Short+Sweet Theatre 2016 – Wildcard 2

TAPAC Theatre, Western Springs, Auckland

17/09/2016 - 17/09/2016


Production Details


10 minutes to make a statement, 10 minutes to connect, 10 minutes with Short+Sweet Festival Auckland.

Short+Sweet is a performing arts festival that celebrates the 10 minute performance format through Theatre. Join us for a feast of different styles and subjects, with the next morsel only ever 10 minutes away!

Come salivate (sink your teeth into), participate (cast your vote), and debate the night’s bite sized showcases on at Auckland’s annual big-little Festival.

For more info:

Social media: #shortsweetnz

“Well worth seeing” – Theatreview

“Varied, funny, clever, poignant and sweet” – Theatre Scene


How Violet Met Watson
– Written by Susan Goodell, directed by Rebekah Bournhill

Falling in Love
– By The Ench

Diary of a Break Up/Break Down
– Written by Alex Broun, directed by Suzy Sampson

Objectum Sexuality
– Written by Ron Burch, directed by Prashanth Gunasekaran

The Evil That Men Do Not Do
– Written by Kerr Inkson, directed by Leny Woolsey

Short+Sweet Theatre 2016 – Wildcard 2  
TAPAC, 100 Motions Road, Western Springs, Auckland
September 17, 3pm
$25.00 GA
$20.00 Concession 

Festival Passes available until September 10
(any 3 shows except shows on the same night, excluding Gala Finals)
$65 for three shows


Theatre ,

1 hr

Important development opportunity

Review by Leigh Sykes 18th Sep 2016

The Short+Sweet Theatre Festival is an opportunity for performers and creators to explore new work, with 10 minute plays in a range of forms and styles with a similar range of contents. The audience is asked to choose one of the plays to go forward to a Gala Final that allows all of the audiences’ favourite shows to compete for a number of Festival prizes. 

Over two weeks, two programmes of plays are performed a number of times, except for the Wildcard show which only has one performance. It’s an impressive feat getting five different short plays ready for one performance, and there are a couple of hiccups during the show that demonstrate that this is no straightforward process. 

This Wildcard show offers five plays, four of which focus on relationships, with the fifth offering the intriguing premise of one of Shakespeare’s best known characters suing the playwright for libel.

First on the bill for is Once Upon a Life (written and directed by Angela Meleisea and performed by Ivy Hunter, Jim Cawthorn, Nik Smythe, Angela Meleisea, Adolf Hoft and Ginny Meleisea Felix) which is a journey through a relationship that starts and ends with music. Hazel and George fall in love over guitar lessons but their actions have some far-reaching, and unexpected consequences.

There are some effective moments in the performance, and some interesting characters, but the end of the play feels curiously incomplete. The pace of the piece is not helped by a number of cumbersome set changes and the performers have to fight hard to regain momentum after the longer ones. It feels like this piece is still being developed and needs to find a way to resolve the action or provoke more audience thought than it currently does.

Next is The Evil That Men Do Not Do (written and performed by Kerr Inkson and directed by Leny Woolsey), a piece that sounds intriguing for its premise of Macbeth suing Shakespeare for libel. We find we are at a press conference in the 23rd century, where, thanks to the new technology of time travel, Macbeth is able to give us a prepared statement on why he is suing Shakespeare for destroying his reputation. 

The piece has a neat line in refuting Shakespeare’s version of the Scottish King’s life and reign, giving us some new perspectives on a historical period that few of us have much knowledge of. There are some laughs, but the format of the piece, more lecture than dramatic performance, fails to create any sense of dramatic tension. Use of the space becomes a little repetitive as the piece goes on and ultimately this play feels informative rather than performative. 

How Violet Met Watson (written by Susan Goodell, directed by Rebekah Bourhill and performed by Natalie Crane and Jim Cawthorn) brings more energy to the proceedings. Violet is looking for love through ‘Sincere Singles’ and she takes us with her on a serious of dates with a variety of men all called Watson. This is the piece that suffers most from some stage management hiccups, but the cast deals with it without any fuss.

Violet’s dates become progressively worse as she struggles to negotiate this world of half-truths and high expectations. Both performers are energetic and elicit some strong laughs from the audience. Cawthorn in particular has fun quick-changing from character to character, and by the end of the piece we both understand and regret the changes that Violet has had to make to achieve her ‘happy’ ending.

Objectum Sexuality (written by Ron Burch, directed by Prashanth Gunusekaran and performed by Sathish Kumar and Prashanth Gunusekaran) continues a theme of exploring relationships, this time between Mike and his rocking chair Rocky. Mike is concerned that he and Rocky are not communicating as well as they used to, a situation that that Dr Santos is finding hard to understand.

The performers have fun in this piece, as both characters struggle to understand the other’s point of view. There is some good energy and the dialogue moves along at a good pace. I do find that the (rather loud) sound of waves playing over the entire piece becomes a little distracting, but overall this is a funny piece that relies on the interaction between its performers rather than the writing to have an effect on the audience.

The final piece Diary of a Break Up/Break Down (written by Alex Broun, directed by Suzy Sampson and performed by Alex Walker and Hannah Botha) is the highlight of the day for me, and the play that gains my vote for the Grand Final. Tim (Walker) and Tina (Botha) have both just suffered the end of a relationship and we now accompany them through the difficult days that follow.

This piece has strong performances, a witty script and a real sense of resolution by the end. The performers use their set effectively and are both convincing in all of the quick changes of emotion that they suffer. Although the split-staging of the piece means that the characters never formally interact with each other, the writing and performance means that they do meet within the audience’s responses to them. This is the play that seems most finished of all of those on offer in this session, and I am keen to see more of Walker and Botha’s work.

This Festival is such an important way for plays and performers to craft their work, and it is great to have an opportunity to see plays in various stages of development. It’s also great to see a full and appreciative audience, and I’m keen to see if my choice makes it to the Grand Final.  


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