BATS Theatre, Wellington

17/02/2006 - 20/02/2006

NZ Fringe Festival 2006

Production Details

Written and directed by Sonya Stewart

Southpaw Productions

Love, loss, humour, faith, timing and a karma policeman or two. What makes a happy ending?

Shoshana McCallum
Heidi North
(Luke Hawker
Vincent Wong
Rebecca Cowley

Theatre ,

1 hr

Original & thought-provoking

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 21st Feb 2006

The early evening Fringe 06 show currently playing at BATS, Wheel, is a much more satisfying production, both in its writing and presentation.  While the premise upon which the play is written – finding Mr Right at the wrong time – maybe be a well worn theme, the intriguing way writer/director Sonya Stewart constructs her play makes it original, thought provoking and often very funny. 

Tobias (Luke Hawker) and Rose (Shoshana McCallum) are not ready for a relationship but when they meet its love at first sight.  But is their karma right for each other, not according to the Karma Police (Vincent Wong and Rebecca Cowley) or Rose’s friend Clara (Heidi North).  As a consequence their love is doomed, rather too dramatically as it turns out, but then it was probably for the best. 

Each of the actors gives sharp, intelligent performances creating real and believable characters that added immensely to bringing the play alive, making it an engrossing and compelling piece of theatre.


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A playwright to watch

Review by John Smythe 20th Feb 2006

A graduate of Otago University and Allen Hall, Sonya Stewart infuses the everyday questions young people confront – Why do I always meet the right person at the wrong time? Is there someone out there for me? What is my place in the universe? – with a quirky take on karma-driven destiny.

The name Wheel refers to the Tibetan Wheel of Life which captures symbols of karma between the three roots of delusion and the six realms of existence. With a light touch anchored to profound human needs, Stewart explores the quest for enlightened self-fulfilment and love through five characters, three living, two dead.

Rose (Shoshana McCallum) has withdrawn from the relationship stakes in the wake of a year-old hurt. When her party-girl flatmate Clara (Heidi North) attempts to reactivate her friend, the unexpected outcome is a deeply felt "West Side Story" experience of love-at-first-sight with Tobias (Luke Hawker).

But it’s not that he’s from the wrong family, race or gang. It’s just the wrong time for these soul-mates to meet. In an ingenious reversal of the Faust legend, Tobias has made a pact with the Karma Police (Vincent Wong and Rebecca Cowley) to avoid attempting intimacy until he has fully overcome his self-destructive tendencies.

The central relationship is authentically rendered, the rookie Karma cops are whimsically done, the climax is shocking and very much to the point, the denouement is poignant and the whole vicarious experience leaves you with plenty to contemplate.

Stewart is clearly a playwright to watch.


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