St Martin's Hall, Northumberland St, North East Valley ., Dunedin

22/03/2013 - 23/03/2013

Dunedin Fringe 2013

Production Details

Cabaret Botanica proudly presents the world premiere of Valley Tales, broadcasting live and in colour from Dunedin’s own North East Valley. Music, comedy, unforgettable characters, news and views from the local community. This is old timey radio variety with a generous helping of fun and laughter for the whole family, and a modern twist for the generation that’s heard it all.

Winner of Best Production Design – 2012 Dunedin Fringe Festival 

Northern Artery is Dunedin’s newest arts collective. Based in the North East Valley, we are a community focussed organization of artists, musicians, performers, craftspeople and supporters of a creative community. Northern Artery was formed to celebrate and foster the creative and cultural vitality and diversity that makes the Valley special.

This Fringe Festival, Northern Artery, with the help of the award-winning Cabaret Botanica team, is proud to introduce Valley Tales, a public radio variety show with a twist, broadcasting live and in colour from a community near you!

Connecting community through live music and performance, news, reports, comments, features, and (inter)views from both ends of the valley, Valley Tales brings you a generous helping of old favourites with lashings of multi-talented newcomers all trying their hand at this dangerous new medium. Toe-tapping music is provided by the Valley Tales’ own outstanding house-band, Superbum and the Good Seeds (as seen in Cabaret Botanica), ably supported by last year’s crowd favourites, the evergreen and ever gorgeous Deadheads. Cameo appearances from Professor Vulgaris, local gardener extraordinaire, and introducing eco-terrorist turned sexologist, Miz Morning Glory.

So dapper up and head on down to the North East Valley to watch some radio!

St Martins Hall 
9 Northumberland St, Dunedin
Dates:  March 22, 23
Venue:  St Martins Hall
Time:  6:00pm, 9:00pm.
Duration:  90 minutes
Full Price: $15.00
Concession Price: $12.00
Door sales available (cash only) 

World Premier | Family Friendly | Wheelchair Accessible

1hr 30min

Facing floods with Good Seeds, Deadheads, dancing and Daisy

Review by Terry MacTavish 23rd Mar 2013

My worst fears of the dread consequences of Global Warming are realised, as Dunedin’s North East Valley faces the prospect of catastrophic floods!  Fortunately this is one of our most close-knit and supportive communities: they coped with the same disaster when the Water of Leith flooded in1929 (really!), and will face it bravely together this time. And they have a saviour: none other than Radio’s Aunt Daisy, icon of the 40s, who comes to the rescue with bracing advice and handy home tips.

Botanica’s format is an old-fashioned radio show, in the style of The Prairie Home Companion, and we are the live audience. Dal More, played by Terry Ebeling, is the urbane host, steering us through songs, news and serials.  Clare Adams, who doubles – make that quadruples – as director, co-producer and writer, is an impeccable choice for announcer Aunt Daisy, a splendid NZ identity; mad as a meat axe.  She sweeps into St Martin’s Hall, where we sit meekly at tables prettily decorated with flowers and embroidered cloths, and is in complete charge from then on, occasionally summoning us to take part. None dare say her nay… 

We don’t meet the villain of the piece, Lindsay Creek (actually the name of the stream that runs through NEV), with his selfish plans to destroy the valley, but incited by Daisy, we bond against him. Meanwhile, the show must go on, so we get to enjoy a serial horror story which provides some smashing sound effects, and some living history, as a bride (Sue Taylor) tells the true story of her ill-fated wedding, ruined by the ’29 flood that swept her fiancé away. All this is interspersed with lively jingles for local businesses that have the audience chuckling with recognition. 

The cast are a mixture of professionals and eager locals, many from the regular Valley choir, accompanied by the mellifluous house-band, The Good Seeds. They are all clearly having a ball, as well as painlessly educating us in their history, helped by some impressive slides of the flood of ’29 which made the Valley uninhabitable. 

The most thrilling, chills-down-the-spine moment is the glorious rendition of Cry Me A River by Clare Adams. Her voice is ravishing and makes me long for more. The Good Seeds sing beautifully though, Inge Andrew also lending a surprisingly gracious presence to the role of Narrator for the serialised Horror Story.  And I especially enjoy an unexpected appearance by Brenda Harwood, richly resonant as the Reporter who acts as a Town Crier, bringing various devastating news bulletins to the Valley. 

Audience favourites of course are the Deadheads, a grand group of local women gardeners armed with huge secateurs and a tendency to face life’s vicissitudes with a song.  They promptly don lifejackets and bathing caps, and start knitting sandbags.  Their singing of popular songs, with the lyrics shamelessly altered, is proof of disciplined rehearsal, and I spot more than one proud husband in the audience filming his wife’s every move and tuneful note. 

You might wonder how a group of rather winsome dancers come to be performing on a radio programme. Apparently, and we have the host’s word for this, there are regular requests for Radio Dancing, as the listeners are enraptured by the footfalls. That’s what he said, yes. 

Last year’s Cabaret Botanica with its fabulous flower fantasies allowed real scope for the fecund creativity of award-winning designer Sharon Matthews. This year’s theme is a little more restrictive, but Matthews has clearly plundered the op shops with inspired abandon and the Deadheads, in particular, are something to behold in their magnificent floral hats and outrageous bathing caps, while a serene 40s elegance rules elsewhere. 

If the Valley Community and arts collective Northern Artery have any say in the matter, we may yet be inundated by rising waters, but at least we won’t drown plugged into our digi-toys; we’ll be out making our own entertainment with friends, the old-fashioned way.  I can’t wait to see what Clare Adams and her enterprising acolytes come up with for the next Fringe Festival! 

By the way, did you know that if you have flies in your meat safe, you need only introduce a spider and the problem is solved?  No, no, don’t thank me, thank Aunt Daisy.


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