The Salon, 103 The Strand, Tauranga

20/10/2011 - 29/10/2011

Ginger Meggs Salon, Avonhead, Christchurch

20/09/2011 - 01/10/2011

Patrick’s Hairdressing, Ward St, Hamilton

25/06/2010 - 04/07/2010

Fallen From Grace Hair Salon, 64 Ghuznee St, Wellington

19/02/2010 - 06/03/2010

Flair Hair Design, Wanaka

16/04/2013 - 21/04/2013

Solo Salon, Nelson

24/10/2013 - 27/10/2013

Tauranga Arts Festival 2011

Christchurch Arts Festival 2011

Nelson Arts Festival 2013

Southern Lakes Festival of Colour

Production Details

SALON is the prequel to the multi-award winning show HOTEL, which premiered in 2007 and has continued to tour New Zealand since then. Created by the group, this show is an exploration of the world of hair styling and of the people who work in and go to hair salons.

SALON is a site-specific work, and will be performed to audiences of only 15 per show in an up market hair salon in the heart of Wellington city’s Cuba St precinct. The show features a 100% NZ music soundscape designed by Stephen Gallagher (The Lovely Bones) and features Wellington’s finest acting talent in an intimate glimpse into this world of gossip and intrigue, fashion and faade, illusion and reality.

SALON illuminates some of the stories and characters established in HOTEL; the first show in the series, which has enjoyed sell-out seasons at Festivals in Wellington, Taupo, Nelson and Tauranga.

SALON will premiere as part of the Wellington Fringe Festival, then go on tour, with its first scheduled season as part of the ERUPT! Taupo Arts Festival in May 2010.

SALON features Simon Vincent (Year of The Rat, Metamorphosis, Chapman Tripp Award winner for Best Supporting Actor) as Senior Stylist, Sophie Hambleton (Rock and Roll, The Little Dog Who Laughed) as The Apprentice, Renee Sheridan (A Streetcar Named Desire, The Little Dog Who Laughed) as The Air Hostess, Jane Waddell (The Clean House, Mammals [Chapman Tripp Award for Best Supporting Actress], Director of the Year for Home Land) as The Mother and Richard Dey (Entertaining Mr Sloan, Sensible Susan and The Queen’s Merkin) as Random Guy off the Street.

SALON is directed by the producer of the site-specific group, Paul McLaughlin. Paul is an award winning actor (Actor of The Year 2004 – Albert Speer), director and producer. His most recent directorial position was for the critically acclaimed NZ premiere The Blackening; for which Jed Brophy won Actor of The Year 2009.

SALON has been commissioned by The Lake Taupo Arts Festival Trust with generous support from Creative New Zealand and design partners Neogine Design and Communication. is a Wellington based theatre group committed to world class theatre in found locations.

“The performances – if that’s the word – are impeccable. Even as they share the space with each other, and us, the sense of separateness – of aloneness more often than not – is wondrously achieved. Humour and pathos, darkness and light, reality and deception meet and blend to cast a mesmerising spell. This is a very special piece of truly intimate theatre that is well worth your making an effort to see.” – Theatreview, HOTEL, 2007   

Fringe 2010 Season:
Fallen From Grace Hair Salon, 64 Ghuznee St, Wellington
20 February – 06 March 2010
BOOKINGS: Fallen From Grace, 04 384 3982 

Festival of Colour 2013

Venue: Flair Hair Design

Click on a time to book here: 
Tuesday 16th April: 7:00 PM8:30 PM
Wednesday 17th April: 7:00 PM & 8:30 PM
Thursday 18th April: 7:00 PM & 8:30 PM
Friday 19th April: 7:00 PM & 8:30 PM & 10:00 PM
Saturday 20th April: 7:00 PM & 8:30 PM & 10:00 PM
Sunday 21st April: 7:00 PM & 8:30 PM

