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February 28, 2005 | by  | in Theatre |
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Bad Manor

Although Bad Manor is highly amusing, it is little more than a bitter attack on the rampant homophobia of Destiny Church. It intersects the lives of the members of the Wellington flat ‘Bad Manor’ with those of Pastors Dwayne and Marlene Zealot of the Brotherhood of the Imaginary Friend. It opens with Pastor Dwayne marching down the isle, Bible in hand, quoting Leviticus 20:13. Let us just say that while subtlety is not Bad Manor’s forte, predictability is.

The interactions and dialogue between the residents of Bad Manor are the most enjoyable part of the play. The flat mates are all just that perfect blend of stereotype and individuality which makes them real and allows the audience to recognize a little bit of themselves, their friends and their enemies in each one. There’s the hippy actress, the slut, the Christian, the bum, the suit and the dyke (who wears the most wonderful “I’m sorry I missed church, I was too busy practicing witchcraft and becoming a lesbian” tee-shirt). In their roles as housemates the cast all performed admirably. The tension between the characters in the flat is believable and sustained.

While Mike Rangi and Willow Newey were convincing as Pastors Dwayne and Marlene Zealot, the script pushed them too far at times and they were left wanting for some truly original Destiny Church satire. The conclusion of this part of the play was also unsatisfactory. While the residents of Bad Manor have closure, this cannot be said to be the case for the members of the Brotherhood of the Imaginary Friend who merely keep on truckin’. While this may be a case of life imitating art, some semblance of finality was desperately needed.

The play was perfectly set in the Red Brick Hall on Cambridge Terrace. Pews and kneelers converted well into a theatre space but they were put to better use in the churchy scenes as the audience was able to double effectively as the congregation; the ad libbed ‘amens” and ‘hallelujahs’ from the fags down the back proved highly amusing.

While Bad Manor was enjoyable and the acting was excellent the script lacked continuity and the political satire was tired and trite.

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About the Author ()

HAILING FROM the upper-middle- class hell of Havelock North, Jules is in the final semester of a bachelor’s degree in Trenchermanship (majoring in Gourmandry), is a self-professed Anarcho-Dandy and resides in the Aro Valley. He likes to spend his days pursuing whimsical follies of every sort and his evenings gallivanting through the bars and restaurants of Wellington in search of the perfect wine list. He has unfailingly dedicated his life to the excessive consumption of food and drink (despite having no discernable way of paying for it), and expects to die of simultaneous heart and kidney failure at thirty-nine. His only hope is that very soon people will start to pay him for his opinions (of which he is endowed with aplenty). Jules has a penchant for vintage Oloroso.

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