Last year, we went to see Summer Star Trek. This was their fifth year of performing an episode of Star Trek in the open air, in Aro Park. It was the end of their five year mission, to boldly perform Star Trek etc. etc.
But they couldn’t leave it at that, could they? What would people do? The demand was still there, so this year it has morphed into Summer Sci-Fi. The first instalment this year is The Shakespeare Code, an episode of Doctor Who from the David Tennant years.
We packed ourselves a picnic and took ourselves off to Aro Valley. The crowd was already ensconced when we arrived, but we found a patch out to the side to set up our chairs and enjoy an early dinner. The pre-show entertainment was in full flow, and required audience participation at times – in particular when they split us into two sides to perform the Doctor Who theme tune, with one side doing the bass line and the other doing the wheee-oooh bit. Tricky when you’ve got a mouthful of samosa!
The show started, and one thing was immediately apparent: Martha had been transformed into Mark. Other than that, they stuck fairly accurately to the script, and performed with their usual set made of repurposed estate agents’ signs. As well as having to cope with being an open air venue, and thus needing to shout their lines, the “stage” is on one side of the footpath through the park whilst the audience sits on the other; the performance is thus regularly punctuated by joggers, cyclists, and people walking home. Tennant never had to work under these conditions.
Nevertheless, they pulled it off, and at the end the Doctor won, the baddies were seen off, and (spoiler alert) the play – Love’s Labours Won – was destroyed for all eternity. All jolly good fun! And now, with the wider remit of Sci-Fi, it will be interesting to see what they tackle next year.