Naturalwear, 5 Riddiford St, Newtown, Wellington

11/02/2008 - 16/02/2008

Production Details

The Wombling Strumpets Presents 
A Celebration of the BRA

VünderBra! is a comedic history of the humble bra set in a site specific venue. Meet Claire-Faye & Sebrena. These polar opposite personalities work in VünderBra! a lingerie shop situated in Newtown.

Today is a particularly stressful day for our young protagonists: Sebrena, a new age flower child, finds a notice from the Wellington City Council to say that the demolition of the building which houses the shop will begin in three weeks. Where as Clare-Faye, the spoilt Daddy’s girl, is anxious to further her career – with out actually doing any real work. There’s a VIP customer evening to prepare for, and there’s conflict surrounding who will get next weekend off… Sebrena needs to be in Levin for a medieval themed wedding while Claire-Faye needs to represent at a Hip-Hop expo in Roto-Vegas? 

Creating even more tension: the International Bra Fitters Examinations are looming…

This charming, day-in-the-life comedy introduces other characters you would only meet in retail and is packed with quirky facts about the history of the brassiere. The audience is taken on a fascinating and often hilarious journey through time and fashion.

Kate McGill and Sophie Hambleton are co-founders of The Wombling Strumpets and the devisors, writers and performers of VünderBra!, this is their 1st collaboration.

Sophie graduated from Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School in November 2007. She recently completed the Go Solo season where she created a 20 minute solo show called Rudey Trudey, under the direction of Jade Eriksen and Jonathon Hendry. Sophie plans to extend this piece further and tour this year.

Kate McGill is a second year acting student at Toi Whakaari. She has produced several shows including Geraldine Brophy’s The Viagra Monologues, and Check It Out and the mockutheatre Presenting the Tinkles which she also co-wrote and performed in. In 2006 she featured as Janice in Chapman Tripp award-winning LovePuke (Best new Director: Lyndee-Jane Rutherford).

Seating is limited to 20 people per performance – early booking is advised. 

11-16 February, 8.00pm
Naturalwear, 5 Riddiford St, Newtown
Bookings: vunderbra@gmail.com  
Cost: $20/18/15

1 hr, no interval

Cameos in bra shop

Review by Lynn Freeman 06th Mar 2008

In Vünderbra, Kate McGill and Sophie Hambleton create a mini-drama in a real-life lingerie shop.  Amidst the bras and knickers, we meet shopgirl Sebrena and ambitious rich girl/would be store manager Clare-Faye. 

We also learn, via Geraldine Brophy’s divine on-screen bra-ologist June Jones, about the history of the over-shoulder-boulder-holder, one of its many nicknames over the decades. 

Site-specific work is generally good fun, as this is, with the storyline just part of the audience experience. They’re also a great chance for young actors to show what they can do in a series of cameos, and Hambleton and McGill do an excellent job of the embarrassed mossie-bite breasted schoolgirl, the rather creepy wannabe lover and the Medieval-era loving boyfriend, among others. 

The story also incorporates the history of the actual building and its renovation, a little clumsily perhaps, but a nice touch nonetheless.


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Development issues

Review by John Smythe 13th Feb 2008

Already deserving accolades for their phenomenal publicity campaign (winning feature articles in every possible publication) The Wombling Strumpets – Kate McGill and Sophie Hambleton – offer something more than a fitting tribute to a day in the lives of lingerie retailers.

Set site-specifically in a real ladies’ undie shop, it blends the testy relationship between two very different shop girls with black and white documentary footage elucidating the history of the brassiere, plus a small parade of diverse customers and visitors.

Would-be upwardly mobile Clare-Faye (McGill), from Tauranga, turns out to be the daughter of a property developer. Sebrena (Hambleton), lover of all things Medieval with links to Levin, lives upstairs with her ailing Gran and turns out to be working out her Community Service for drug offences.

The story that unfolds turns out to involve what’s fitting for the property as much as any body that passes through. As far as it goes it’s a fascinating glimpse of broadly characterised people and relationships, a tantalising nudge of development issues and a good demonstration of the excellent character-acting skills of the two performers involved.

But the limits of having just two actors, who enter and exit then return with different costume elements (rather than use a more immediate transitional device), means some set-ups come to nothing. Hambleton’s sleazy Jake, for example – Clare-Faye’s dad’s business partner – whose predatory behaviour towards Clare-Faye is effectively cringe-worthy, neither gets his come-uppance nor reveals exactly who he keeps buying lingerie for (himself, perhaps?).

Hambleton’s other characters are Julia, a shy teenager sent to get her first bra who gets short-shrift from a compassion-bypassed Clare-Faye; Fetu, a shop-lifter who provokes an all-too-familiar racist diatribe from the uptight Clare-Faye; Debra, the contractor sent to scope the refit job. And as Sebrena she also gets to sing a naff song, ostensibly to help Clare-Faye with her International Bra Fitters Examinations.

McGill also plays Sebrena’s Medievally geekish and monosyllabic love-interest Frank and a mystery shopper.

The shop-sequences are interspersed – one might say padded out – with black and white documentary footage, conveniently discovered on a video tape (remember those old things?), whereon Geraldine Brophy’s June Jones waxes lyrical on history’s handling of women’s "booswahms". Delicious.

At 45 minutes Vünderbra works well as an entertaining Fringe show that packs in a surprising amount of story content. If it were to go further, more work could be done on its core purpose.

Development – of bodies at a personal level; of buildings at a community level – and the questions of honesty and deceit that surround it, seem to be the thematic keys. With three dramaturges involved already, it may be time to settle on one. And/or perhaps this is another case where a good director could help to bring what’s already there into stronger focus.


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