THE TROJAN WAR
BATS Theatre, The Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington
16/08/2022 - 20/08/2022
Created by A Slightly Isolated Dog
Five flirtatious “French” performers meet you at the door. They bring you in, they show you to your seat, they flirt with you. Maybe they fall a little bit in love with you. Then they tell the story – with you.
Like a wild dress-up party, this show combines theatrical magic, twisted pop songs and explosive wit. The most charming performers you can hope to meet play a revolving repertoire of outrageous characters.
Created and performed by A Slightly Isolated Dog, this New Zealand theatre company delivers a frantic and hilarious mash-up in the style of Python meets The Boosh. Leave your inhibitions at the door and play.
Starring Cherie Moore, Jack Buchanan, Jonathan Price, Susie Berry and Andrew Paterson with sound design from Sam Clavis and direction from Leo Gene Peters.
The Trojan War was created with support from Creative New Zealand.
BATS Theatre, The Stage
16 – 20 August 2022
Group 6+: $22
The Difference: $40
1 hr 10 min
Dynamic ensemble brings Homer home
Review by John Smythe 17th Aug 2022
A Slightly Isolated Dog’s very famous, very French, incredibly sexy and slightly altered ensemble is back with a brand-new epic that plumbs the depths of classical literature to highlight a topic of great contemporary relevance. This time, it’s war.
Having delivered their public health announcements regarding mask-wearing and sanitising, they proceed to ‘insanitise’ The Trojan War with their trademark mashup of legendary storytelling riddled with witty anachronisms, audience interaction and entirely voluntary participation, immediate love stories juxtaposed with the mythologised ones, wacky props and costumes, mind-bending metaphysics, fabulous physicality, sublime singing and superb sound effects. Crowns, bucket heads and veils allow characters to pass from actor to actor.
Lily (Susie Berry), Julie (Andrew Paterson), Phillipe (Jonathan Price), Bastien (Jack Buchanan) and Celeste (new-to-the-team Cherie Moore) – with sound designer/operator Sam Clavis and director Leo Gene Peters – bring Homer home in their hugely entertaining style while leaving us in no doubt that warfare is humankind’s most idiotic invention.
The Greeks also invented gods, demigods and oracles to monitor their moral responsibilities and intervene at strategic moments. Iconic protectors like the Palladium loomed large in their mythology too. As for Fate – how does Free Will dance with that? The same way Chaos jives with Order, I guess. All these are active elements in this Trojan War.
Of course the fabled ‘fourth wall’ has no place in this genre – except when it does. The wall around the city of Troy is as invisible as it is impenetrable. The clunk of actors colliding with it is but one of the countless sonic inputs that so ingeniously give substance to what is imagined. And the much-anticipated construction of the legendary Wooden Horse is one of the show’s many highlights.
Everyone will have their own favourite moments. Perhaps it will be the metaphysical fandango metaphorically danced between Determinism and Moral Responsibility resulting in the realisation that we are simultaneously powerless but culpable. Or the double entendre rippling through the description of how Helen and Paris feel about each other, resulting in the abduction that sparks off the ten-year war. Or the painfully insightful love stories beginning with audience members reading ardent promises off cue cards before betrayal and breakup ensues, followed by heart-warming reconciliation.
Maybe the flotilla of paper boats heading from Sparta to Troy will be especially memorable. Or the silliest moments, like how the New World gets depicted in the narrative. Or the exquisite singing of songs like ‘Boss Bitch’, ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, ‘Sail Again’, Wrecking Ball …
For me the acme is the visceral yet contactless fight between Achilles and Hector – played out by Lily/ Susie Berry and Phillipe/Jonathan Price – to a brilliantly scored sfx track.
Overall the deceptively casual yet energetic, apparently random yet astutely purposeful and comical yet tragical performance of the whole ensemble creates a dynamic 70 minutes of superbly executed live theatre.
- Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer