This Week in the Theatre Scene: When is a Musical not a Musical? (28 Oct – Sat 3 November)

Aidee Walker and Dan Musgrove photocredit Andrew Malmo

[by James Wenley]

PICK ONE: Another Dead Fag

Another Dead Fag
Lauren Gibson in Another Dead Fag

Who wrote it? Sam Brooks, wrapping up a strong year with his third play at The Basement this year, following And I was Like and Queen.
Who’s in it? Chris Parker, Lauren Gibson,  Dan Veint  and Jordan Blaikie. Zinnie Selwyn directs.
What’s it about? “Another Dead Fag is a story of gay teen suicide. It takes place at Seb’s wake after he has committed suicide, and those closest to him; his cousin Cai, his sister Abby and his boyfriend David gathered together to pick up the pieces and piece together a reason from the blame and guilt that is being thrown around.”
Sounds challenging. Why was this a story the playwright wanted to tell? “For me, there’s two stories within Another Dead Fag that I wanted to tell. One is the story about youth suicide, which is something that we’re still not talking about in our literature and art. It’s all well and good to hear about it on the news, but I don’t feel like it generates the kind of discussion that I really want to generate with this play. My goal was to deal with suicide in a way that takes both the act and the person seriously and with empathy.The other story, which is also important to me as a writer, is telling a story that removes queer characters from inevitable narratives of self-harm, depression and suicide. Being queer does not mean you will commit suicide, or that you will be depressed. I feel we’ve seen those stories for the last fifty years in not only queer theatre, but queer literature, and we are long overdue to examine why these narratives are being returned to, and to branch out from them.”  (For more, see our interview with the author: Another Sam Brooks)
Where? The Basement Studio, Tuesday 29 October until Saturday 2 November, 7pm
Tickets? $20 from iTICKET. On Wednesday tickets are $30 to fundraise for Rainbow Youth.

PICK TWO: Midsummer

Aidee Walker and Dan Musgrove photocredit Andrew Malmo
Aidee Walker and Dan Musgrove photocredit Andrew Malmo

Who wrote it? Brits David Greig (whose Prudencia Hart played at the Auckland Arts Festival) and composer Gordon McIntyre .
Who’s putting it on? Silo Theatre, wrapping up the year with a two-person musical as an antidote to the Wickeds and Chicagos of the season.
Who’s in it? Dan Musgrove and Aidee Walker who “are so utterly charming that you can’t help but fall a little bit in love with them too”. Sophie Roberts directs.
What’s it about? “Stacked with rough and tumble romantic comedy and rebellious abandon, this is a lo-fi indie musical for people who don’t like musicals. There will be no high kicks and absolutely no jazz hands.” 
So is it a Musical? Controversial. Silo have marketed as a Musical for people who dislike Musicals. Well, I happen to like Musicals, and I liked this.
Pithy Theatre Scenes Review Quote? “In many other ways, Helena and Bob’s story is familiar, conventional, dare I say, unoriginal. They are two damaged souls at loose-ends, finding meaning in the (drunken) embrace of another. I’m reminded of Once, the 2007 film, and 2011 Broadway Musical about a guy and a girl finding love on the streets of Dublin, which also featured a guitar playing male romantic lead. Once the stage show is very paired back by Musical standards, with actors playing their own instruments, Midsummer with its two actors playing guitar chords is even more so. I guess there is something ziegesty about about this kind of story in that area of the world, although there’s a slightly unfortunate echo of Once’s Oscar nominated song ‘Falling Slowly’ with Midsummer’s ‘Slowly Falling’ finale. If these were siblings, Midsummer is Once’s ruder, cruder, and cheekier Scottish younger brother.” (And they play Guitar Too by James Wenley)
Where? Q Loft. Mon – Tues 7pm, Wed – Sat 8:15pm.
Tickets? $25-$49 from Q.

Also this week:
Auckland Theatre Company are rolling their stockings down for Chicago starring Lucy Lawless, previewing this Friday.

A Model Woman, which tells the fascinating story of the world’s first known gender reassignment surgery in 1920s/30s Paris, plays one  more week at The Basement. “With this story of Gerda, Einar, and Lili, Flaxworks have found a winner, though tweaks are needed in execution to aid the experience. A fascinating personal history that feels very modern indeed.” (The Artist’s Muse)

The First Asian A.B (which debuted in 2011 to coincide with Rugby World Cup Fever) returns for the South Side Festival in venues around Auckland this week, finishing with Auckland Museum on Friday. Best news of all? Totally free, all during the daytime.

And its WICKED WEEK as the no longer green musical celebrates its 10th anniversary on Wednesday.

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