We've Got So Much To Talk About

BATS Theatre, The Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

13/09/2023 - 16/09/2023

Lyttelton Arts Factory, Lyttelton

20/10/2023 - 22/10/2023

Titirangi Theatre, Lopdell House, Auckland

08/12/2023 - 10/12/2023

TAHI Festival 2023

Production Details

Creative team:

Performer & creator – Sally Stockwell
Musician, sound design & operation – Chris Marshall
Director – Julia Harvie

‘We’ve Got So Much To Talk About’ is a contemporary theatre gig that takes an unbridled ride through the chaotic world of motherhood with rock ‘n roll songs, stories and a Vegas showgirl thrown in for good measure. Set in a dream world of backstage tour cases, tangled cables, and hanging microphones. Sally Stockwell navigates the live wire mess of parenting with mesmerising vocals, a looping pedal and her body. This solo show touches the jagged edges of early motherhood with honesty, humour and the beating heart of love and validation.

Fresh from its 2022 debut theatre season and the Ōtautahi Tiny Performance Fest, ‘We’ve Got So Much To Talk About’ will appeal to all those who are a mother, know a mother, or have a mother.

Made with the support of Creative New Zealand and the Ōtautahi Tiny Performance Fest.

“We’ve Got So Much To Talk About’ is a defiant cry, is catharsis, is a manifesto, is a release….. Each personal memory shared onstage gestures to the hopes, fears, and stifling expectations women the world over carry….. possessing a fantastic singing voice, Stockwell ranges from siouxsie sioux strength to grimes otherworldliness… Release the Soundtrack’” – Theatre Scenes, Irene Corbett

Loud music and sounds, partial nudity.

The Dome, BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace, Mt Victoria, Wellington
Wednesday 13 – Saturday 16 September
Price: $20 – $25
Book here: https://www.tahifestivalnz.com/weve-got-so-much-to-talk-about

Lyttelton Arts Factory, 20 – 22 October 2023
Fri 8pm, Sat 2pm & 8PM, Sun 4pm
$20 – $30

Dramaturge & collaboration - Emma Willis
Lighting - Tim Jansen
Choreographic collaborator - Hannah Tasker-Poland
Technical Operators - Rebekah de Roo and Chris Marshall

Made with the support of Creative New Zealand and the Ōtautahi Tiny Performance Fest

Multimedia , Music , Theatre , Solo ,

55 minutes

Stockwell Outstanding in 'We've Got So Much to Talk About'.

Review by Lexie Matheson ONZM 10th Dec 2023

Titirangi Theatre was formed in 1935 by Ethelwynn Geddes and was part of the Country Women’s Institute based in the MacAndrew Hall on Titirangi Road. Called ‘The Drama Circle’, it consisted only of women until about 1951, when gradually, as productions became more ambitious, men were drawn in as well.

Why does this matter?

Simply because, going to a show at Titirangi Theatre is like taking a good few steps back in time – it’s worth a visit just to ride the wonderful 1940’s lift. Don’t get me wrong, all the theatre facilities are top notch but there’s a lovely sense of ‘days gone by’ in the decor and even in the surrounds, a trip back to a more refined and delicate age.

Having said that, there’s nothing delicate, nor is there any exquisite sense of yesterday, in Sally Stockwell’s superb solo work We’ve Got So Much to Talk About. It’s as blunt as a ball-peen hammer and as technically contemporary as tomorrow’s lunch. It’s also deliciously nuanced, and fare as rich as Great Grandma’s Cherished Christmas Pud.

In short, it’s great theatre.

The fact that it’s largely about motherhood also seems more than appropriate.

It’s fair to say that We’ve Got So Much to Talk About has been around the traps a bit but Stockwell, in her publicity, explains this by noting ‘I’m proud to say that we’ve worked hard since its premiere last year and there are lots of great changes – it’s better, stronger, slicker. Worth coming a second time or seeing it for the first if you missed it last time. You won’t be disappointed!’

I didn’t see it last time, and, no, I wasn’t disappointed. Not one bit.

We’ve Got So Much to Talk About describes itself as a ‘high-octane one-woman rock ‘n’ roll theatre-gig that explores the challenges and complexities of motherhood through a mashup of sound, song, movement, and rebellion via themes of isolation, freedom, feminism and the struggle between artistry and motherhood’ and it certainly does all that.

More too, but I’ll get to that.

‘With a loop pedal and surprising household objects, Stockwell fuses earthy electronic soundscapes, edgy stripped-back melodies, and rich vocal harmonies into a powerful and emotive musical experience.’

You need to be multi-talented to achieve all that, and Stockwell is, without a shadow of doubt, multi-talented. What makes Stockwell refreshingly different is that she also works relentlessly at her craft and shares her methods and her passions in online interviews that we can all track down and learn from. I did, and it’s well worth the effort. It’s good knowledge, and we all benefit.

