3. QUILT­ING

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS -

First play of the new theatre sea­son is on at The Globe. Quilt, the New Zealand am­a­teur pre­miere of a bou­tique mu­si­cal is re­viewed

Quilt Jim Mor­gan, Michael Stock­ler, Merle Hub­bard, John Schak Di­rec­tor An­drea Maxwell Mu­si­cal di­rec­tor Roger Buchanan Globe 2, Fe­bru­ary 11 – 27 Re­viewed by Richard Mays

Memo­ri­als need not be set in stone. Quilt is an up­lift­ing mu­si­cal me­mo­rial to those in­fected and af­fected by the AIDs virus since the 1980s.

Based on real-life sto­ries and in­ci­dents, this New Zealand non-pro­fes­sional pre­miere not only cap­tures the pe­riod essence of the time, but be­comes a tes­ta­ment to the en­durance of the hu­man spirit, and to love.

Quilt comes from the late 80s Names Pro­ject, where those touched by loss brought about by AIDs were en­cour­aged (and still are – the quilt col­lec­tion dis- played in Wash­ing­ton DC, has over 48,000 pan­els) to make a me­mo­rial quilt to re­mem­ber those who died.

First time di­rec­tor An­drea Maxwell has cre­ated a bou­tique stu­dio pro­duc­tion which suits an en­sem­ble style show that re­tains el­e­ments of re­vue. The char­ac­ters re­count their sto­ries in a se­ries of vi­gnettes.

While some of th­ese are one­offs, sev­eral of the char­ac­ters thread them­selves through the singing nar­ra­tive, and over­lap with the sto­ries and sit­u­a­tions of oth­ers.

Karen, in a frizzy wig, is warmly and won­der­fully pitched by Joanne Sale as naive, dizzy and klutzy, but is a mas­ter of comic song. Su­perbly timed, Karen’s Song is reprised at in­ter­vals through­out the show as she strug­gles to mas­ter mak­ing a quilt for her friend Dr Tedd.

In an­other strand of the story, Peter Sug­den’s Wes, a vol- un­teer at the Gay and Les­bian Cen­tre, touch­ingly re­views the loss of Phillip his part­ner, and his in­ten­tion to com­mit sui­cide.

There are clev­erly crafted cameos from Ian Har­man as ‘Tinker­bell’, and the one-sided ‘duel’ with the mother of his part­ner, played with grim de­nial by Wendy Newth, is one of the more af­fect­ing mo­ments.

There’s a com­pelling mono­logue from Damian Thorne as a la­conic, the­atri­cal, self-aware drag queen who col­lects out­fits worn by glam­orous fe­male film­stars.

The quilts spe­cially made for the pro­duc­tion star in their own right.

Ac­com­pa­nied by the re­strained key­boards of Roger Buchanan, not ev­ery­thing here works, but there’s plenty that does, ad­mirably re­flect­ing words from the show’s open­ing cho­rus ‘‘Out of some­thing ter­ri­ble, there is some­thing beau­ti­ful’’.

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

Wendy Newth as Mrs Po­laski and Ian Har­man as ‘Tinker­bell’ her son’s part­ner in a scene from Quilt.

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