Te Whaea National Dance and Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Rd, Newtown, Wellington

03/02/2012 - 12/02/2012

Production Details

Long Cloud Youth Theatre and the fantastical, improbable legend of TOM KEEPER PASSES!

The bees have gone. No one quite knows why. One day they were there and the next they weren’t.

Over the past four months the members of Long Cloud have been working with Aaron Cortesi, Leon Wadham and multi-award winning playwright Eli Kent to devise a bizarre and twisted allegory for our times. Playful, wicked and darkly humorous, this is vital storytelling for anyone prepping for the world to come.

Following the success of YO FUTURE, Long Cloud continues to develop its Company vision with new work TOM KEEPER PASSES. Created in collaboration with both Downstage Theatre and Toi Whakaari: The New Zealand Drama School, Long Cloud will present this original production in Te Whaea Theatre from the 3rd until the 12th of February.

Hurtling between families, over oceans and through the years, TOM KEEPER PASSES presents a world out of balance and the people teetering upon it. In a time of crisis, can we trust ourselves to find any answers? What can we change? Where do we start?

Artistic Director Aaron Cortesi: “22 young actors spill onto the stage, their hopes and fears laid bare. Tom Keeper Passes is their fable for our times. Its exciting, raw, epic…pure Long Cloud.”

Long Cloud Youth Theatre is a hothouse forNew Zealand’s most exciting young acting talent. Long Cloud, run by Whitireia New Zealand and based inWellington, is a unique training and production company for young people aged 16-21. The Company gives young actors the means to enhance their theatrical skills through practical performance experience and the opportunity to work withWellington’s foremost theatrical directors and tutors.

Company credits are YO FUTURE (2011), SHEEP (2011), DAUGHTERS OF HEAVEN (2011), EQUUS (2010), THE SEAGULL (2010), VERNON GOD LITTLE (2010), TITUS ANDRONICUS (2009), THE CRUCIBLE (2009), GRIMM & COLONY! (2008/2009) AND SPRING AWAKENING (2008).

Tom Keeper Passes
TE WHAEA THEATRE, 11 Hutchison Rd, Wellington
3rd February – 12th February.
Tues – Sat shows @ 8pm, Sunday’s @ 3pm.

Patrick Carroll
Keiran Charnock
Tom Clarke
Johanna Cosgrove
Lily Della Porta
Pippa Drakeford
Ella Gilbert
Ella Hope-Higginson
Patrick Hunn
Olivia Mahood
Lewis McLeod
Livvy Nonoa
Michelle Ny
Barney Olsen
Sam Phillips
Will Robertson
Anna Robinson
Freya Sadgrove
Ana Scotney
Ria Simmons
Chris Swney

Devised by Aaron Cortesi, Leon Wadham, Eli Kent & Cast
Director Aaron Cortesi
Writer Eli Kent
Co-Director Leon Wadham
Production Management Paul Tozer
Set Design Oliver Morse
Lighting Design Nathan McKendry
Sound Design Matthew Eller
Singing Coach/Composition Hayley Sproull
Stage Manager Alana Kelly
Movement Coach Ria Simmons
Costume Design Emma Nicholls
Lighting Operator Hamish Baxter-Broad
Produced by Long Cloud Youth Theatre in association with Whitireia New Zealand
Production Photos by Philip Merry & Michelle Ny  

Dazzling melange funny, haunting

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 09th Feb 2012

“The whole world’s in a terrible state of chassis” says Captain Boyle at the end of O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock and it would appear from Long Cloud Theatre’s last devised production, Yo Future, and their latest, Tom Keeper Passes, it isn’t going to get any better because this time the bees have vanished.

Until Yo Future this youth theatre group specialised in scripted plays, which was fine except too many actors ended up playing walk-on roles; with devised work everyone participates in the making of the show as well as having a moment or two to shine.

A great deal of hard work has been spent over the past four months on the show’s creation and it’s all triumphantly on display at Te Whaea: Oliver Morse’s spectacular twin-towered wooden setting, Matthew Eller’s pulsating sound design, Nathan McKendry’s startling lighting; Ria Simmons’s amusing choreography, Emma Nicholls’s clever costumes, and the twenty-one young performers’ discipline and maturity.

This hour-long show starts with the cast as a tightly-knit group watching the audience and not a TV set as in Yo Future; at the end, as in Yo Future, the group has broken up into small argumentative units all of which seem to have an answer to the problems of the world but a Queen Bee has not been found and blame has to be apportioned to explain the ‘chassis’ however crazy the reason, such as ‘Someone shifted the sun’.

A melange of sharply defined scenes depicting everything from a beggar on the streets to a disillusioned rebel to a group of do-gooders looking for answers in personal feel-good mantras, to everyone looking for a saviour, to a person committing suicide, and someone who believes that technology will be the answer.

If it sounds grim, it isn’t. It is exhilarating, sobering and often very funny indeed. The comic highlights are when everyone performs a celebratory, almost balletic dance and when two tents perform a mating ritual which had the audience almost hysterical with laughter. However, the lyrics of Queen’s 39 (“For my life’s still ahead, pity me”), which are earlier hauntingly sung by the cast, come to mind at the finale when a door eerily opens to reveal blazing lights and engulfing smoke. A splendid production. 


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