What makes We’ve Got So Much to Talk About stand out above most solo shows is that it leaves nothing on the rehearsal floor, in the birthing suite, nor in the nursery. Everything is fair game. Stockwell is immensely courageous in her honesty, and this allows us real access to her experiences as a Mum, as an artist, and the ridiculous balancing act necessary to be outstanding at both. It’s ‘warts and all’, but never self-indulgent, and it’s very, very funny – in a somewhat dark way. No, I’ll be honest, it’s bloody black at times, and it has to be to avoid the danger of just being a paean to the dreadfulness of motherhood – it isn’t – and that rare nakedness that goes along with being a performing artist – it is – and bravery and humour are great, dual devices for achieving this subtle catharsis.

The songs and soundscapes that make up We’ve Got So Much to Talk About are rich and beautifully integrated, the styles diverse and individual, and all are superbly performed by a musician at the absolute top of her game.

The full house – mostly women – drifts in and everyone is seated exactly where they want to be as if by magic. This, in itself, is no mean feat in an auditorium that has general admission

We are greeted by a set that is a clutter of the domestic – a tea set, a tray of kitchen detritus, a vacuum cleaner – alongside an array of microphones and an overall feel of a recording studio held together by a tangle of wires and cables and not much else. It’s immediately clear, however, that this isn’t the case. A place for everything and everything in its place, and Stockwell manoeuvres her way through this extraordinary labyrinth for the next hour without a single blip, not a single jack plug wrongly inserted. It’s very clever work, and as perfect an opening night as I’ve seen in a ‘Sunth of Mondays.’

Stockwell introduces herself and her music, she makes an impressive loop – she’s a mum, a sister, a daughter, a singer, a songwriter, an actor, a witch. There are the recorded sounds of audience applause married to real audience applause – a lovely touch.

Now it’s audition time. For some obscure thing or other. It’s awful. Many of us have been there. It’s deeply inhumane. The denouement? ‘We were actually looking for someone younger’.

There’s talk of sherry and Valium, resonances of Paul Simon’s drug-numb ‘Dangling Conversation’, a delicious burlesque sequence, a litany of roles played – the Disney Mom, playing the Mum of a son who is, in reality, only eight years younger than she is, along with timeless questions like ‘do actors get what it means to be a Mum when they aren’t one?’

There’s the incongruity of Patient Grizelda – Chaucer and Churchill – and it all makes sense, even the impatient director whose ‘just say the lines’ really resonates.

Suddenly it’s the end, imaginative, extraordinary, and wonderful. The audience is silent, then it erupts.

We are stupefyingly satisfied, but Stockwell is gone.


To relieve a frazzed babysitter? A nodding-off husband? Or just to have a bliss-filled moment of quiet in the dressing room after a wonderful opening night?

We’ve Got So Much to Talk About really is exceptional. Stockwell is superb. As conceiver, writer, composer, performer, everything, she does the industry proud, an industry that often does not deserve this level of continued excellence – it eats you up and spits you out – ‘we were looking for someone younger’ as though you’re an over-cooked steak that has failed to satisfy, and it’s all your fault.

I take from my evening, Stockwell’s outstanding courage, her sublime artistry, the selfless access she gives us to her pain and joy each in equal measure, and how she then makes them universal and available to everyone.

One more performance in this Auckland season. You should go.

You won’t be disappointed.

More please.


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A unifying exploration of the sensation and circumstance to do with being a mother.

Review by Lindsay Clark 21st Oct 2023

As a not unfamiliar performer in both film and television, Sally Stockwell – the versatile creator of the show – fits the lively spring mood of a holiday weekend. In a self-described mash-up of song, electronic sound and material expressive of motherhood and its frustrations, the actor crams into an hour of vigorous entertainment the quicksilver movement, inventive sound arrangements and all the hallmarks of a warmly communicative solo performer.

There is no narration as such to the show, but a unifying exploration of sensation and circumstance to do with being a mother. The opening wails from a demanding baby lead to a series of pressured responses before the tension resolves in the firm decision that this harried mother must and will learn to love herself again.

No formal set is needed. Instead there are five or so performance points around the space, set up to furnish this or that part of the show. Stockwell easily moves about so that there is no sense of dislocation and the whole flows smoothly, with movement, clever sound arrangement and fine song delivery contributing to a thoroughly polished whole.

Several examples of her script are published in the programme. This is a wise move in that the opportunity is with us to consider more carefully the range of observation at play. The eponymous lines sum up the performer’s perspective but tellingly include ‘we’, so that the audience feels part of the general scene. ‘Sherry and Valium’ –This love has turned me inside out – takes us a step further until the resolution of ‘Vagus’ presents an effective image to conjure the essential core of motherhood and its impact on the individual.

A receptive audience was well pleased with the range and versatility of the show, which is half-way through the planned tour dates.


