BATS Theatre, The Heyday Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

30/11/2016 - 10/12/2016

Production Details

Freddy’s a comedian in a tailspin; Ana’s got a secret she wants to keep. The punchline’s gonna hurt.

“emotionally touching …argument, manipulation and desperation most everyone who’s ever been romantically involved can relate to” The Lumiere Reader 

Freddy and Ana. Love and trouble. Jokes and pain. Freddy is a comedian and has a drinking problem. Ana has something she doesn’t want him to know. Their relationship has problems but they love each other. Isn’t that enough? A brilliant dark comedy that rips the scabs off of relationships past, present and future and asks if you can face up to the open wounds.

Making Friends Collective is Adam Goodall, Amy Griffin-Browne, Andrew Clarke, Flinn Gendall, Johnny Crawford and Tony Black. The Collective was founded in November 2012 by Goodall, Clarke, Crawford and Black for the production of Rageface in the New Zealand Fringe Festival 2013, for which the company was nominated for Best Newcomers in the New Zealand Fringe Awards that year. The Collective has produced ten shows since 2012. The company is an incubation chamber for bold, sincere theatre about us and the world around us. We want to help build an inclusive community of young New Zealand voices, making work that’s vital, self-critical, fun and audacious in its execution.

BATS Theatre, the Heyday Dome,* 1 Kent Terrace, Wellington
29 November – 10 December 2016
at 7pm
Preview night Tues 29 November
Full Price $20 | Concession Price $15 | Group 6+ $14
Preview ticket full $10 | Preview ticket concession $8
Comedy, Dramatic, Funny, Dark
Book tickets

Season Pass
Want to see both shows in the Making Friends Collective Season? Buy a Season Pass now to Wine Lips and Stand Up Love for only $30 full price and $25 concession.

*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.

Starring Rachel Baker and Jonny Potts 

Theatre ,

1 hr 10 mins

The abiding questions of ‘love’ explored

Review by John Smythe 01st Dec 2016

When I reviewed the world premiere of Gavin McGibbon’s Stand Up Love, at the old BATS Theatre in April 2007, I concluded it was “the sort of play good actors will aspire to because it challenges them and relies almost entirely on their excellence – guided by a skilled director – to achieve its potential. Relatively inexpensive to stage and tour, it should have a long and healthy life in our homegrown repertoire.”

The next production recorded by Theatreview was at Allen Hall Theatre, Dunedin, in June 2014, directed in the round by Adam Goodall. Now Goodall has mounted a new production in the traverse at BATS Theatre’s Heyday Dome space and my conclusion stands: it’s a potent piece in good hands and this team does it proud.

Jonny Potts absolutely nails the persona and delivery of Freddy’s stand-up comedy sets, winning us over as an appreciative audience even as his ‘Baby on Board’ gag misfires and we get the hint that his dad used to hit him until he got too big. And because this is a well-crafted script, these seemingly incidental seeds will produce more fruit later on.

Rachel Baker’s Ana is intriguingly enigmatic as she tolerates Freddy’s drunken return to their flat while not fully indulging his compulsive wisecracking. Her status is established when he meekly complies with her sending him to sleep on the couch because he snores when he’s drunk.

The shaky tectonics of their relationship surface in the aftermath of their trip to the zoo. Most of us will recognise that strange yet common compulsion to sabotage happiness because …  Well that’s what we’re drawn into trying to understand, as the action moves seamlessly from home to comedy venue and back again, traversing unspecified time.

The abiding question of why people are attracted to each other and what is needed to sustain a relationship long term gives Stand Up Love a strong foundation, even as cracks start to appear in this one. The universal quest for independence without loneliness or the inherently destructive chemistry of co-dependence, and the fundamental need for truth and trust in a relationship, feed the fire that makes this play and production glow, warm, flare and combust in dramatically entertaining ways.

Despite her getting her say at the stand-up mic too, I still find myself wanting to know more about Ana – her backstory or job, for example – to help me know who she is outside the relationship and work out why she behaves as she does. But I see that pop-psychology would diminish rather than enhance the play so must remain content that what we see from both characters is true to life and each of us will have their own way of explaining it.

Judiciously lit by Tony Black’s design, operated by Michael Hebenton, the functional design by Oliver Morse works well in the traverse. There are some issues with audibility, briefly, but doubtless the actors will get the pitch of the space as the season continues.

Stand Up Love double bills with Sam Brooks’ Wine Lips (review forthcoming) and I heartily recommend booking for both.


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