Nelson Arts Festival 2013  

VENUE Solo Hair Salon (assemble next door at Olive Café)
DATE Thurs 24 Oct 7 pm & 8.30pm
Fri 25 Oct 7pm, 8.30 pm & 10 pm
Sat 26 Oct 7pm, 8.30 pm & 10 pm
Sun 27 Oct 7pm & 8.30pm
DURATION 55 mins no interval
GA Seating $40
Plus service fee
Book Now » 

Simon Vincent (in Hamilton: Paul McLaughlin), Sophie Hambleton, Renee Sheridan, Richard Dey and Jane Waddell 

SALON in Christchurch & Tauranga, 2011:
Hugh:  Toby Leach
Skarlette:  Sophie Hambleton
Jimmy:  Richard Chapman
Anne:  Danielle Mason
Kate:  Yvonne Martin

SALON in Nelson 2013:  
Hugh:  Alex Greig
Skarlette:  Jean Puawananga

Intruding on an intensely private episode

Review by Joanna Divett 26th Oct 2013

I arrive outside the hair salon with a few minutes to spare before the show begins. I am greeted by a women with a list who asks me to wait with the rest of the audience. Following her gesture the audience reveals itself out of the dozen or so people seated outside the neighbouring restaurant. When the last name is ticked off, we are escorted down an alley beside the restaurant. A man who appears to have had a head injury catches up to us and begins talking. I can’t quite catch what he is saying but I suspect the show has begun.  

As we file in through the back of the salon we pass a young women in the throes of a Bridget-Jones moment, crying, wine glass in hand. One audience member laughs – “Are you alright?” – but there will be no slipping out of character in this show. We are seated on a long bench, just long enough. It’s padded but there is no backrest and we all shimmy and shake for a few moments to get adjusted.

The bright revealing lights that always make me squirm in hair salons are on full blare and I can see other members of the audience in the mirrors. We are at times only centimetres from the actors. This is naked theatre.

We are introduced to Hugh, Jimmy and Skarlette (played by Alex Greig, Richard Chapman and Jean Puawananga Sergent respectively). There is tension in the air right from the first scene, and our heads turn simultaneously from left to right like a line of porcelain heads at a fair, as we try and catch snippets of the plot and follow the actors as they come and go.

The plot thickens when Anne (played by Renee Sheridan) arrives through the front door followed closely by Kate (Jane Waddell). These are not just ordinary customers it seems. Connections between the characters are revealed, emotions run high and a shocking unexpected ending leaves us all gasping for air. 

The actors bow and then quickly shuffle to the back room where we can still see them as we leave. I can’t believe that they are not their characters! As we are spewed back out onto the street I can’t shake the feeling that I have just intruded on an intensely private episode in the lives of 5 strangers. It was all very convincing.


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Nice insights and clever lines

Review by Nigel Zega 17th Apr 2013

The Southern Lakes Festival of Colour launched in the style audiences have come to expect, with a range of shows to tempt just about everyone.

In the morning Baby O and Ivy catered for babes in arms and kids respectively, while the first treat for adults came from a highly professional lunchtime concert from the charming New Zealand Guitar Quartet.

In the evening Salon from Site Specific Theatre crammed a capacity audience of 15 into a local hair salon for an intimate and thought-provoking show.

Once you get over being part of the action, seated as if waiting for the next available stylist, you realise you’re eavesdropping on the kind of conversations you could pick up on in reality.

Overheard lines, initially disjointed, coalesce into stories, and people’s pasts and futures emerge from the controlled chaos of a working salon environment.

Unexpected events expose the baggage that the characters carry, and set the stage for an uncertain future.

Ricky Dey is a standout as the damaged Jimmy, befriended by Acushla-Tara Sutton’s ambitious yet sulky trainee.

Director Paul McLaughlin plays sympathetic salon owner Hugh at two levels, angrily loud and sensibly quiet, which is startling in such a small space, and clients Jane Waddell and Renee Sheridan may soon be emotionally scarred from having their hair done twice a night.

