Status Update: A Recital

Hamilton Gardens, Garden Terrace Restaurant, Hamilton

19/02/2012 - 26/02/2012

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2012

Production Details

Four Hamilton actors, all over seventy years old, recite some of the funniest, ignorant, offensive and down right hilarious status updates and comment threads found on social networking sites and emails.

Trillions of ‘posts’ have been whittled down into one hour of comedy gold. Don’t miss the great Hamilton actors of yesterday and their take on the information technology age of today.

This production has been directed, compiled and presented by well known Hamilton actor, Nick Wilkinson. He has had an extensive presence in the Hamilton theatre scene, playing lead roles in over 20 productions in the previous 10 years including Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Show and the Engineer in Miss Saigon.

Val Easte and Michael Easther, have been known to Hamilton audiences for many decades, appearing in a great number of productions. Francie Gray, also known to Hamilton crowds has also appeared in films such as ‘End of the Golden weather’

This is a great opportunity to see some of your favorite performers of the last 50 years, together again.

Young or old, the audience will be able to identify with either the material that is being recited as they liken it to their own experience of the electronic social media platform, or with the ‘old folks’ that try to make sense of it.

Performed in the beautiful setting of the Hamilton Gardens Terrace Restaurant, tickets can be purchased from ticketek for $15.

Tuesday 21 February 6.30pm 
Wednesday 22 February 6.30pm 
Saturday 25 February 12pm 
Sunday 26 February 12pm  

Val Easte
Michael Easther
Francie Gray
Fred Rowe  

1 hr; Tues, Wed, Sat, Sun

Like for fresh idea slickly posted

Review by Gail Pittaway 25th Feb 2012

This very funny concept seems to be the brainchild of Nick Wilkinson, one of the core members of Cartel Theatre Company, who selected choice moments of supreme inanity or insanity from social networking sites from the world wide web and gave them to four seventy-something retirees to recite.

I like the word recital; not one we hear much outside of classical musical circles, but it smacks of gravity and practice; of attention being paid. Here the practice and attention have certainly gone into the recital but the result is the opposite of grave; it’s LOL. Like!

Some of the comedy is in the shock value of having real grownups read the rubbish that is out there; some of it is unintentionally funny all along. A few more sophisticated posts are deliberate attempts to persuade punters to invest and they are mostly fromNew Zealand’s own Trade Me site.

There’s the butt of the last cigarette ever smoked in aNew Zealandrestaurant for sale, authenticated by bar staff and other diners, on the eve of the new smoking bans in public places. Of course the false Rena sale notice went viral and was circulated world-wide but the note about a Fisher and Paykell top-loading washing machine whose vibrations disturbed the particles of the universe into showing a crack into another dimension, with dinosaur signs following, deserves wider distribution. Like.  

What is it about blogging, Facebook and comment threads that make people act like catty nine year olds? Or wail their heartache over a short lived romance, or even more alarmingly, stalk famous people or completely unknown individuals, especially children?  Wilkinson acts as MC and host, driving power-points with suitably geeky images of people in love with technology; or as random illustrations of emotions or age-groups or the gender of the person speaking at the time.

Another innovative concept here is that, at the beginning of the show, Wilkinson encourages us in the audience to keep our phones on and, having shared his cell phone number, to send him text messages throughout the show. Fortunately a few do. Of course the risk is that in the fifty minutes of the run, we might get messages or calls from the outside world and that does happen, at least twice to our audience; but it’s fun using that element of improvisation to keep the status very much updated.

Too good-hearted to be satire, the show could lose the gag about Tom Cruise being the host at the beginning and go straight to Wilkinson’s outrageous self disclosures on Facebook, before introducing the Fabulous Four ‘reciters’. They share the texts evenly, each giving at least one monologue and all taking part in Facebook and text message dialogue chains which are almost tragic in their self indulgence. 

Michael Easther and Francie Gray get the most laughs with their occasionally shocking language or vehemence; but Val Easte and Fred Rowe get their share of smiley faces too. It’s a great lineup of experienced and talented actors who still have much to offer and teach young actors and the audience.

So, Like to Nick Wilkinson for this fresh idea and the slick and simple way he and his chat group have posted it.  


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