THE AMATEUR AMATEUR DRAMATIC SOCIETY
29/01/2021 - 31/01/2021
At traffic lights and on table tops – where will these troublemakers strike next?
Join The Amateur Amateur Dramatic Society on a wild and whimsical journey around the streets of Christchurch performing the best worst shows in the fest.
Pass them props, do their makeup, choose their costumes and become part of their shows – at stopped traffic lights, on table tops, in the middle of dinner dates.
Will it be Shakespeare? Will it be musical theatre? Or perhaps both? Who knows what surprises will ensue in this hilarious battle of ‘amateur’ performers with the biggest of egos.
Brought to you by Christchurch’s very own Two Productions and William Burns this is James Corden’s Crosswalk – The Musical meets NZ Am Dram. Playfully poking fun at epic performance, dramatic performers and archaic story lines. Chaos, clowning and funnnnnn!
Keep your eyes peeled Fri 29 Jan – Sun 31 Jan | 12pm – 3pm for this roving troupe as they traverse the CBD streets.
Christchurch City Streets
Friday 29 – Sunday 31 January 2021
12pm – 3pm
Tom Eason, William Burns and Ola Ratka
Theatre , Street theatre , Clown ,
Review by Erin Harrington 01st Feb 2021
This year’s World Buskers Festival is, necessarily, a pared down and home-grown affair, whose shows include traditional street performers, cabaret acts, musicians, and performances taking place, quite literally, in people’s backyards. Skirting around the edges of all these is The Amateur Amateur Dramatic Society, from Two Productions, a delightful roaming show that wandered through Riverside Market, Cashel Mall and The Terrace over the last long weekend of the festival.
Performers Tom Eason, William Burns and Ola Ratka play a trio of toffee-nosed troubadour thespians who flounce their way through town in their actors’ blacks, air kissing and fussing, living their best Royal Shakespeare Company fantasy. This is a work in process: the performers then move through a series of beats that have been developed over the previous days to suit the space and the conditions.
I watch significant chunk of the three hour circuit, or thereabouts, which starts as the performers stretch ostentatiously, run muddled vocal warm ups, and get changed in and out of frock coats. They drag around a bin full of props and costumes, fiddle with a snare drum and play a melodica, rolling and unrolling their theatre company’s hand-painted banner so that everyone knows exactly who they are.
The public is regularly called on to assist with the preparations and then the show. The performers berate passers-by for walking through their very private dressing room (the footpath) or across their stage (also the footpath) and tell them off for watching because they are not ready yet (because they are on the footpath), then solicit help with costume zips and fastenings. One child is co-opted to help Burns with his foundation – “don’t forget the chin, darling” – and is promised he’ll be credited in the non-existent programme as make-up designer, while another is asked to give notes on a stage combat rehearsal (“Thank you darling, thank you!”).
Eventually the performers are ready to gift flouncing, plummy personalised 90 second performances to people who are sitting by the river, or demolishing souvlakis and tapas at the market. Audience interaction can make people feel ill, but all this asks of the public is to be a mildly attentive and even disbelieving gallery for a bit of messed up Wilde, Shakespeare or jazz dance for a brief moment, before offering bemused applause. It’s a neat disjuncture between a style of interaction that can be a little confrontational, and the complete self-absorption of the characters.
It’s a lovely way to spend a sunny, bustling afternoon, less RADA than Waiting for Guffman. Charming, darling.
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer