REVIEW: Mackenzie’s Daughters (Auckland Fringe)

Review by Tim George

[A Bale of Laughs]

This show is basically the inverse of my review’s lame title – it’s funny, it’s inane, it’s utterly ridiculous, and no part of it makes you wince.

Completely improvised on the spot, Mackenzie’s Daughters is something: a chance to watch some of Auckland’s best performers try to keep up with each other.

Featuring a revolving cast (my night featured Donna Brookbanks, Brynley Stent, Alice Snedden, Kura Forrester, Hayley Sproull, Rhiannon McCall, Melanie Bracewell and Alice Canton), this is improv at its best: characters introduced and defined in an instant (resulting in such all-timers as Roger Old Man Roger), abrupt location changes, and – just as anything begins to make sense – hackneyed plot twists which throw the players (and the audience) back into disarray.

Hayley Sproull decided to play her role with an Australian accent, which the rest of the cast kept slipping into. Kura Forrester proves her worth once again, gliding through the chaos like a pro. Alice Canton deserves credit for her attempts to stay focused on miming whatever inane task she is doing – in spite of whatever the scene demands.

If the cast has a standout, it is Alice Snedden. She rolls with the nonsense like a veteran boxer, holding back and throwing in jabs that go right for the funny bone.

It is a testament to their collective talents that the whole thing holds together. Nothing is left hanging, and even the ‘mistakes’ get called back as significant parts of the ‘story’.

One note for viewers with hay fever and/or allergies: the set is a collection of hay bales, so prepare accordingly. I would have been sneezing but I’d used up all my oxygen from laughing.

Check it out!

Mackenzie’s Daughters next plays The Basement on 3 March as part of Auckland Fringe. 

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