BATS Theatre, The Heyday Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington
12/02/2019 - 16/02/2019
Order Up is serving you the stories that tell the truth, struggles and common stigmas hospitality workers experience with the people they serve.
“Only a life lived to the service of others is worth living.” – Albert Einstein
Wellington’s newest young theatre company arising from Victoria University of Wellington bring you their debut show, Order Up.
Wellington’s restaurant/ café/ bar/ fast-food scene is forever growing. Creating jobs and huge business is a strong player in the city’s cultural capital and charm. Food prices are high, the wages are low, but good service is relentless and the struggle is real – for the workers.
Order Up is a newly written and devised Cabaret show inspired by the stories of Hospitality workers local to Wellington. It is VUWAE’s (Victoria University of Wellingtons Actors Ensemble) premier show.
This show contains harsh language, strobe lighting and references to sexual harassment.
Get a 6 Degrees Festival Season Pass to see 3 shows for just $36.
BATS Theatre: The Heyday Dome
12 – 16 February 2019
Full Price $18 | Concession Price $14
Group 6+ $13 | Student Night Wednesday $12
*Access to The Heyday Dome is via stairs, so please contact the BATS Box Office at least 24 hours in advance if you have accessibility requirements so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Read more about accessibility at BATS.
Victoria University of Wellington’s MFA (CP) Programme presents ‘6 Degrees Festival’. Opening in February 2019 at BATS Theatre, the season consists of 6 shows all led and created by masters students at Victoria University. It aims to introduce new emerging artists; demonstrating the knowledge and experience we have all gained throughout our degree. From Shakespeare set in a drag club to a cabaret about hospitality; a marine biologist’s biographical comedy to a play all about the dream world; you will not get a more diverse season. These shows include both devised and scripted performances and an NZ premiere under the supervision and mentorship of Victoria staff. Find out more about the festival on their website www.6degreesfestival.com.
More than an amuse-bouche: a hearty buffet
Review by John Anderson 14th Feb 2019
We are welcomed into the space and seated by a host of young waiters and serving staff. The light-handed but deft playing of a keyboard, concertina, and bass pick up the pace and we’re into our first ensemble song.
The cabaret-style opening number quickly informs us that Order Up! will deliver us a view of society through the stories of ‘hospo’ workers: baristas, front of house, fast food workers and more.
Order Up! is the premier show for newly-formed Victoria University of Wellington Actors Ensemble which aims to create ‘exciting theatre which appeals to the young people of Wellington’. Starting with an emotionally wide range of situations, improvisation and skits about an occupation many people have worked through, regardless of age, seems a sharp choice.
As the stories come through thick and fast – of the hapless newbie, challenging customers, the grind and humiliation of the industry – chuckles and groans of recognition are ignited within from the audience. I certainly know that this young ensemble captures my experience working at Georgie Pie drive-through pretty much pitch perfectly.
A particular highlight is an interlude with Harri Hashim illustrating his barista skills which ends with an improvised rendition of Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. The warmth on display nicely illustrates the themes of camaraderie, contradictions and, most of all, the loneliness of the job. This is now a feature on the company Facebook page where you can “Tag your Valentine and make a song request to see Harri perform it!!!! Love is in the air!!!”
There are plenty of laughs but also moments of thoughtful resonance. Standouts for me are Kate Aschoff’s layered soliloquy of a harassed cafe worker; novel use of a saxophone by Teag McKay; Logan Delaney’s evangelical exhortation for the power of the waiter. Jack Carroll’s contribution to the cabaret singing is a particular treat. But this is truly an ensemble piece and you will find your own moments within it.
The instrumentation underpins the show extremely well and the staging allows a variety of bars, drive-throughs and cafes to be quickly pulled together. The lighting (David Conroy) and sound (Ryan Mead) are unobtrusive and on point.
Director Nino Raphael and his team have created a space for a variety of young Wellingtonians to tell their work stories. In the Directors’ Note he says, “Though I love my part time coffee making job – and always have – this show is about the injustice and unfairness, but also camaraderie and love for human connection.”
This is indeed a tall order, but two years of work has paid off and it serves up more than just an amuse-bouche but indeed a hearty buffet. It also is an excellent contribution to the Six Degrees Festival at BATS which is running for the rest of the week.
VUWAE is a group to watch with big ideas, a lot of talent and a truly collaborative feel. Order Up! is a great night out where you will find yourself not only sharing stories afterwards, but given the opportunity to reflect on an industry that too often, despite being at the front of house, fades into the background.
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