REVIEW: Question Time Blues (Auckland Fringe)

Review by Nathan Joe

[Delahunty’s Lament]

We often talk about the personal as the political, but how often do we see the reverse? The political as personal.

In Question Time Blues, former Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty takes the stage to vent about her time in and out of parliament. There’s a freshness to her presence, by sheer virtue of her being someone so directly involved in our country’s politics. This isn’t speculative or dramatized. This is reality shaped into verse.

From Delahunty’s childhood experiences with activism to the legalisation of gay marriage to wrangling with privilege and guilt when staying in a hotel, the material itself, poem to poem, covers a wide-range of topics. Deep emotional resonance is often followed by snarky zingers of her contemporaries. While the text doesn’t flow together seamlessly as a whole, lacking dramatic shape and occasionally meandering, Delahunty herself brings it all together as the constant.

It’s clear those in the audience listening to her rhapsodise want to be here. This isn’t material to change one’s mind or views; Delahunty is too blunt and no-nonsense to sway any dissenters. Yet it’s undoubtedly refreshing to see such irreverence for the whole business of politics, more so because we’re getting it straight from the source.

Directed by her sister Sarah Delahunty, the stagecraft in the piece is limited to movement to and from a desk with projected images in the background. They serve the piece well, if mostly functionally rather than theatrically. But these elements accompanied by Andre Sauvage’s live blues music work well to give the evening a little punch. A night of spoken word and never pretends to be anything else.

Question Time Blues played at Q Vault during the Auckland Fringe Festival. 

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