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February 28, 2005 | by  | in Theatre |
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As the audience enters the BATS auditorium they are quickly drawn into the world of Onion by the smell; the floor of the little theatre is literally covered in onions, which, by the smell of things, are in varying degrees of ripeness. I do feel sorry for those who had to rehearse immediately after. Onion is a two-woman play; Copland and Maclean play an entire cast through the use of mask, costume and Kiwi ingenuity. The story focuses on two sisters who must travel from their Canterbury onion farm to Auckland to rescue their imprisoned father who will save the farm from an evil land agent who wants to subdivide.

The audience is entertained by a number of ‘driver’ characters who pick up the girls on their way; some of their stories are integrated into the plot in the most bizarre way but if I said anything else on this matter I would be giving away the twist at the end. I have said too much already. These masked characters range from dear old biddy to raving lunatic, encompassing lesbian lover somewhere in the middle.

Onion is a modern feminist play; instead of battling against the patriarchy, the sisters must face off against one other and other women. Although their father is seen as a panacea for their problems it is their success in outwitting the money-hungry agent that wins the day and ultimately saves the farm. This adds a wonderful sense of originality to the play while the brief and witty musical interludes lighten up the mood. Onion comes highly recommended as a coming-of-age comedy.

By Jean Copland and Amanda Maclean
Directed by Ronald Nelson
BATS 21 – 26 February

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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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