(Not) The All India Radio Show
06/05/2008 - 10/05/2008
MOVE OVER SIMON AND WENDY, THE UNTOUCHABLES HAVE TAKEN OVER THE AIRWAVES
Respected institution, All India Radio, is getting the make over it never ever wanted. For the latest headlines, in-depth news coverage and analysis, you don’t want to be looking there.
The Untouchables Collective wowed the critics with their debut show "Yâtra: Journey for Identity" which was nominated for the "Most Original Production of the Year" at Wellington’s 2004 Chapman Tripp Awards and won two awards for the "Best Ensemble Cast" and "Best Newcomer" at the 2004 Wellington Fringe Festival Awards. Their second show "The Lambuji and Tinguji Show" charmed audience and critics alike.
For their third show, they may just disappoint them all …
Cast members are dropping off like flies, funding applications are being rejected and only half of the show has been written.
This isn’t fake news, it’s a car crash and they’ll be bloody lucky if this thing makes it to stage!
Dates: May 6th – May 10th, 9:30pm
Venue: BATS, 1 Kent Terrace, Wellington
Tickets: Adults $16, Concessions and Groups of 10+ $13 (service fees may apply)
Bookings: BATS – 04 802 4175 or www.bats.co.nz
Show Duration: 1 hour
1hr, no interval
Muddled, arbitrary, long
Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 11th May 2008
The (Not) The All India Radio Show is part of the NZ International Comedy Festival and is a devised work that took a group of community (amateur?) actors and a couple of Toi Whakaari graduates two weeks to create. I am surprised it took them that long on the evidence of their confused revue sketches which never took off as the group tried to mine some humour from an overused formula.
From its muddled opening sequence to its sudden arbitrary ending it never seemed to make up its mind whether the four reporters were working for a radio station or a TV channel with one reporter talking about viewers. There were moments when the satire seemed pointed and well aimed (at NCEA courses and a smarmy would-be politician with two wives running a superette (definitely not a dairy) across the road from the Beehive, but they were only moments in a long hour.
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Review by John Smythe 07th May 2008
In their media release, having listed their past triumphs (click on title above), The Untouchables Theatre Collective goes on to proclaim: "For their third show, they may just disappoint them all … Cast members are dropping off like flies, funding applications are being rejected and only half of the show has been written. This isn’t fake news, it’s a car crash and they’ll be bloody lucky if this thing makes it to stage!"
The programme reveals (Not) the All India Radio Show was "devised over two weeks with community actors & Toi Whakaari graduates." Two weeks"? It shows, and my inclination is to say it’s just not ready and leave it at that. But clearly a number of committed people have worked hard to get it this far and their efforts should be acknowledged. Besides, they are charging the standard BATS prices so the punters are entitled to see a review.
The idea is that four Indian radio reporters are out on their beats – although one refers to his "viewers" and the conventions of radio reporting are in no way employed. Mostly it looks and sounds like a stage show – that is given, I have to say, more dynamic credibility that it deserves by Arindam Sen’s excellent sound design.
The opening tableau, with the cast in white disposable overalls, suggests some kind of post apocalyptic scenario buy I think its supposed to capture an average night of TV news. Four storylines emerge.
The Political Editor – played in hard-to-listen-to strident tones that suggest extreme nervousness on the part of the actor – is covering the election campaign of an Independent Wellington Central candidate, ‘Monty’ Patel, who – with two wives – came to these shores with "the shirt on my back, two dollars in my pocket and a bag full of dreams." Having acquired two rental properties and a superette across the road from the Beehive, his new goal is to cross over to the corridors of power … This produces some good gags and a song – "He’s my Asian Salvation" – but doesn’t progress past the exposition phase.
A community reporter ventures into Upper Hutt to check out a feud between rival Hip Hop gangs, which gives rise to a quite amusing face-off sequence, but falters for having no sound dramatic foundation. And this reporter too over-acts to the point of unintelligibility. WE can’t see the character or the story for the acting.
The education correspondent conducts a more modulated, and so more effective, investigation into how and enlightened headmaster at Wellington Central High is finding educational opportunities in youthful rebelliousness and the potential for US-style high school massacres. Again there is potential, but it’s all played out at a level of hysteria that screams under-development and insufficient rehearsal.
The sports story involves our youngest Olympic hopeful in Beijing, home-schooled in Johnsonville and now hoping to win gold in rap-dancing (I think) – which may be a spin-off from the Upper Hutt story. Not sure. The juxtaposing of the stories, with everyone playing multiple roles, becomes confusing because they’re trying to deliver performance before the gestation has come full term.
Toi graduates Sarita So and Bryony Skillington deserve special credit for committing fully to their various roles, finding credible characters and giving their scenes good pace and focus. But that’s not sufficient to save the show as a whole.
This is not the first time a group with an established reputation has scored a prime spot in the comedy festival and turned in a dud. It happens. Shame all the same.
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