Mystery Soup

Happy (Cnr Tory & Vivian), Wellington

21/02/2007 - 24/02/2007

NZ Fringe Festival 2007

Production Details

written by Pachali Brewster, Jo Bean and Jackson Coe
directed by Jo Bean and Jackson Coe

A man walks into a lazy jazz bar, anything could happen next…

Catch 22 Productions’ debut piece is directed by a dynamic duo from Victoria University. In just four nights from February 21st, they will attempt to… take over the world…and of course stun and amaze the unsuspecting audiences of Fringe 07.

Jackson Coe (entering his third year) and Jo Bean (recently completed a Theatre Degree) are newcomers to the Fringe festival. “We thought, why not see what we could do, so we knocked our heads together and a bunch of ideas fell out!” says Jo.

The story begins with Marvin who is playing a gig with his band the Lemon Pepper Lepers, but he has had a bad day and quite frankly would rather be anywhere else right now. Suddenly Marvin is dragged into an excitable vortex of coloured light and sound, to be given a mission by Charlie the Chef that he somehow cannot refuse.

Happy is the ideal venue for Catch 22 Productions to stage Mystery Soup. The cross between a bar and a jazz lounge caters to the strong element of live music within the 50-minute show; “we’re a musical bunch, with a hands on approach”

And just what is in this Mystery Soup? “It’s a bit of everything really; an adventure story where the fate of the world hangs in the balance for a moment, along with song, dance, and a barrel (should we say cauldron?) full of laughs!”

Marvin - Joel Baxendale

The Lemon Pepper Lepers:
Jazz/George - Rowan Miller
Henri/Will - Stuart Moore
Sal - Sylvie Kirkman
Garry Glam - Jackson Coe
Janet - Alexandra Nel
Knife/Greg - Louie Simpson
Nina - Pachali Brewster
Zoro/Soup Chef - Dillon Haines

Publicity Design/Costume - Sylvie Kirkman
Publicist - Stuart Moore
Stage Manager - Alexandra Nel
Lighting/Sound Design/Operation - Jo Bean
Musical Adviser - Rowan Miller
Marketing Adviser - Kathryn Jackson

Theatre ,

50 mins


Review by John Smythe 21st Feb 2007

I’m obliged to the Volcanoes Are Awesome crew for appraising me of the new genre that’s “meant to amateur, like amateur porn”. Mystery Soup at Happy is clearly another example only more so, in that there is no hint here of future promise. To label this script, its staging and acting “amateur” would be to insult a great many very talented hobby thespians.

Mystery Soup starts as a rock concert that falls apart when Marvin, the lead singer, throws a tantrum and storms off. Supposedly the night is saved by glamrock star Gary Glam who eschews actual singing – which is good ’cause he can’t – for telling a pointless story about a knife, a soup recipe and a nightmare … Meanwhile Marvin, on a tropical island, realises he needs to save his fans from Glam …

Cut to a family group welcoming a son home to dinner with his new girlfriend who is a blow up sex doll. A deeply shallow and unfunny scene ensues. “This is embarrassing,” the father character says. Exactly. Then Marvin returns to save the show … and doesn’t. No-one wants to join their conga although some are forced to.

Three times during Mystery Soup someone tells someone else that they and what they are doing is lame / stupid / idiotic. I can only agree.

“Don’t worry about any underlying meaning,” a programme note enjoins us, “it’ll only make your head hurt. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the show for entertainment’s sake.” Sure, I’d love to, but there is nothing here to draw my interest let alone hold it. And given the tepid applause has run dry by the time the cast gathers on stage for the ‘curtain call’, I don’t think I’m alone.

I thought this must be a bunch of ex-high school friends who’d been legends in their own common room and reunited to keep the fantasy alive. But I’m shocked to learn most of them met up at university. Not doing Drama papers, I hope.


Volcanoes Are Awesome February 23rd, 2007

Thats funny. John winns.

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