaret-style drama about what can happen when a fan decides to do a tribute show – is Charly really an obsessed fan? You decide!
Everett takes her audience on a roller-coaster journey through cult performance artist Laurie Anderson’s work, as well as her own – all with the help and guidance of Gareth, her aquarium-dwelling brain…
Featuring new live music composed by Robbie Ellis, Charly sings, dances and story-tells her way through Saddam Hussein’s hanging, controversial Vice Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon (ex Victoria) putting live lambs into the freezer, and even Buddhist philosophy.
The show is directed by Patrick Graham, no stranger to the Wellington Fringe Festival and an up-and-coming writer and director of critical acclaim.
Theatre , Solo ,
1 hr 10 mins, no interval
Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 06th Mar 2007
Charlotte Everett’s solo show My Complicated Relationship with Laurie Anderson at the Bluenote Bar also goes the way of Life’s a Drag and many other shows written by the performer in that they end up writing for themselves far more than the audience. As a consequence the shows become self indulgent, over exaggerated and gratuitous: a major fault of Everett’s piece.
It initially began as a tribute to the music of Laurie Anderson, a female Leonard Cohen of the 1980’s who became famous for the way she incorporated technology into her music, but such was Everett’s difficulty in getting the rights to perform her music, having to continually work through Anderson’s agent, that she decided to write about this, hence the title of her show.
Everett also uses the show as a "journey of self discovery" and so discusses everything from Buddhism, to sheep, to her brain, yet nothing ever really transpires about her complicated relationship with Anderson. Nor do we ever get to hear any of Anderson’s unique style of musicianship making this yet another disappointing Fringe Festival production.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Review by John Smythe 03rd Mar 2007
The programme note for My Complicated Relationship with Laurie Anderson tells how its creator, Charlotte Everett, determined to mount a tribute show to American multi-media performance artist Laurie Anderson as part of her final year’s work towards her Masters degree at the University of Auckland. "I submitted a proposal to Anderson," she writes, "and so the nightmare began!"
The "nightmare" turns out to have been the need to get her show together in the face of non-communication from Anderson’s manager. But the show that ensues, based on this experience, includes nothing of that looming deadline and downward pressure, so the reconstruction-cum-deconstruction of ‘Charly’s experience – delivered somewhat in the style of Laurie Anderson but with nothing like the multimedia technology she had at her disposal – does not reach the level of nightmare.
In the run up to the show proper, a stressed-out Everett yells and snaps at her stage manager / front of house person / publicist Josie Dodds and the rest of her crew. For a moment this is diverting but, once you realise it is ‘pretend’ and part of the show, it soon becomes tiresome.
A phone call from Charly’s depressed brain, Gareth, which resides in a small fish tank and is voiced live by the director and multimedia operator Patrick Graham, opens the show and such calls recur throughout.
There is a stylised birth sequence, Anderson songs (they did get the rights) and original songs (music Robbie Ellis; lyrics Charlotte Everett), a flute rendition of something Anderson played on a violin, something about Cowboys and Indians involving Ken dolls …
The "didactic comedy" content includes a rave about the hypocrisy inherent in the practice of most religions with particular reference to the execution of Saddam, a musing about singers who become politicians and vice versa, a critique of Vice Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon sung in floral gumboots and an American accent (?!) …
A chat with a glove puppet Laurie (literally a white glove with red lips) brings cogent advice to Charly: "Quit trying so damn hard. Just be yourself. Be a storyteller." The personal story that follows is something of a modern parable. I’d have preferred it unembellished with electronica music, not least because it gives the impression Charly is still trying to be like Laurie, but it does serve to ground the disparate elements.
The too-late call from Laurie’s manger leads to the finale: a Laurie Anderson bed time song for Gareth.
In the end I come away thinking Charlotte Everett has a good singing voice and is a talented flautist, she and her team make a good fist of putting a show together, there are some wacky ideas and clever use of props, the pretence that they are a dysfunctional and ill-prepared team justifies the lack of production values theoretically … But nothing has really got to me at any level.
Despite the changes My Complicated Relationship with Laurie Anderson has undergone since its workshop style performance in 2005, it still looks like a show that only exists because someone had to put on a show.
[One more Fringe show to go. Someone observed the other day that as the Fringe has progressed I have become harder to please. He’s right. But while few will have seen as much as I have, those ‘addicts’ who have made their paid-for choices and missed out on other shows are just as likely to get impatient with dross – are they not?]
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