New Athenaeum Theatre, 24 The Octagon, Dunedin

18/08/2017 - 22/08/2017

Production Details

A fetish drag cabaret  

Sharp Dressed Man is an all-new show from Dunedin’s own Sacrilege Productions. With new material, new numbers and a few new faces, we are staying true to our signature style: high quality drag/ comedy/ theatre/ cabaret/ burlesque/fetish fusion. This is a form so newly emerging that it has neither a name nor any competition. We are excited and honoured by the chance to open the New Athenaeum Theatre with both a bang and a whimper or two.

It’s been a rough couple of years since wannabe rockstar Jake Hammer moved to the big smoke of Dunedin, but life seems to finally be picking up. He’s happy in his friends, his job and his beautiful girlfriend Andrea. If he could just get her brother to stop dancing long enough to hold a conversation, he’d be able to start putting together the perfect proposal.

As that seems unlikely, he turns to the next most qualified people: a motley collection of strangers in Dunedin’s seediest karaoke bar. Aided and (mostly) abetted by a sardonic Irishman, a cougarish Southern drag queen, a leocidal rave DJ and a bartender with a lot of practice at sudoku, Jake must figure out what to wear, how to dance, and what is truly the best way to Andrea’s heart.

Sometimes you plan to live out your days with Ma’a Nonu gently rubbing your feet on the porch swing, and then suddenly you’re four husbands down and you find yourself in a karaoke bar with a hobbit. It’s the way life is, sweetie.”

Starring Jasper Ririnui as Jake Hammer. Introducing Laith Bayan as Just Emerald and Jackson Treece as Miss Sadie Salome.

New Athenaeum Theatre, 24 The Octagon, Dunedin
August 18-22, 2017
All shows 8pm
$15/$10 concession.
Tickets available through Dashtickets or at the door.
R16. Contains partial nudity and sexual themes.

Theatre , Cabaret ,

Queering hyper-masculinity through humour, drag and fetish

Review by Hahna Briggs 21st Aug 2017

Sharp Dressed Man is an all-new show from Dunedin’s own Sacrilege Productions. Opening the New Athenaeum Theatre, Sacrilege Productions promises a fusion of high quality drag, comedy, theatre, cabaret, burlesque, and fetish.

I was looking forward to checking out the New Athenaeum Theatre as this space has such potential, being right in the heart of the Octagon. The theatre has done away with its dusty interior, filled with spiders and other creepy crawlies, and opted for a fresh coat of paint. I hope this space continues to be developed and emerges into a vibrant performance venue.

As I walk into the theatre I am immediately met by a rowdy bunch of people singing and dancing while audience members watch. The setting is a run-down karaoke bar. There’s a DJ booth with the lively DJ King Richard in charge of the tunes. The Bartender leans on the bar in the corner, looking bored and a small group of people sit at a table yarning over a few drinks.

DJ King Richard spends the entire show with her mouth taped shut in a vow of silence to protest deforestation in Misiones, the 1898 annexation of Hawai’i and the death of disco. Although King Richard’s encourages audience to part-take in the karaoke, the broken down karaoke machine in the corner of room (aka a TV with a broken sign on it) means brave audience members must remember the lyrics on their lonesome. However, during the intervals two audience members with impressive knowledge of song lyrics join the cast for a sing along, one of whom assures the rest of us they are not part of the show!

The Bartender keeps to his corner reading or maybe working on a cross word puzzle? He says very little throughout the show, remaining relatively uninterested at the goings-on instead remaining part of mise en scène.

The show begins with a strip tease by Doctor Andrew Wolf, an academic character with multiple degrees in sexology, sexual anthropology, sexual physiotherapy and secondary education. Dancing to Shania Twain’s ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman’, Wolf’s strip tease is awkward in a super cute kind of way. His antics get him kicked out of the bar, a regular occurrence we are told.

Wolf’s abrupt exit is accompanied by Jake Hammer’s arrival. Hammer is a wannabe rock star with a dilemma, deciding whether and if so how to propose to his girlfriend, Andrea, who happens to be Doctor Andrew Wolf’s identical twin sister. Hammer spends the evening receiving advice from strangers, guided by a sardonic Irishman, Just Emerald.

Suggestions for the proposal include such antics as a rather impressive card trick by Magician and Paleontologist, Magnificus Rex, and a bondange rope suspension by the glamorous Miss Sadie Salone, originally from Savannah Georgia. Miss Salone’s companion on leash, Dirtier Harry, sits silently knitting or sending cryptic hand messages to others in the bar apart from a brief macho dance off with Doctor Andrew Wolf.

What I enjoy about Sacrilege Productions is their unrelenting critique on New Zealand’s masculine culture and our idolisation of this culture. They simultaneously poke fun at hyper-masculinity, while queering it through humour, drag and fetish.

I think the pacing of the show needs some work as the energy drops at times, for instance the bondage rope suspension scene. I can see why, as the intricate rope tying is beautiful yet time consuming. I do enjoy watching the process but feel this section needs more development in terms of audience engagement. I like the idea of incorporating rope suspension on the stage and I look forward to see how Sacrilege Productions continues to evolve this technique.

All I can say really, is that I drive home smiling the entire way: a good sign for sure… So make sure to check out their next show, Double Maths: a Halloween Cabaret, and if you want to get involved they are always looking for new performers!


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