My London Sojourn

Te Karanga Gallery, Auckland

25/11/2009 - 27/11/2009

Production Details

"I never thought in a million years that one day I’d end up living in a basement with no windows, sharing my bed with a Brazilian Faggot."

You are all cordially invited to the theatre event of the year.
It’s the blackest shit, ever.

Think murder, think prostitution, think drugs, think incest, think pole-dancing for a geriatric . . .

Sainsbury’s latest play is about his harrowing time in London.
And it ain’t pretty.

The performance is PAY WHAT YOU THINK ITS WORTH.

Te Karanga Art Gallery
Upstairs, 208 Karangahape Road, Auckland, New Zealand
Start Time: 8pm
Wednesday, November 25 – Friday, November 27, 2009

CAST                             ROLES  
Thomas Sainsbury     – Thomas Sainsbury
Roberto Nascimento   – Roberto Nascimento, Antonia Prebble
Nic Sampson               – Nic Sampson, Tony Taylor
Serena Cotton             – Serena Cotton
Stephanie Lee             – Stephanie Lee
Martyn Wood               – Martyn Wood

Deeply funny, perfectly irreverent, intensely melodramatic, truly disturbing

Review by Lillian Richards 26th Nov 2009

I feel it is my moral obligation to state at the very beginning of this review that ‘I know Tom Sainsbury’ I know him as a dishevelled, talented, satirical, generous, writer, friend and playwright- so basically I know intimately the various selves he parodies in My London Sojourn. 

Thomas has been overseas for the past year (in London obviously but also in Canada, where he had a retrospectively amusing run in with fledgling owls, and America) and has returned to work on the script of a new television show (you will hear this mentioned in the play as he mercilessly blurs reality with hyperbole). 

Since his return saw him working on writing that wasn’t theatre, and theatre being where his true love lies (although there is that pesky novel at his periphery), he decided to knock together a play about his time spent in the Northern Hemisphere. And knock it together he did.

This is the standard Sainsbury criticism: edit your work. 

If he were to finely tune his work – if he were to really thresh the wheat from the chaff and take some time to weigh each line, each movement, each moment – then we would be facing down something more monumental on all those improvised stages-come-galleries he performs in. My London Sojourn could be shorter, tighter, tidier in general … Yet at the same time the play is about Sainsbury, so it could be argued that the slight dishevelment is merely an analogy for the playwright himself.

My London Sojourn was written for fun and it achieves this wholeheartedly. It shares the same lightness of step that other Sainsbury plays have; a certain insouciance that lives inside the oftentimes loaded chaos that is a Sainsbury play. The characters were all inspired by the real life dregs of society, the strange narratives of the quirky ("Sometimes I make up my own language, part Arabic, part Fairy")and the various run-ins Sainsbury experienced whilst overseas.

He manages to create circumstances that are amusing and challenging and stereotyped yet all with frayed edges. My London Sojourn stands at an intentional distance from Sainsbury’s other plays. Though clever in parts and deeply autobiographical, it is mainly just this: unadulterated entertainment.

Thomas Sainsbury acts in the play, playing himself along with Roberto Nascimerto (who is not only the producer but acts as Sainsbury’s smitten homosexual friend), Serina Cotton (who acts as multiple Serina’s from cop to British soap star), Nic Sampson (the ever brilliant actor stands out as more than Tom’s prop as a dope grower and a man gunned down), Martyn Wood (portrays a pretty strong cross section of British accents & homosexual scenarios), Stephanie Lee (the cop, the actor, the lesbo and other brilliant side kicks).

I might add here a wee note on the credit given to the ‘choreographer’ Keryn McMucho on the hand written paper flier that welcomes you upon entry. The moments where this choreography appears are easily some of the most delightful and hilarious theatre moments I have ever experienced. I would recommend going simply based on this.

The play is fast paced and utterly not boring, it’s deeply funny at times and mostly perfectly irreverent, intensely melodramatic and pretty often truly disturbing. At the end I asked a friend for their honest opinion and I think I heard him say ‘it was perfect’ and, as is often the case for me after witnessing a Sainsbury play, I would have to agree.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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Meet Sainsbury’s self-important denial-ridden bloody-minded control freak

Review by Nik Smythe 26th Nov 2009

It’s hard to tell what fraction if any of this story really happened, how much is poetically expressed with artistic licence, and how much is just made up for laughs. Whichever it is (probably the latter) it’s peppered liberally and uncompromisingly with gags and in-jokes – e.g. ‘New Zealand’s [sic] …they always give me a glowing review…’ (But unfortunately we weren’t in London to review the opening of his ambitious and unpaid-for gay father-lesbian daughter drama…)

In a number of roles each, Serena Cotton, Stephanie Lee, Nic Sampson and Martyn Wood accompany Sainsbury through the title journey, focusing primarily on his determined and desperate attempt to mount said production in the Westend; no messing around. Roberto Nascimento plays lovable gay Brazilian sidekick and patsy to Sainsbury’s self-important denial-ridden bloody-minded control freak.

The cast on the whole is excellent. Himself appearing in every scene, Sainsbury paints an altogether unflattering portrait throughout the eighty odd minutes, and I mean odd. Lying through his teeth at every turn, exploiting any and everyone in his sights by any and all means at and not at his disposal, there is pretty much nothing to like about this opportunistic young ferret. Somehow though, his bright-eyed innocence and his dog-with-a-bone determination in the face of adversity render him slightly lovable in a lost puppy kind of way.

As writer/director and performer of the character based on himself, My London Sojourn is perhaps the quintessential Thomas Sainsbury guerilla-theatre escapade. Conceptually broad, surreal and laden with deadpan wit, a lot of the play’s appeal comes from its sheer chutzpah. 

The collective energy of the company is alive and inspired, and the frequent hearty laughter of the audience is testament to the value of Sainsbury’s work as a playwright, director, performer and facilitator of highly worthwhile theatrical events. It’s hard to say what kind of longevity this particular show could have, but it was a privilege being there on the night.

Another glowing review …
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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