BATS Theatre, Studio, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

06/03/2020 - 09/03/2020

NZ Fringe Festival 2020

Production Details

Six decades of sisterhood.

Six decades of sisterhood across the NZ feminist movement.

#UsTwo is created by sisters Sarah & Catherine Delahunty, only a year apart in age, who shared a bedroom as children and are now sharing the stage sixty years later. Both high-profile New Zealanders and outspoken political voices, Sarah and Catherine have sensational stories to share, throughout decades where history has been made.

From childhood in the fifties, adolescence in the sixties, motherhood in the eighties, and plenty more since then – both have taken a sharp feminist look back at their lives.

#UsTwo is comic on some levels, tragic on others – and often both at once.

6 – 9 March 2020
7pm except Sunday at 6pm
Full Price $22
Group 6+ $20
Concession Price $17
Addict Cardholder $15 

*Access to The Heyday Dome is via stairs, so please contact the BATS Box Office at least 24 hours in advance if you have accessibility requirements so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Read more about accessibility at BATS.

Theatre ,

1 hr

Adorable, funny, poignant then a bit preachy

Review by Ines Maria Almeida 07th Mar 2020

Pitched as a show about women for women, the Delahunty sisters use #USTWO to explore six decades of sisterhood focussing on personal experiences and how they’ve experienced the feminist movement in New Zealand. Sarah and Catherine Delahunty shared a bedroom as children and when we enter the room, we’re there with them, soft animals, beds, and all.

Let’s not beat around the waxed bush here: both women are high-profile New Zealanders with outspoken political voices, which is why the place is packed. Sarah is an award-winning playwright, and Catherine is a former Green MP. These women have lived big lives and obviously have stories to tell from a difficult childhood in the 50s, the swinging 60s where they discover their sexuality, to what feels like very complicated motherhood in the 80s, to mention just a few topics they touch on during the hour. 

I figured the best person to bring to this production would be one of my closest girlfriends who is like a sister to me. Seeing the sisters sit there on stage as we walk in is a precious sight: there’s something so magical about sisterhood. It’s something I’ve always wanted to experience, but alas I was blessed (or cursed) with two brothers instead.

The Delahunty sisters clearly have the chemistry I’ve always dreamed about between sisters. Neither of them miss a beat delivering their lines, and you can feel the energy rippling between them on stage. It’s adorable to see them re-enact their childhood, lying in bed, asking the other if they’re awake. The dialogue is simply a retelling of their lives, somewhat fragmented, but linear with their ages.

I have to admit, the child-like personas they inhabit become tedious after a while and I find myself longing for the spirited feminist narrative that I thought I had been promised. They do well in tempering narrative with humour and even song and dance, but I come for the sassy discourse and I leave empty handed.

There are laughs throughout but I have to look around to see where they’re coming from, because I’m not getting a lot of these jokes. You might know that feeling of being left out of an in-joke between close friends or siblings. The intimacy of the sisters gossiping on the carpet is special to be privy to, but if you’re from a foreign land (guilty as charged) a lot of the Kiwi-isms will fly right over your head. But hey, the Kiwis in the audience appear to be truly enjoying themselves. I don’t think I’m the target audience, and my English date concurs.

The best part of #USTWO is seeing the women riff about their past lovers and boyfriends in a kind of competition. When they’re having a laugh gasbagging about their past conquests I feel that familiar pang of wishing I’d grown up with a sister. From talking about the disappointment of being born a girl to mallow puffs, orgies in Lower Hutt, and more poignant topics like depression, anxiety and panic attacks, it feels like this short play is trying to cover too much.

When they get political, I tune out, which might say more about me than the performers. As a mother myself, the parts about motherhood feel tropey and overcooked. Yes, motherhood is difficult. Tell me something us mothers don’t know. Is it funny that doctors tell women that giving birth is similar to having an orgasm, or is that a quip that’s been said too many times for a cheap laugh? Sure, it gets laughs from women of that same generation, but the younger ones in the crowd don’t seem all that impressed (i.e. lots of head shaking). 

The sisters explore two kinds of sisterhood: the one that they share and then the larger concept of sisterhood, which I’m assuming is a kind of feminism where women support women, or we’re at least seen as humans. I’m on board with this until it becomes a bit negative, judgey and yes, preachy. But then it’s this part of the play that makes me question this generation’s view of feminism and if it can even fit in with the current feminist scene. Should feminists be shaming each other for waxing or designing the perfect ass, or how they raise their babies, give birth, political leanings, or anything else? Hard no.

I always thought feminism was about having the right to do what you want and supporting women to do the same. If that’s not what the Delahunty sisters meant by ‘sisterhood’, then I’m afraid to say their brand of ‘feminism’ is rather outdated. 


Sylvia Bagnall March 9th, 2020

I am not sure that we saw the same play! For me it was poignant, clever and yes, funny. Feminism is political! Whatever made you think otherwise?

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