Conflict of InterestReviewsTheatreWellington

Fringe-ing Friday

By February 26, 2006 No Comments

Inside My Head StillFollowing a brisk half-hour walk from Newtown I, sweatily, made it just in time to Evolve on Eva Street for “Inside My Head, Out Of My Mind”. This is a self-devised piece by three young people about their own lives and struggles with problems like abuse, addiction and sexuality (not that sexuality is in itself a problem per se but it brings a lot of baggage). Essentially, this is ‘theatre as therapy’ for the participants but surprisingly effective and effecting for an audience, despite the challenging performance space. On that note I should point out how nervous I got when I saw the the front door was being locked after every patron and I couldn’t see any alternative emergency exit.

Nature of Conflict: When core funding is found for the VOICE Arts Trust I will be producing a web site for them. So, fingers crossed then.

VOICE Arts and Evolve scored major bonus points for finishing before the 7.35 kick-off of the Hurricanes v Cats game and I made it to The Establishment just in time for Fa’atau’s third minute try. Then it was across the road to meet AF and her friends at the Paramount for “Heavenly Burlesque”. It was very busy which shouldn’t have been a surprise and I was immediately accosted at the top of the stairs by producer, Tom Beauchamp, and performer Maria Dabrowska in some form of bizarre, farmer-sheepdog arrangement. This involved the delightful Maria biting my leg which was probably a lot less amusing for her. I wonder whether, when she told her mother that she would be pursuing a career in the arts, this was what she had in mind.

Heavenly Burlesque StillThe show itself was a barrel of laughs with a good smattering of comedy and dance and acts taking he opportunity to promote their own shows around the Fringe. It’s great advertising! To give you an idea of the calibre of the company, they could afford to leave Fergus Aitken on the bench in his angel wings. According to the Fringe programme they have one more weekend but, seeing as they are the only thing making any money at the Paramount at the moment, it wouldn’t surprise me to see it return in some form. Following the show I got to hang out with old friends in the bar while DJ’s played plenty of that loud music the young people seem to love.

Nature of Conflict: I can’t go in to my issues with the Paramount in any detail here (at least until they sign their copies of the settlement document, I get my compensation and they buy my shares) but I hope it is enough to say that events like “Heavenly Burlesque” are bitter-sweet experiences. They wouldn’t be happening if I hadn’t built the relationships with the performing arts community in the first place and it is satisfying to see those initiatives pay off but sad that I’m not able to be a part of it any more.

But, as of next Thursday, I will be back in showbusiness in a full-time capacity and hopefully I can have a positive influence once again – without all of the unpleasantness.

I’m not much interested in ‘forgiving and forgetting’, and I still find it therapeutic to point out their failings whenever possible. In that spirit I present the Paramount ad from the Fringe programme (click on the image for a larger version):
Paramount Fringe Ad 2006
Leaving aside the fact that they can’t spell conferences or the name of the street on which they do business (Courtenay), or even the fact that they seem to be everything but a cinema – what exactly does “Wellington’s Unpretentious Arthouse” actually mean?

Are they trying to imply that the other arthouses in Wellington are, somehow, pretentious? Like the Rialto with their Tip-Top Choc-Tops and post-mix Coke? Or the Penthouse which happily plays every Harry Potter film and is still running the angst-ridden, sub-titled, melodrama The World’s Fastest Indian among other ‘pretentious’ titles like The Constant Gardener and The Producers? Or — hold on, I’ve run out. That’s it.

Not that anybody but me cares, but if you replaced “pretentious” with “professional” the ad might make some sense.