The show has nice insights and clever lines, and although it is slow in parts and explosive in others, its very unevenness and lack of resolution are exactly what you might expect from worthy reality theatre.


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Filling in the gaps is just part of the appeal

Review by Alan Scott 22nd Sep 2011

Salon is unusual and quite striking theatre. It is a slice-of-life piece actually staged in a real salon, the well known Ginger Meggs, now relocated, courtesy of the earthquake, to Avonhead.    

With room for only a small audience of about twenty, and with the actors just a few feet away, it is an intimate affair, where you don’t just feel the atmosphere; you can practically smell it. It nearly passes for real life, and you sit in your chair, almost expecting that any minute it will be your turn to have your locks trimmed.

The sense of eavesdropping is thrilling as you watch a drama unfold in which you almost feel you have a stake. There is a story going on which is often compelling and the anticipation of what might be revealed is very acute.

The story line, though, is hard to follow. One stylist seems to have lost the plot as well as his memory, though why is unclear. The apprentice has stuffed up a colour job, her boss is unhappy, and they are all waiting for an old customer, when someone from their past turns up unexpectedly and the tension heightens tremendously.

Something heavy has gone down, somewhere, sometime, but you never find out what. You just have to fill in the gaps yourself. The dramatic ending resolved the play but not its meaning. 

The acting was first rate, with each character neatly and convincingly drawn, and the cast really playing off each other. They flawlessly achieved a believable reality, though to what end was uncertain.

I’m not sure if the audience found the play exciting or disappointing. Personally, I felt mixed up. I was impressed and frustrated all at the same time. Still, it was well worth the experience.   
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Humour and pathos achieved despite a faulty script

Review by Elody Rathgen 22nd Sep 2011

This is in an unusual setting for a play which both works and doesn’t work. It is in a functioning hair salon which gives immediacy and a dimension of believability. It also is another example of the Christchurch festival events being accessible to people in the suburbs. On the other hand it permits only about 20 people to see it at once, and we are all on uncomfortable seating along one side of the salon. We also had to wait outside for ten minutes or so on a very cool spring evening before being able to enter the salon to witness the performance.

The play, around 50 minutes in length, shows the signs of a devising team approach to writing. Story lines by different writers sit uneasily along aside each other. At the end of the performance I overheard the comment “what was that all about?” which was due to the overlapping of story lines which don’t connect well with each other.

The central plot line concerns Jimmy, previously a fantastic hairdresser who has had some kind of accident, leaving him unable to fully function. Obviously Hugh and Ann take responsibility for what happened to him. Kate is an old customer of the Salon tenuously drawn into the story of Jimmy et al by her son, and Skarlette the hair-dressing apprentice rounds out the cast.

The performances and the direction are both strong on the whole. The salon atmosphere is very convincing from the hair-colouring to the blow drying. Richard Chapman as the damaged Jimmy does an excellent job and draws our sympathy. His temporary transformation to salon showman, while a very weak plot link, is an accomplished performance.  

Striding around the salon Hugh (Toby Leach) is very much in charge at the start, but his involvement in the darker side of events begins to show through. In a very short play like this it takes real capability to reveal both sides. He does well. As does Yvonne Martin in the role of Kate. Plot limitations make this a difficult role to pull off and Martin does it mainly by playing it as low key as possible.  

Danielle Mason does a sound job as does Sophie Hambleton most of the time. A little over doing of the pouting and stamping around reduces her part to adolescence rather than apprentice hairdresser, though. 

Director Paul McLaughlin does an excellent job with a faulty script. Both humour and pathos are achieved in a very short time. The feeling of a working salon is achieved very convincingly, with the working silences and the required kinds of knowledge of clients on display. Even the added local and contextual references to Christchurch and its recent events are well handled.

