Jun. 29th, 2016

cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)
This is Albert Belz’s play for Te Rēhia Theatre company - the other play of his I’ve seen was Awhi Tapu, which was much more along the expected Māori playwright line (small forestry town, economy dying, young people running out of options make bad choices) whereas this is cheerfully Victorian gothic melodrama and is all about Jack the Ripper. The Ripper parts of this are basically Alan Moore’s From Hell with less architecture and, sadly, no Inspector Abberline – heir presumptive to British throne gets shopgirl pregnant and secretly marries her, Queen Victoria assigns William Gull to hunt out and destroy all witnesses, Gull & the Freemasons go a bit batty in the process. Instead of Abberline as a protagonist we get Walter Sickert, the artist (and another candidate for the identity of Jack the Ripper in some theories), who is supposed to be keeping a watchful eye on Prince Eddie and instead falls for Mary Kelly. Despite all odds - and numerous corpses - there is technically a happy ending.

More detail, some spoilers; basically, mostly great performances but not convincing as an explanation. )
Despite these issues, though, an excellent production, and I'd be keen to see what the group does next. Awhi Tapu also had a bit of a dud ending, if I recall rightly, so I'd be more cautious about the playwright.


cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (Default)

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