The Monster Monologues

Te Karanga Gallery, Auckland

13/04/2010 - 17/04/2010

Production Details

PLEASE STOP STARING, written by Lily Richards, performed by Andrew Munro
PARTS FOR THE PRINCES,written by Paul Rothwell, performed by Sarah Thomson
BOOB MONSTER, written by Allen Huang, performed by Natasha Ross
CYNTHIA, written and performed by Yvette Parsons
DO YOU LOVE ME?, written by Joseph Harper, performed by Lara Fischel-Chisholm
MAXINE RUAKURA: REFLECTIONS FROM A NZ LAGER CAN, written by Samuel Elliot Snowdon, performed by Virginia Frankovich
SUZY BOON, written by Roberto Nascimento, performed by Kura Forrester

Te Karanga Gallery 108 K’road
Tuesday 13th, Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th April at 8pm 


1hr 15 mins, no interval

Fresh pickings of provocative fare from our energy-rich soils

Review by Nik Smythe 14th Apr 2010

Prolific Playwright/director Tom Sainsbury relinquishes his scripting duties this time, directing seven short one-actor plays written by seven young newcomers – some of them actors themselves. The result is an eclectic array of quirky, macabre and frequently amusing characters offering their takes on the intricacies of life, love, society, that kind of stuff.
Kicking it all off, Lily Richards’ dryly amusing Please Stop Staring is the only one with a male character. Andrew Munro is a cynical, condescending hybrid breed: mostly human, and about a tenth star-nosed brown mole, mainly in the face region. Resembling a bright red exploding octopus with beady black eyes, the unfortunate fellow has been reduced to these public interviews – a kind of circus freak show in the modern era. His contempt for all of us is extremely clear, yet for all his long-suffering alleged superiority there’s no envying this schmuck. 
Parts for the Princess by Paul Rothwell begins innocently enough – Sarah Thomson is the gorgeous princess, seated elegantly in a long off-white dress doing needlepoint and chattering excitedly about her impending betrothal to her perfect prince, whom she first met in a dream. Initially I couldn’t see what’s so monstrous about this, but as the slightly demented maiden elaborates on the Frankensteinian methods of procuring said groom it not only answered my question, but thinking back over the septet it’d be fair to say she’s ultimately the most monstrous of the lot. 
The evocatively titled Boob Monster written by Allen Huang stars Natasha Wilcox as Lisa, a bitter, haughty young career-woman in the vicious jungle-world of corporate advertising. That’s enough of a monster right there you’d be justified in suggesting, but the arrival of her nemesis Tiffany and her considerable up-front assets marks the beginning of the end for the vexatious Lisa. Well played with some nice lines, the conclusion has a passable twist but seems a bit hurried and tacked on so that I didn’t really buy it. 
Yvette Parsons wrote and performs monsterlogue #4 Cynthia, the title role being your classic old biddy with Princess Di bag attending the wedding of a couple of youngsters from the neighbourhood. More a simple character study than a true narrative, Cynthia’s snuck off to scoff a giant helping of pavlova and express every bigoted view possible about all the people present, as well as Hare Krishnas, Maoris, Asians, wimmins libbers, you name it. Parsons’ wee vignette is quite brilliantly conceived and one of the most laugh-out-loud of the evening, which is saying something. 
Joseph Harper’s interesting Do You Love Me? has Lara Fischel-Chisolm at first seeming to play a sort of theatrical ode to her parents. A most convincing spunky young 18-year old emo-punk type girl with a typical teenage air of self-satisfied smugness, she describes her formative years as a tumultuous ride involving every parent’s nightmares of drugs, sex and debauchery. Also typical of teens, her main agenda appears to be to prove her parents wrong no matter what, and given their unconditional love for her the only way she can achieve that is apparently to be as entirely unlovable as she can.
Maxine Ruakura Monologue: Reflections from a New Zealand Lager Can by Samuel Elliot is a gritty tale of familial loyalty and betrayal, well played by Virginia Frankovich. Maxine is a Westie chick with a lot of attitude frequently thwarted by her abusive husband Bruce, driven to desperate actions through her love for her son Kaya. An honest attempt at a less amusingly expressed allegory, the lack of humour means it takes a bit more effort to follow the narrative. 
Rounding off a rollercoaster of monstrosity is Roberto Nascimento’s Suzie Boon starring Kura Forrester as Suzie, a frantic customs official who struggles in her hilariously uncoordinated fashion to assert her importance to society by way of terrorising her tourist interviewees. A priceless classic character who deserves her own show, Suzie echoes equal parts Beth Heke and Lynn of Tawa with a smattering of the street smarts of Napoleon Dynamite and her manic recital is a high note to finish on. 
Overall Sainsbury excels in bringing seven distinct original works into being, and anyone keen to witness up-to-the-minute fresh, provocative local theatre from the energy-rich soils of our dramatic community should go. Pay what you like, two more nights only!

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