Thursday, November 1, 2012

We Are Amused

We headed  out on a Friday night for some dinner and entertainment. Our first stop was a new restaurant, Muse, opened by a former chef at The White House – one of Wellington’s premier fine dining establishments (although our previous experience there left something to be desired). It’s located on Allen Street which is one of the side streets off Wellington’s main entertainment street, Courtenay Place. We were there early and at first the place was distinctly empty, but it soon filled up. I had scallops followed by tarakihi fillets, and Nicola had pork belly followed by porcini risotto. All was very well executed and we had plenty of time in the end.

Afterwards, we went round the corner to the Downstage Theatre to see the Weekend Comedy Cocktail. This consists of two separate performances: the first half is Vance Fontaine and his band, the Peculiar Sensations. Vance gives a command performance incorporating songs from his extensive back catalogue. He invites audience participation as he demonstrates that it was in fact he who invented all the musical genres we know today (presumably with the aid of a tardis or similar device). He apologised for inflicting dubstep on us, then gave us his rendition of a dubstep/John Cage mash-up. He also played songs in the styles of mariarchi, opera, bubblegum pop, and Duran Duran – one of his early influences. All the songs are (allegedly) made up on the spot and improvised by the band in the styles suggested by the audience.

After the break, a musical comedy of a slightly different flavour: Miss Fletcher Sings The Blues. Miss Fletcher arrives on stage as a substitute Geography teacher, ready to teach her class. Unfortunately, as she immediately admits, she knows nothing of geography, so decides to give us a music lesson instead. She regales us with stories about her life, and the frustrations that we encounter every day. She finished up with “Key Changes For Africa” an inspirational song to help people in Africa, for which she recruits several members of the audience. Unfortunately she was called away halfway through the song for an interview about “appropriateness” with the head teacher.

All very funny, and we enjoyed it all immensely.

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