Daffy duo are bonkers for baroque

The Tribune (NZ) - - TERRACE END - RICHARD MAYS

The harp­si­chord is one in­stru­ment as­so­ci­ated with the 17th cen­tury baroque pe­riod.

A gar­ishly hand­painted ex­am­ple of the early key­board dom­i­nates the stage for this whim­si­cal ca­vort with Cyn­thia For­ti­tude and Gertrude Ral­len­tando, played by He­len Moul­der and Rose Beauchamp.

Orig­i­nat­ing with Welling­ton’s Hens Teeth comedy col­lec­tive, the daffy duo in­tro­duced them­selves to au­di­ences around the coun­try in 1998 in a clas­si­cal mu­sic styled cabaret called The Leg­end Re­turns. Cyn­thia & Ger­tie Go Baroque! is

loosely de­scribed as a se­quel.

Those fa­mil­iar with the first show will have a rea­son­able idea of ex­actly what to ex­pect.

Cyn­thia and Ger­tie are a cou­ple of dear old ducks try­ing not to look over the hill while they per­sis­tently ac­cost an au­di­ence with their musical prow­ess.

Older and not nec­es­sar­ily wiser, the ir­re­press­ible Cyn­thia is still en­thu­si­as­ti­cally push­ing her brand of vo­cal verisimil­i­tude and aware­ness, ac­com­pa­nied by the silent and long-suf­fer­ing Gertrude.

Cyn­thia is so cer­tain she is some sort of musical force ma­jeure, while her mute down­beat Harpo Marx type side­kick, gives the im­pres­sion that if there was some­where else bet­ter to be, she would be off like a shot.

Re­splen­dent in baroque pom­padour wigs, the pair con­front their age bar­ri­ers aided by a range of all-oc­ca­sion ef­fi­ca­cious med­i­ca­tions.

With help of ‘‘a younger per­son’’, they have rewrit­ten the 17th cen­tury baroque opera Dido and Ae­neas by English com­poser Henry Purcell as a con­tem­po­rary musical pup­pet show, com­plete with au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion.

Diane and Andy is a tale of trans-Tas­man love, heart­break, busi­ness and bank­ruptcy set on a su­per-yacht in the Marl­bor­ough Sounds.

Re­plete with gen­tle hu­mour, the whole evening be­comes one en­gag­ingly elon­gated gag.

It is easy to catch the mood, throw del­i­cacy and dig­nity to the wind, and join in with all the light-hearted non­sense - tak­ing part as a cho­rus of pup­pet witches for in­stance.

As de­light­fully daft as a box of dust­bun­nies, this is ex­actly the kind of show it is much bet­ter to give in to than it is to re­sist.

Oh, and blokes - do be sports, and make sure you park your­selves in the front row.

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/STUFF

Rose Beauchamp, di­rec­tor Jeff Kings­fordBrown and He­len Moul­der.

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