I am not sure that a real salon is the right venue for this piece of theatre. It restricts numbers, constrains seating, and limits audience interactions. That coupled with the script defects makes a potentially great Festival event into only a satisfactory one. Let’s hope that further modifications are done to the play for its future festival appearances.  
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John Smythe September 22nd, 2011

Thank you Paul - the errors have been rectified. 

Paul McLaughlin September 22nd, 2011

 The role of HUGH is played by Toby Leach, JIMMY by Richard Chapman.

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Salon soap

Review by Mark Houlahan 08th Jul 2010

was a welcome local attempt at exploiting the theatre potential of non-traditional theatre spaces. A salon is a great choice: so much potential for narcissism and display. The hot lights, the big mirrors. Everything is on display.

Patrick’s is not very large, as salons go, so the main playing space was a narrow rectangle. Just enough room for the audience and the actors to do their thing. The Site Specific crew were very efficient, playing to the audience while maintaining a strong invisible fourth wall. We eavesdropped for an hour on the salon world.

Getting to the playing space was frankly tedious, as it often is with site specific works. Surely ticket holders know they are coming to a play? Why not just admit them. It was a cold night so hanging around outside did not work. Possibly this was improvised as well. If so it was very convincing.

Once inside, it was salon soap. The grumpy apprentice. The styling guru now mentally disturbed. The salon owner. The devoted older female client. The woman from Sydney. Why has she returned so suddenly, and why is her hair so tragic it needs an instant wash and restyle?

These questions are adroitly handled. The first half of the piece, especially, is beguiling. Jagged phrases of dialogue punctuate the work rhythm. These hint at the storylines and character alignments. Nothing too saucy happens, but the sexual tension between the characters is superbly evident. As is their deep and gorgeous thirst.

I gather imbibing on the job is part of the up market salon milieu. If so you wonder why there aren’t more salon work place accidents. Actually it’s cranberry juice: the prop bottle was evident was we came through the salon work room. Better to hide this next time, so you then you might not notice how quickly the wine pours, and how it bubbles at the brim.

The setup held me more than the pay off. Perhaps my Fuel weekend was on a very short attention span. Perhaps too there is an issue with devising a world like this. You can buy in to the space and the characters within. They are so lifelike it can be hard to lift them into plot space where play things have to happen, to move the story along.

I bought into Hugh, the demanding salonista, and the damaged, angelic stylist Jimmy. I believed in Anne, the maven from Sydney and even Skarlett the sour apprentice, even though Sophie Hambleton tended to play up Skarlett a little too much in the boutique size stage. I haven’t seen the sequel Hotel, but would like to know more about the unseen Rory, so mysteriously returning from London.

As a piece of story telling this worked then, drawing us into a world of intrigue and melodrama, celebrating the very specific work skills of hairdressing. We’re drawn also to admire the ensemble skills of the cast. If there was something else going on here, then it eluded me.


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Impossible to watch and not care

Review by Rob Kidd 29th Jun 2010


Usually when there are only 20 people in the audience the reviews are not going to be great but Salon is the exception. At Patrick’s Hairdressing, 20 was all there was room for.

The audience were led in through the back door after a brief introduction from Jimmy, the central character, and suddenly we were in the middle of the action as jokes, jibes and arguments flew around.

The plot revolves around salon owner Hugh, trainee Skarlette, intellectually-challenged Jimmy, an after-hours appointment and an unexpected visitor.

There is little attempt to fill in the gaps and create a back story and that is the beauty of it.

You get an intriguing snapshot into these lives and because of the quality of the acting, the intensity of the scenario and the intimacy of the setting you can’t help but feel emotionally involved.

The actors are close enough to touch and at times it feels a little uncomfortable, especially when you can see your own bemused gaze in the mirrors.

During conversations it was a bit like watching a tennis match – it was hard to know where to look when there was so much going on.

You got as much value from watching the actors who weren’t speaking.