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Draws us into a profoundly human experience

Review by John Smythe 15th Sep 2023

Ever since Euripides’ Medea was first produced in 431BC, motherhood has inspired playwrights.* Is there a new way to explore the topic? Yes! Sally Stockwell’s We’ve Got So Much to Talk About seeks to recover her ‘self’, whoever that was or is, through music, song and a compelling performance that vibrates with her lived experience.

Pre-show we get to contemplate a BATS Dome space festooned with five free-hanging mics – like so many dangling participles in search of a suitable noun, I think in retrospect. Two more mics are placed like quotation marks around a small keyboard and sampler console for looping. A small Vox speaker sits upstage. I wonder if someone has forgotten to strike (theatre-speak for clear away) the huge tangle of disconnected leads but of course there is purpose in their presence.

How can this be part of the TAHI Festival of Solo Performance when clearly the stage is set for a multi-cast concert? As the lights dim, our anticipation of this apparent promise is interrupted by a baby crying. And there we have it: a subtle prologue provoking anticipation of something that dissolves in a wave of reality we cannot ignore.

There is a steady rhythm in Sally’s patting of the Vox box which morphs into arm waving – an attempt to fly? – and finds its meaning when a welcoming wave of applause awakens her to this other reality: she is on stage, expected to perform, we are her long-lost friends and hey – “We’ve got so much to talk about.”

She reminds us, and herself, that she is Sally the actor, the singer-songwriter, the daughter, sister, aunt, mother, wife – and do we remember what we wanted to be when we grew up? Her singing, sampling and looping manifests the mash-up she declares this is, of memoir, fact, fiction, truth and lies; of dreams, memories, fantasies, hopes, doubts …

This is the liminal space Sally inhabits and draws us into with her opening number. She also needs to talk about the fear, the violence, the desperation, the rage – looped to echo – and the hunger to love. We have so much to talk about but where can she find the space and time?

Amid the essential, unpredictable and sometimes urgent attention the vulnerable and increasingly inquisitive child requires, not to mention the recurring nightmare of losing her child, we are treated to non-naturalistic evocations of Sally’s reality.

Her screen audition for the role of ‘the Mother’ begins and ends with painful moments of truth every actor will recognise, and encapsulates a demanding series of domestic and parenting tasks too easily taken for granted by those she performs them for. A song called ‘Sherry and Valium’ (I’m indebted to Sally for sending me her song list and lyrics) medicates the loss of opportunities to bring her creative ideas to life. You don’t have to be an actor to recognise the truth of that.  

A flashback to the birth introduces the theme of being stuck. A fabulous ensemble of feathers and sequins belies the realities canvassed in a showgirl song called ‘Pop Pop’: “I never thought it would come to this / Such an awful lot of body ruin …” It’s an interrogation of Mother Nature that might land more effectively if we weren’t straining to unscramble the lyrics – which I now know are painfully comedic.

Recounting the ever-changing stream of vocations she wanted to embrace when she grew up leads Sally to recall the actual roles she has played as an actor; the ones she was drawn to and her premature casting as the Mum of a son played by an actor just eight years younger than her. She also once played Patient Griselda in Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls. That eye-watering parable (based on the obedient wife in ‘The Clerk’s Tale’ from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales), is a salutary reminder of the role wives and mothers were once conditioned to adopt in real life. It also provokes an ingeniously created and comical re-enactment of Sally’s struggle with her male Director to achieve authenticity in the role.

The song ‘Loving Subordinate’ confronts the modern myth that women can do it all: “Everything is possible …”. ‘Pin it Down’ explores the way her magical daughter helps Sally meet her shadow, “the buried and forgotten parts of me”, and acknowledges that her heart now beats within her daughter.

‘Far and Wide’ entreats her daughter, “Don’t think I’m abandoning, you when I run”. ‘Sacrifice & Paradox’ asks “Oh when am I ever gonna reach it? / When am I ever gonna be the thing that I want to be?”

An earlier reference, in ‘Pin it Down’ to “throwing out dead cables” gives meaning to the tangle of leads which at one point is endowed as a lover by being sensually embraced. And in the final song, ‘Vagus’, it becomes “A bed of nerves” and a nest: “I am the nest-maker for your soul / I am the nest-maker of us all”, Sally sings. “I am growing into the knowing / Of how to forgive myself / Of how to hold myself / And how to love myself” – and she adopts the pose of a baby floating in utero, on the nest; the bed of nerves.

We’ve Got So Much to Talk About draws us into a profoundly human experience many women will recognise and the rest of us will appreciate through the empathy theatre is so good at engendering. Don’t wait for the album, experience the show in real time and space.
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*Search results for ‘motherhood’ on Theatreview include: Mums: The Word (2014); A Doll’s House (2015); Medea the Mother (2018); Femme Natale (2018); Rants in the Dark (2020); Not Just a Mother (2023).    


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