Te Auaha - Tapere Iti, 65 Dixon St, Wellington

26/02/2021 - 28/02/2021

NZ Fringe Festival 2021

Production Details

Two friends. A shared dream. Two planets. One ticket.

Leah is going to Mars and she is taking nothing with her. On her last day on Earth, a visit from a troubled childhood friend causes her to question space, friendships and the passing of time.

Te Auaha – Tapere Iti, Level 1, 65 Dixon Street, Te Aro.
26 – 28 Feb 2021, 7:30pm
plus 4.30pm on 27 & 28 Feb 2021
General Admission $10.00
Concession $10.00
Fringe Addict $7.00
Book via Fringe
Wheelchair access available

Theatre ,

1 hr

Strong performances; script needs work

Review by Ines Maria Almeida 28th Feb 2021

Amy McLean and Abby Lyons are Deliriously Driven Productions, and talented actors who know their lines inside out. Together they star in One Way Ticket to Mars, an hour long play written by Esteban Jaramillo. The story takes place in the childhood bedroom of Leah (Abby Lyons), where characters come and go to process their grief at her impending departure to the Red Planet.  

Set designer Jasmine Bryham has cobbled together what seems like a nothing kind of bedroom but there are all kinds of hidden gems here that help me understand Leah and her past, like the Nighttime Stories for Rebel Girls and the posters on the wall that appear to have answers behind them – but not all the answers.

During the show, I’m impressed by the level of acting but the script falls short of what these actors are capable of. This is a story about childhood friendship between one strong woman and a more anxious one; how the friendship falls apart then manages to be repaired as one of them leaves.

There seem to be a lot of unsaid things going on: Why did they stop being friends in the first place? Why does Leah have a tendency to push people away and let her friendships end? This is her leaving party after all and, according to her, Amanda (Amy McClean) is the only friend from her past that has shown up.

There’s a lot left unsaid about Amanda’s troubles too. She’s got some kind of anxiety but we never learn why. At points it’s hard to believe that two people so different would ever be friends in the first place.

Oh, and don’t get me started on the boyfriend. The monologues Rogan (Felipe McDonald) has are effective, making him appear to be one of the most selfish, entitled boyfriends I’ve seen on stage in a long time. This is good acting but I can’t imagine a rebel girl like Leah even bothering with this kind of guy for a weekend, much less 3 years. She deserves a stronger boyfriend, one who actually wants to see her succeed.

But back to the girls. Leah is the clearly the alpha in this relationship that Amanda (aka beta) happily follows along, until they kick off their game of Pirates, Criminals, Knights and Astronauts – and this is where Amanda comes into her own as a real character, a real person coming out from beneath Leah’s larger than life shadow.

Does the play lend anything to the larger theme of the difficulty of holding onto friendships from our pasts as we grow? Not really, but it’s entertaining and we can only take so many ranty monologues.

My friend and I leave a bit confused and I’m not 100% sure what the takeaway is: when things get hard, run away to another planet to start over? Kill off the friendships that don’t serve you? Childhood memories are cute but ultimately not enough for an hour-long play?

I think with some script revisions and serious workshopping, this could become something worthwhile but in the meantime I’m going to follow the lovely Amy and Abby in their projects, present and future, as they’re the real talent here.  


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