Thistle Hall, Cnr Cuba & Arthur Streets, Wellington

16/02/2016 - 20/02/2016

NZ Fringe Festival 2016 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details

Sam watched The Notebook, like, once. It didn’t do much for her. Too many like, violins, or something. Juno was ok. Submarine was great. And actually she watched 500 Days of Summer almost once a week between year 11 and 12 but she’d rather pretend that phase didn’t happen.

One late night she cut herself a fringe ’cause her mum said it was a stupid idea and would just get in her face all the time. She popped out the lenses of her 3D glasses and posed in the mirror for a bit. She thought she looked great but was way too self-conscious to actually wear them out of the house. 

Taylor never watched The Notebook. He didn’t watch much, actually. Well except for music DVDs. Cause then he was like, actually learning something instead of wasting time y’know. Between year 11 and 12 he would get up late and make eggs on toast for breakfast and play Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones cause no one was home. He grew his hair long and started wearing his shirt unbuttoned with fancy silk neckscarves. Then after a few years everyone started telling him he looked like Harry Styles so he stopped. 

Now Sam and Taylor are older and maybe a little bit wiser, and reuniting for the first time in years. They’re even meeting in the midst of a wild wood. How much more Romantic (with a real capital ‘R’) can you get? 

Thistle Hall, 293 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington
8pm, 16-20 Feb (60 min)

Theatre ,

Buoyant, whimsical and insightful

Review by Lena Fransham 17th Feb 2016

Written by Courtney Rose Brown and directed by Aimee Smith, Through Rose Coloured Glasses has a childlike, home-made feel, from the hand-drawn publicity posters to the low-budget set design (Kasey Collins). The central feature of the set is a textile arrangement in a loose gesture toward tree shapes (it takes me a while to understand that they’re trees) with a diaphanous tent draped between them. Floor lights interact with fabric to evoke gloom and translucence by turns, quite reminiscent of a forest (lighting Annabella Gamboni). 

Thirteen-year-old Taylor likes Nirvana and plays in a band. Sam writes poetry and Taylor teases her about it. Taylor attempts to impress her with tall stories. Sam is grudgingly impressed that he’s in a band. He stays with her family a lot. When Taylor moves away to a school in Auckland, he and Sam make a pact to meet once a year at the same spot in the forest.

Their meetings chart the course of their growing up and become a steady revelation of all the corners of their relationship. They revisit memories and play games from childhood, argue and miss chances to say important things.

Brown has made the slipperiness of chronology work. The narrative jumps from the child Sam stealing Taylor’s lollies, for instance, to 22-year-old Sam arguing with Taylor as he chugs on a vodka bottle, back to a teenage scene, forward again to a continuation of the argument which reveals dark realities of those earlier years. At first it’s disorienting – some of the transitions are too vague and confusing – but the cumulative effect is a collage of rich impressions that give a powerful sense of a relationship.  

Brown’s script strikes a remarkable balance between melancholy, tension and playfulness. Movement, humour and dialogue bubble effortlessly in a sparky rapport that’s a real strength in the actors, who have a brilliant knack for timing and an authentic vulnerability.

Aimee Smith’s direction unifies these elements with astute design features (especially Jonathan Shirley and Madelaine Empson’s graceful sound design) into a buoyant, whimsical and insightful observation of issues around love, mental illness, abuse and growing up. Just lovely.


Editor February 17th, 2016

Done - thanks for the correction. 

Madelaine Empson February 17th, 2016

Hi there, thanks for such a lovely review! My name is Madelaine Empson, sound designer. Please ammend. Thanks again!

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