My love-hate relationship with Silo’s Private Lives [by James Wenley]
Consider this plot: A newly remarried man about town books into a hotel room for his honeymoon only to discover that his ex-wife has booked the very next room for her own honeymoon. Will old sparks be reflamed? And what about their new partners? Hijinks and hilarity ensue.
Sure sounds like a plot from a cookie-cutter romantic comedy. Get Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis to star. We’ll call it ‘The Honeymoon’. Print that money.
Theatre buffs like you know will know that this is in fact the plot of perennial favourite Private Lives by Noel Coward. Scandalous on its 1930 debut, director Shane Bosher, with a few cosmetic changes has thrust this comedy of bad manners into a raucous and sexy contemporary set version.
Matt Whelan and Mia Blake are the warring, chemically volatile ex-lovers Elyot Chase and Amanda Prynne, and it is their love-hate relationship that makes the play so delicious. It’s a dynamic that has provided good drama for centuries, and Coward’s dry wit is saturated with acid. Sighting each other on the hotel balcony they are aghast, but they are inevitably pulled back into their old romantic hurricane.
Tartuffe for the 3D Generation [by James Wenley]
If nothing else, Tartuffe is an experience.
‘This is not museum theatre’, warns/promises Silo Theatre in their bus shelter ads around town.
I’m curious about what their definition is, because I certainly don’t feel like Auckland is ‘afflicted’ by productions of this type. Professional Shakespeare’s in period dress for example are the rare exception, not the norm. Museum theatre suggests old, creaky, irrelevant (and I’m sure modern Museums themselves would have something to say against this!).
Silo’s Tartuffe does everything it can to show that its production of the 17th Century play is still edgy, fresh and up-to-the-minute with contemporary Auckland’s high society. Within the first minute we are treated to a real assault on our senses: funky music, garish neon flashing lighting, not to mention the sight of Cameron Rhodes in drag (nice legs). Sophie Henderson is ‘eaten out’, and a turd ends up in the Swimming pool. Yes, a turd. Museum Theatre? Couldn’t be more fresh.
Jack the Ripper finally comes to Auckland, and he’s got a knife… [by James Wenley]
When I met Anders Falstie-Jensen during his lunch break from rehearsals at the Basement, he was beaming and full of enthusiasm for his latest project. The play he is directing, Yours Truly sounds like a ripper. Jack the Ripper to be precise. Written by Albert Belz, the play promises to be one of the scariest and darkest thrillers from a New Zealand playwright.
But other than the subject matter, there is something else for Anders to be excited about – the play marks a significant milestone for Anders and his theatre company The Rebel Alliance (whose Fringe offering Standstill I really enjoyed). For the first time, thanks to a grant from Creative New Zealand, Anders can go to paid full time work, 9-5, as a theatre director…
Yours Truly has been a long time coming to the Auckland stage. It debuted at BATS Wellington in 2006 and won Best New Zealand Play at the Chapman Tripp awards, but save for a production in Whangarei it all but disappeared. Playmarket had first alerted Producer/Director Anders Faltsie-Jensen to the play in 2008, but due to busyness it lay unread on his desk for three months. “When I finally got around to reading it – as soon as I finished it”, Anders says, “I biked down to the office and said I really want to do this show.” Unfortunately, Anders was told that the rights were no longer available.
Surely kicking himself for not reading it sooner, Anders was presented with another opportunity when the rights went back up, but with a catch. A guy called Sam was also interested in the play...