Te Auaha, Tapere Nui, 65 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington

10/03/2020 - 14/03/2020

NZ Fringe Festival 2020

Production Details

For Gillian English’s 30th birthday, she had a session with a famous astrologer. A prediction was made, a prophecy was revealed and a series of events set in motion that would change her life forever. Do we control our fate, or is it written in the stars? What should we believe and where should we put our faith?

★★★★★ – The Age
★★★★★ – Broadway Baby

Tapere Nui at Te Auaha, 65 Dixon Street, Wellington
Tuesday 10 – Saturday 14 March 2020
Price General Admission $30.00 Concession $25.00 Fringe Addict $21.00
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Wheelchair access available

Theatre , Solo ,

1 hr

Believe it or not

Review by Margaret Austin 11th Mar 2020

An hour alone onstage is always a challenge. At Te Auaha’s Tapere Nui, it’s a challenge met with energy and humour by Gillian English.

When the material is entirely autobiographical, the challenge is greater – bringing with it the risk of self-indulgence. English largely skates around the edges of this crevasse without actually falling in.

The existential question she poses is: how much control of our destiny do we have? And could anything an astrologer say have any effect on it? Her mother sent her to one as a 30th birthday present, which I think was irresponsible while my much younger companion disagrees.

The astrologer predicted meeting a man and astonishes our story teller by offering specifics. English names him ‘Doctor Pirate’ and proceeds to relate, with various detours about a religious upbringing, how she eventually meets him. And it’s just as the astrologer predicts! My companion sighs with satisfaction. I note ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’.

By now our storyteller has moved from Toronto to Melbourne. And from Sunday School teaching to the instructiveness of alcohol. Now that’s a trajectory I can relate to.  

Her ‘Doctor Pirate’ turns out to be all a woman could want despite being an Australian. When he eventually defects, there’s an explanation. And that offers English a chance for a bit of light preaching. “You all believe in something,” she urges. “There’s an invisible scaffolding holding you up.” 

I do believe in something. It just doesn’t happen to be astrology. And I like the metaphor about the scaffolding.


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