Friday, September 30, 2016

Vanilla Miraka

Vanilla Miraka is Hayley Sproull’s take on being a quarter Māori, with white skin and no clue what is happening on the marae. Avid readers of my blog (I fantasise that such beings exist) will remember Hayley from Miss Fletcher Sings The Blues. She’s also part of A Slightly Isolated Dog, who we saw putting on their version of Jekyll & Hyde in April this year, and who will be performing Don Juan in November. 

Her show is a mixture of song, acting, comedy and serious moments. She gives us some of her history of self-discovery, and how she explored her Māori ancestry by the obvious method of travelling to India. Along the way, she demonstrated her skill with poi, and told us the story of her grandmother's funeral. Not many comedy moments at a funeral, you might have thought...wrong. The final scenes played out are about how she wore her traditional cloak to her graduation ceremony, and how that felt to her.

It's clearly a very personal story, and at the end of it I felt we knew more about the unresolved conflicts of identity that make being a New Zealander not quite as simple as being from most other countries. Whilst a lot of it, particularly in the second half, was quite serious, there were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments as well. I liked this show, and look forward to seeing more from Hayley in the future.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Perfect Nonsense

The Jeeves and Wooster show, Perfect Nonsense, has come to New Zealand. After extensively touring the UK and a residency in Mumbai (the Indians are weirdly keen on PG Wodehouse), the touring company, including original writer/actor Robert Goodale, has arrived in New Zealand for a short season. What’s not to like? Off we toddled.

The story revolves around Bertie Wooster deciding to re-tell his adventures of the previous weekend. He’s put on a play about it but hasn’t quite finished it. Fortunately Jeeves steps in, and with the help of Aunt Dahlia’s butler, Seppings, they manage to get through all the action. The two butlers have to play numerous parts, including an ever-increasing-in-height Spode, whilst Bertie recounts the tale of the silver cow creamer, to be found in The Code Of The Woosters, and also forms the opening episode of the second season of the quintessential adaptation, Jeeves And Wooster. Jeeves, with the help of Seppings manages the scenery and costume changes whilst Bertie, oblivious to most of their efforts, blithely assumes that all the goings-on backstage are working like magic, in much the same way as a magic coffee table works. It’s all very funny and foolish, and well worth watching. In many places the fourth wall is broken as Bertie, and occasionally Jeeves, address the audience directly.

We’d caught the matinee performance, and were ejected into the evening air in time for a date at favourite Wellington eatery Logan Brown, or “the staff canteen” as I’ve started to call it – scene of many a lunchtime over the last couple of years. Well, they keep sending me discounts and special offers! I’d be a fool not to take them up on it! Latest offering is a lunchtime dish with wine for $25, so we’re heading back there this Friday to fill the old nosebag. Pip pip! (That’s enough Wodehouse talk – Ed.)