The Aliens Of Poverty Bay

BATS Theatre, Wellington

27/02/2011 - 02/03/2011

NZ Fringe Festival 2011

Production Details

The NZ X-Files are out… on stage  

It was about the size of a bus and it was admitting red and white light as it spun over Gray’s hill. In 1979 the people of east coast of New Zealand experienced a number of visitations. Filmmaker Martin Boyle was there to talk to those exposed and face-off the aliens, camera in hand. In 2011 Aidan Weeks came across this material and bring brings to life on stage the encounters that Martin Boyle faced on his night at Poverty Bay.

Encounter the Alien, the UFO, the unidentified flying object, and the unidentified floating object? What is the alien? What is alien? Some people start of being aliens to ourselves and then end up being our friends, some of them remain in the fog.

Aidan Weekes is a 2009 graduate of Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School. Since graduating he has recently worked with Silo Theatre on “That Face” directed by Shane Bosher and Capital E’s “End Game” Directed by Leo Gene Peters. 

Hunter Abby is a freelance video editor who’s been making movies with Aidan since they were ten. He is currently editing two feature film trailers and working on other projects.

This is Ricky Beirao’s directorial debut, who comes on board as an outside eye for Aidan’s work. Beirao has recently toured to Auckland with his solo show “Confessions of a Drag Queen” and will be bringing it back to Wellington in March. He is also a producer and has produced last years Downstage Pick of The Fringe “Wannabe”.

The Aliens of Poverty Bay
season runs for four nights only.
TIME & DATES: 27th of February till the 2nd of March at 9:30pm
WHERE: BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace, Wellington
TICKETS: $15 / $12 concessions / $10 Fringe Addict Cards
TO BOOK: email

Left unengaged and irritated

Review by John Smythe 28th Feb 2011

Aidan Weekes first introduced us to his idiosyncratic abstract film-maker Martin Boyle – a legend in his own viewfinder – in his Go Solo 2009 show ( at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School). Now Boyle returns with another obsession-driven project to stuff up completely: his attempt to make a documentary about UFO sightings in NZ.

The famed Kaikoura Lights (1978) get a mention but as far as I can ascertain, the visitations of a bus-sized cigar-shaped orange UFO emitting red and white light, apparently seen in East Coast / Poverty Bay in 1979, are a fabrication of Weekes’ imagination. That’s fine: it’s a mockumentary.

To say the show is a mess may be to simply acknowledge the key characteristic of Martin Boyle’s life and pet project. But as a ‘dorky UFO nerd’ character, lecturing at a tertiary institution, his capacity to entertain soon palls given he fails to carry a story or explore a theme or two that justifies the 45 minutes he asks us to spend with him.

Yes there is a narrative element involving a writer colleague called Mary, which has a tragic end I think, but it is such an effort for us to discern who is who and what is what amid the frenetic and discombobulated action that any potential for empathy or pathos is lost. Likewise the sequence involving his epic feature project being turned down (resurrected from the earlier solo).

There is a very different female character, Louisa, whose eye-witness account offers a welcome change of pace, as does Martin’s all-night vigil in Poverty Bay. There are slides and video sequences too which are fine as far as they go ….

But in the end I feel as if the major purpose of The Aliens of Poverty Bay is to show off acting skills, which may be valid for a 20-minute solo but not for a Fringe show. Rather than sit and look at the vehicle we’d rather ride it on an interesting journey that takes us somewhere of value.

This show needs a playwright’s sensibility brought to it, to discern what it’s about that makes it more than just a bunch of skits and acting demonstrations, and to refine the ‘terms of engagement’ that will draw an audience in and hold their attention. It also needs a strong director who can see the potential in such a script and collude with the actor to make it work.

As it stands, it left me unengaged and irritated.
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