The Comedy Festival is officially under way now, and we headed to BATS Theatre to see fave performer Hayley Sproull perform her latest work, Just A Phase. We last saw her giving us her thoughts about being quarter Māori in Vanilla Miraka, and previously as Miss Fletcher and a member of A Slightly Isolated Dog. It feels like we’ve known her for ages!
In this show, she documents the phases that she went through as a younger person, starting with her first school dance in Wellington’s Scots College, where she and her friends dressed as slutty schoolgirls, and received detention slips for “being slutty”. For some people this may have been seen as a bad thing, but her reaction was “Result!”
It was in said detention that she met her new best friend, and became a Goth. This was definitely not just a phase, this was what she had decided to be for the rest of her life. It was around this point that she did the “reveal” of some photos of her looks so far. As she had decided to become a Goth, she needed a quick costume change, from a rack at the back of the set, to all black clothing. She also related how she economised on clothing, gave some handy tips on uses for tights, and the impracticalities of being a Goth in summertime.
The next phase, definitely not just a phase, was Emo. A quick change, into signature skintight jeans, studded belt, and Converse trainers. This was a particularly difficult phase for her, as she was well-adjusted and well-brought up, and liked both her parents. She sang us a song in the style of My Chemical Romance in which she thanked her Dad for part-funding her previous shows, and her mum for forcing her to take those piano lessons.
A quick change into Political involved anything appropriated from another culture (Nepal is good for this), and a Free The Nipple t-shirt. This was definitely not a phase, and was who she was now. During this section she gave us the song “Imagine” – “No, not that one”, she told us, although it was similar in outlook. “Imagine a world without wars…except, Star Wars, and Storage Wars”, that kind of thing.
Hayley has always been a performer who lays herself bare for her art, and whilst discussing the Free The Nipple t-shirt, she divested herself of her bra, and, eventually her shirt. Standing on stage with her hands covering her boobs, she invited the audience to perform a Mexican Wave. “I’ll go last” she said, bravely. As the wave ascended around the left side of the auditorium, then crossed over the back and came down to the front right, she lifted her arms in the air. With exquisite timing, the lighting man cut all the lights. Then there was a noise of scrabbling about on stage, and a muttered “huh, didn’t think this bit through” as she donned her (wrong) t-shirt by the time the lights came up again.
Her final phase can best be described as “current”, and involves getting a standard long bob haircut, removing her nose ring, having a steady boyfriend and doing the weekly shop. She gave us a final song, in which she apologised to her mum for showing her boobs on stage, and generally finished up.