Being so close it is a lot easier to pick up the subtleties of gestures and expressions.

The concept of site specific theatre might not have great financial rewards but there is a purity to it that is inescapable.

It is impossible to watch this and not care – this is how theatre should be.


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Drama engages too late

Review by Lynn Freeman 24th Feb 2010

The Fallen from Grace hair salon is the venue for a new work from the multi-award winning team behind Hotel, which was performed in a hotel room. This is a commissioned play so there is a decent budget for high end publicity and a stellar cast; high expectations too of course.

But where Hotel was gripping, with its crossover narratives, this one story isn’t enough to hold your attention. Two brothers, one emotionally damaged, run a salon. A glamorous woman from their past enters and slowly their story unfolds.

After an enticingly dramatic start as you walk into the salon and take your seat, there is too little drama to engage with, at least until the last 15 minutes, which is just too late. Some of the cast are woefully underused, inexcusable given there is a lot of empty time that could have been spent with them.
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Actors’ attention to detail shines

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 23rd Feb 2010

In 2007 the theatre group Site Specific took a suite in the Museum Hotel and performed for an audience of 12 a play entitled Hotel. This year they have taken over the salon of Fallen From Grace Hair in Ghuznee Street and have again limited their audience, this time to 15, for their play Salon.  

Hotel is described in their latest programme as a prequel to Salon though it is not necessary to have seen Hotel to follow what happens in Ghuznee Street. There is a hint in the programme that their next site specific play may take place in a mortuary as it is already titled Undertaker.

Salon starts in a dingy alleyway beside the salon from where we are led into a narrow backroom by a hesitant, withdrawn young man called Jimmy, past a tearful young woman we later learn is called Skarlette, and into the spare, chic salon.

At the start I thought we were seeing a David Story-like play about work but without his political overtones. In the event, Salon soon immerses itself and its audience in the cross-currents of the needs, desires, guilt, and transient emotions of ordinary people who are seen refracted by the mirrors all around the salon in tantalizing glimpses of relationships that are never fully explained but left mysterious, possibly too mysterious at times.

While the play lacks the stimulus of the four different story lines of Hotel, it does in the end pack a theatrical punch and it is, like Hotel,acted with fine attention to emotional and physical details by the cast.

Jane Waddell is a mother attempting reconciliation with her overseas son, Sophie Hambleton is an apprentice eager to move on, Simon Vincent is her overbearing boss, Richard Dey is the enigmatic Jimmy, and Renee Sheridan is an Australian air hostess whose unexpected arrival fans the flames of memory and guilt.

Fringe theatre doesn’t often have performances as subtle and sophisticated as these and it should be noted that three of the actors appear to have hairdressing skills that should be useful should hard times come.
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Adds up to less than the sum of its parts despite some riveting moments

Review by John Smythe 21st Feb 2010

Billed in publicity as a prequel to site-specific’s much lauded Hotel (although the programme says the opposite), the much-anticipated Salon invites inevitable comparison.

Hotel – which premiered in 2007 – allows us to spy on some very private behaviours that happen at different times in the same hotel room. Its very intimate ‘theatre verité’ style makes no concessions to the usual theatrical conventions. Based on what they are doing ‘in the moments’, we voyeurs – who know our presence is secret – have to work out for ourselves where these people came from, where they are going, why they are here …

Because we absolutely believe in the authenticity of their actions and are creatively involved in interpreting them, Hotel is extremely engaging.

Salon takes place in ‘real time’ in a hairdressing salon, which is a relatively public space although the action is taking place ‘after hours’. Members of the public walk past the large front window throughout the show, only some registering that something unusual is going on inside.

Whereas Hotel greets us in its stylish foyer before taking us through its elegant corridors into very personal, private and secret zones, subtly lit, Salon corrals us in a seedy service lane and takes us through the plain back office before seating us in its starkly styled and brightly lit ‘designer’ space.

In both cases we are seated in one long line to observe proceedings, but in Salon we sit facing mirrors, seeing ourselves in a segmented live backdrop. (If the large pillar beside the front counter hides any action and a mirror you’re facing doesn’t let you see, one of the mirrors behind you probably will.)

But the main difference is that Salon breaks the ‘fourth wall’ with direct address, just once, right at the start. Part way through it uses the theatrical convention of tuning us in and out of separate but simultaneous conversations. Then, right at the end, we are made privy – via sound – to a dying woman’s subjective recollection of a recent phone call.*

All these dramaturgical devices combine with the ‘real time’ dramatic action to set up the expectations we automatically bring to a conventional play, that back-stories will be revealed, we will learn enough about the characters to empathise with them as they confront various external and internal obstacles, and we will feel in some way satisfied at the dramatic resolution. At a less conscious level, we will take for granted – when it’s done well – that all the details we have noted in the expositional phase of the play will pay off, somehow, towards the end.

If the playwright has done their job – or if the play has been well wrought – nothing will be extraneous and all will serve either the plot or the binding themes of the piece; preferably both simultaneously. I’m not going to say this cannot happen with devised theatre, just that when a play evolves through a character-led devising process informed by rigorous research, someone needs to sit down with the raw and refined material to perfect the ‘recipe’ for the director, as chef, to recreate with the actors. Only then are we free to truly relish the ‘taste sensations’ the actors offer.

Salon’s ingredients are promising, and often dramatically compelling, but it has yet to add up to more than the sum of its parts. Most of our time is spent trying to work out what has happened in the past that is informing the present action. (I can’t say, in this case, that desires for something in the future loom very large as a catalyst for the present action.) I am happy to have my appetite whetted and be made to wait for the big revelation, the twist, the catharsis, whatever, as long we get the goodies in the end. And the way it happens in this first season of Salon is less than convincing, let alone satisfying.

The man who sits out the back by the rubbish bins, writing and doodling in an exercise book, turns out to be Jimmy (Richard Dey). It is he who asks us if we can see him and if we are going to stay; a concern that is ever-present for him. He leads us through the back room where a young woman, Skarlette (Sophie Hambleton) is in tears. She doesn’t acknowledge our presence but takes some comfort from his “these things happen” attitude.

It soon emerges that she is the trainee hairdresser in a salon run by Hugh (Simon Vincent), who has given her a bollocking for stuffing up a dye job. She is impatient to get to the real work but he insists he will decide when she is ready, and if she is patient he’ll make her a star.

Skarlette and Jimmy have a silent rapport, exchanging silly faces behind Hugh’s back … Jimmy is clearly damaged. Exactly how and by what is something we want to discover and will guess at in the meantime: drugs? brain injury from an accident? a nervous breakdown?

They are working overtime to see to a regular customer, Kate (Jane Waddell), who turns out to be the mother of a friend-from-the-past of Hugh and Jimmy’s, called Rory, who is on his way home from Hong Kong where he now lives …

But the person who arrives unexpectedly is an air hostess called Anne (Renee Sheridan), who – alone for the moment – takes a call and sets up an assignation for later in a hotel.* She is a shock to Hugh and to Jimmy, with whom it seems she was once very close. Hugh’s antagonism appears to suggest he blames her for Jimmy’s condition.

She brings Jimmy the gift of something framed, which he happily displays on the counter for customers to see: his award-winning self flanked by Hugh and Anne back in their glory days. It becomes apparent they shared a past in Sydney. There is gossip and banter – between Anne and Hugh – about what their ex-colleagues are up to now.

The wine bought especially for Kate by Jimmy (who has to write everything down in his exercise book) is consumed by Anne while Kate opts for water … In response to the state of Anne’s hair, Hugh has a rant about organics not being good enough so he’ll stick to chemical until organics manage to do the job …

Quite early on Jimmy tells a story about going to the pool with a friend who has a strategy for getting it almost to themselves, which Hugh later tries to use as a weapon against Anne. Towards the end, Anne tells Skarlette the story of a holiday the rest of them had in Vanuatu where Hugh (not Jimmy) came off his bike. They are interesting stories but have yet to earn their keep in the greater scheme of things.

