FatG: Fringe at the Gryphon, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

16/03/2020 - 17/03/2020

NZ Fringe Festival 2020

Production Details

Duct Taped On

After the death of her mother, Olivia struggled to keep her footing. As she falls further into grief her denial threatens to destroy her remaining relationships. How long can you hold your breath? Do you even know if you are floating or drowning?

Saltwater Bath is a devised duologue, the first production by theatre company Duct Taped On, centred around a young woman, her relationship, and a bathtub.

FatG at Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Te Aro
Monday 16 – Tuesday 17 March 2020
Price General Admission $15.00 Concession $12.00 Fringe Addict $10.00
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Wheelchair access available

Theatre ,

1 hr

Uneasy and awkward

Review by Brett Adam 17th Mar 2020

This is a confusing and confused piece of theatre that doesn’t seem to know exactly what it wants to be. At some points it is trying to be a moving psychologically driven exploration of grief, at others is attempting to utilise the abstract language of movement and gesture to affect its audience. However it never really fully commits to anything and the result is a bit of a mess.

As the audience enters  the two actors are on stage wearing dressing gowns over their street clothes, performing repeated sequences of everyday gestures and movements. When the piece begins however the actors re-enter and begin to enact characters and deliver dialogue. What follows is an uneasy and awkward wavering between distinct forms of performance with little commitment to either.

The script, such as it is, is minimal and banal although this may be a deliberate move to strip the narrative down to its bare bones and purge all non-necessary padding from the story. Unfortunately its never clear if this is a conscious decision or not. The scripted scenes don’t carry enough emotional weight to make the audience care. The plot points aren’t given any chance to resonate as they happen with little to no context or preparation. There is no drive nor purpose apparent at any point.

The pacing and rhythm of the work is off and doesn’t allow for any build in momentum or rise to a dramatic payoff. The actors seem to spend more time off stage than on, wasting time in unnecessary costumes changes and leaving the audience staring at a blank stage.

The soundtrack, especially in the first part of the work is weirdly incongruous and seems totally unconnected to the images on stage. It neither assists by obviously illustrating the predominate emotion of the scene nor does it allows us a freedom to connect through providing a distinct emotional counterpoint. The lighting at best seems like an afterthought and too often actors are in darkness whilst other parts of the set are lit.

The more abstract movement sequences don’t really work either. The actors never seem 100% comfortable and fail to fully commit to the gestural language which comes across as twee and uninspired. These movement based interludes don’t really contribute anything to the overall work. They don’t reveal anything new or different about the characters, narrative or themes.

The use of metaphor is clumsy and inconsistent and is one more strand to this piece that ultimately confounds the creators’ vision. There does maybe seem to be an interesting formalistic premise in this piece but the timidity of approach and lack of physical and emotional embodiment ultimately undermine the work.


Courtney Rose Brown March 18th, 2020

Disclaimer, I have not seen this show but I did look up the production and team after reading this review. The team has made it very clear it was their first show and it's also during the Fringe Festival. Experience needs to be clocked. Critique can certainly be useful to creators of a show in general. However, as Fringe is for emerging artists (rather than just professional ones) it seems to me there should be a space for experimentation and a different lens should be used while reviewing in this context.

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