There's You

Wellington Performing Arts Centre, Wellington

08/02/2008 - 10/02/2008

NZ Fringe Festival 2008

Production Details

Peek-a-boo – There’s You! 

An adult’s logic.

A child’s world of imagination.

The reality of domestic violence.

What side are you on?

Follow Michael down the rabbit hole where imagination and reality entwine in his pursuit for identity.

View the stress of domestic violence through the innocent eyes of a child.

Life’s tough when you’re seven – especially when you’re a clown. Michael has the constant challenge of keeping the peace between his warring mother and father. Desperate to make his mother happy and to be accepted by his father, it all becomes too much for a little clown to take.

Michael crawls into a world of make-believe where he is king. Could Michael be safe in this new world?

There’s You was devised and performed by graduates of the Wellington Performing Arts Centre’s Advanced Acting course, with guidance from Chapman-Tripp award-winning director, Ryan Hartigan (After Kafka) and BBC international award-winning playwright, Phillip Braithwaite (The Human Engine).

There’s You clearly demonstrates SlightlyTouching’s make ’em laugh, make ’em cry approach to theatre.

There’s You
February 8, 9, 8pm
February 10, 6.30pm
Wellington Performing Arts Centre, 36 Vivian Street Wellington
Entry by koha  

Reihana: Tamati Pere
Carol: Debs Rea
Michael: Jessica Aaltonen
Carmen: Emmy-Rose Walker
John the Grape: Isaac Heron
Auntie Queenie: Sarah O'Connell

Empathy for clown escapee from domestic violence carries the show

Review by Jackson Coe 10th Feb 2008

SlightlyTouching’s devised production of There’s You demonstrates the troupe’s willingness to confront some very tough issues – those of domestic violence and its effects on a young soul.  Utilising what seems to be the beginning of a trademark of the group, There’s You‘s colourful and lively cast succeed well in using the ‘make ’em laugh, make ’em cry’ approach.  Their blend of energetic comedy and heavy drama allows the audience easy access to the topic, and their message long stays with you.

Wee Michael is a high-spirited, care-free soul with an unconcealed sense of fun and playfulness.  Unfortunately, the relationship between his parents is far from care-free, as illustrated by some of the strong moments of violence and hostility in the show’s opening scenes.  To escape from this harsh environment, Michael escapes to another world beyond his refrigerator, where he discovers his value and significance to those around him.

As graduates of the Wellington Performing Arts Centre, the group are obviously keen to show off the range of physical acting skills they have learnt throughout their course.  Michael’s fantasy land is dominated by clowns of all shapes and sizes imaginable (including several rather cheeky ones without any pants). 

Michael himself is presented as a clown from the outset of the production, and it is in this manifestation that Jessica Aaltonen shines through as a gifted and captivating performer.  Her use of voice, breath and body are each utterly maximised, and it is our empathy for her which carries the show throughout the hour.  The remainder of the cast perform adequately, displaying a sure-footed connection to physical theatre and clowning conventions which is commendable, yet far from mind-blowing.

At times, the physical comedy aspect of the show dissolves into an unnecessary amount of coarse language.  I’m all for anarchy and debauchery, but I question the necessity of it within the context of the play.  When inside Michael’s fantasy land, the play crosses over into the realm of a children’s stage show, which is a nice juxtaposition against the weight of the domestic scenes.  However I feel that to be true to Michael’s plight, the piece should commit entirely to the form and not allow itself to get lost in a barrage of ineffective cussing.

If SlightlyTouching remain true to their ‘make ’em laugh, make ’em cry’ approach, these guys sure have the potential to produce some seriously wicked community theatre. 


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