Fes­ti­val flies Solo

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE -

The inau­gu­ral Solo Fes­ti­val in The Dark Room opens tonight. Four pieces over four nights from four quite dif­fer­ent solo per­form­ers makes this a first in Aus­tralia­sia ac­cord­ing to the Dark Room’s Nathan Mudge.

Tonight and to­morow at 6pm sees award-win­ning Theatre Beat­ing per­former Jess Holly Bates in per­for­mance po­etry piece Real Fake White Dirt. For Jess, the poetic form pro­vides a ve­hi­cle to celebrate and cri­tique Pakeha so­ci­ety in an ac­ces­si­ble and en­ter­tain­ing way.

At 8pm, co­me­dian Freya Des­marais re­turns for her in­your-face sex­u­ally ex­plicit Auck­land Fringe sen­sa­tion, Live Orgy, win­ner of the fes­ti­val’s So­cial Im­pact Spe­cial Award and rated Metro mag­a­zine’s ‘‘#1 Fringi­est Mo­ment’’.

Those of a strait-laced, moral­is­tic, easily-of­fended dis­po­si­tion should avoid Live Orgy and its gi­ant vulva prop which is on tonight and to­morow night.

Ev­ery­thing Is Sur­rounded By Wa­ter is the brain-child of my ac­com­plice co-cre­ative di­rec­tors Uther Dean and Han­nah Banks. Its Welling­ton Fringe sea­son bal­looned solely through word of mouth, to 43 per­for­mances over two and a half weeks. Wa­ter is a first-per­son ac­count de­tail­ing a se­ries of mys­te­ri­ous hap­pen­ings in a man’s life that in­volve cut­tle­fish, while con­nect­ing to the day when, at the age of seven, he sold his soul to his best friend. For a chip.

‘‘We wanted to make a show about our own deal­ings with men­tal ill­ness,’’ Uther says, ‘‘but with­out mak­ing it preachy or maudlin. We re­alised pretty quickly that it meant it needed to be both true and mag­i­cal. And what is more magic and more true than real life?’’

Ev­ery­thing Is Sur­rounded By Wa­ter plays Fri­day and Satur­day, Septem­ber 11 – 12 at 6pm.

Manawatu per­former Ian Har­man closes the fes­ti­val by un­leash­ing Lola, his bur­lesque al­ter-ego.

Hot from sell­out Globe Theatre per­for­mances of Ho­tel D’Amour with The Boom Boom Room, Lola re­turns in a ver­sion of The Lola Show first staged at the Globe last July.

‘‘A lit­tle bit cabaret, a lit­tle bit bur­lesque and a lot about re­la­tion­ships, love, and laugh­ter’’, the fu­sion of stage magic, com­edy, cos­tume, song and dance is a re­sponse to pa­trons of the pop­u­lar bur­lesque shows want­ing more Lola.

‘‘I love be­ing Lola on stage,’’ Ian says. ‘‘I have free­dom with Lola. With an abun­dance of both mas­cu­line and fem­i­nine qual­i­ties, Lola can go in any di­rec­tion theatrically. It means I can get away with ev­ery­thing.’’

The Lola Show plays Fri­day and Satur­day, Septem­ber 11 – 12 at 8pm.

Book­ings for Solo per­for­mances are avail­able online at thedark­roomnz.com and through Cen­tre­point Theatre.

PHOTO TONI LARSEN/SUPPLIED

The inim­itable Lola on the lam from the Boom Boom Room Bur­lesque, and on the ran-tan in the Dark Room for the Solo fes­ti­val this week.

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