There are two dramatic events towards the end. One involves Jimmy recovering his hairdressing mojo, the other is a random occurrence which eclipses all else yet comes from nowhere and does nothing to resolve the issues or themes that have been threaded throughout the hour.

Despite all this compellingly acted out drama, in which real hairdressing occurs, we still don’t know exactly what has happened to Jimmy and how it involved the others.

We know Anne “left” (what else does an air hostess do?) and that she has come back to apologise. But what exactly is she apologising for? And given she seems to be forgiven, how has she earned it? This is the bit I find unconvincing, not because of the performances, which are all very good, but because I don’t have enough information to make my own assessment from a position of empathy with each of the characters involved.

If the cast and director (Paul McLaughlin) have all the plot-related answers, they have yet to find a way of delivering them to the audience, at least to the point where we can join the dots and work it out for ourselves. Maybe what’s needed is a cathartic confrontation that reveals all in a battle of attack and defence driven by passionate needs to express, enquire and resolve.

Beyond that a process of dramaturgical interrogation is needed to clarify the binding theme so that everything serves to explore it in ways that make the particular resonate in the wider world. At this point I cannot tell if they are going for exposing the truth behind the façade, dramatising what it takes to truly earn forgiveness and achieve redemption, or confronting us with the idea that most of us keep trucking on with the big issues unresolved.

In summary, despite some riveting dramatic moments, the play lacks clarity and cohesion so adds up to less than the sum of its parts.
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
*These are the elements that may be seen as set-ups for what transpires in Hotel, which is all very well but Salon has got to work on its own as well. It’s just not valid to say a prerequisite for enjoying this play is to have seen the other and recalled it in detail.

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John Smythe February 24th, 2010

Put it this way, Rachel: if a chef assembles all the ingredients for an excellent meal then withholds some for their own delectation, refusing to share them, so that the customers intuitively sense there is something missing, why shouldn’t we say that doesn’t seem fair?

If the chef has not yet discovered how to best bring all the ingredients together to achieve optimal results, might they not value some feedback from customers willing to interact on the issue?

I am assuming Salon is a work in progress and that the company wants it to be as good as it possibly can be.

Rachel Lenart February 24th, 2010

Dear John,

For the first time, i am compelled to comment, so much do i disagree with this review.  On the whole, i find you to be an incredibly astute reviewer and as a practitioner, i am always so appreciative of the way in which you tend to delve deep into the work to examine and explore the meanings and intentions of the peice. This time, however, i believe it is you who is not seeing beyond the sum of the parts. This is, as you note, a work of Theatre Verite,  and a more honest and true exploration, I've not seen in this country. 

I didn't see Hotel, so I can't compare but for me this production stands alone brilliantly, as a divine pontification on our social interactions and the complexities of our relationships. The lack of resolution, or explicit revelation is, i think, one of the play's points and, for me, its highlights. Yes, i was left a little frustrated, but also, elated that i was denied what i so much wanted to know. I clung to Anne's story about Vanatu thinking, yes, this is it... But it wasn't. And then, when we got so close, the moment for revelation arises and then...

I think this was a wonderful devise and truly brought home the themes of the play.  Of course, i have a few criticisms of my own, Sure there were some moments of superfluity, but what devised work doesn't have bits that could be cut or honed? On the whole i thought this to be an exceptional peice of theatre, outstanding performances and beautifully crafted.

This kind of experiment in Naturalism should be celebrated, Paul and his team may yet prove to be the Theatre Libre of Wellinton Theatre!

I am certainly planning to travel to Taupo to see it again and to see Hotel for the first time.  And I can't wait.

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