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August 13, 2007 | by  | in Theatre |
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The Cape

Written by Vivienne Plumb
Directed by Conrad Newport
Circa, until September 1, 7:30pm
Sub 25s – $20

Circa’s newest offering, The Cape, is a soulful piece of theatre which delivers a firm point whilst maintaining a sincere and truthful vitality. The Cape follows the emotional (and drug-laden) journey of four young men as they travel from Wellington to Cape Reinga, chronicling their past as they look towards the future awaiting them. They take drugs, share secrets and get violent, but all is swell in the end as companionship prevails.

Plumb’s script is far from original and is in many ways a somewhat formulaic reproduction of the road trip movie. However, this production’s strength lies in its ability to connect the audience to the characters on a personal level. We’re not just watching these young men on their journey – we’re joining them for the experience. Full credit must be given to this superb cast and their part in this achievement. The acting is first-rate, and each performer does great justice to his part. Rawiri Jobe is certainly in his element with his placid portrayal of the drug dealer Arthur, his calm demeanour an unmissable presence on the stage.

Eli Kent, ever lively, exhibits a very high-energy performance and Michael Whalley and Leon Wadham are also excellent, their characters well-played and brimming with integrity.

The play is set in 1994, and a large amount of effort has gone towards creating a feeling of nostalgia in the play.

The audience is treated to loud renditions of Nirvana, appropriately songs like ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, generating a mood which perfectly matches the boys and their outlooks. The costumes are very particular, Eb’s grungy black trousers and Chucks revealing his angry interior and Jordyn’s well-groomed presentation suggesting an alternative lifestyle to the other boys. The music and costumes create an appropriately nostalgic feel which was great fun to experience.

I think I liked this play because it spoke to me on my level. It didn’t talk down to me or treat me as though I was an outsider, but it pulled me along with it for the journey. I could really sense the integrity and truth of the play right from the opening, as I was pulled in by both the believability of the characters and the actors’ obvious passion for their work. I left the theatre feeling really, really good – about myself, my life and my friends. It’s important to experience theatre like this once in a while, theatre which leaves you feeling satisfied, entertained and, most significantly, happy with your place in life.

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