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April 28, 2008 | by  | in Theatre |
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The Storm

Who says lightening never strikes in the same place twice? After their runaway success with March of the Meeklings, which is being restaged at Downstage this May, Three Spoon Theatre are pulling a Hyacinth and keeping up appearances in the Wellington theatre circuit.* With a signature blend of kook and charm, Three Spoon have produced a pleasing rendition of The Storm, an Ancient Roman comedy refreshed and ‘appallingly mistranslated’ by Peter Oswald.

Being embarrasingly unschooled in the conventions of Roman theatre, I found that the plays plot structure had strong elements of Elizabethan comedy. Set on an isolated beach sometime in Ancient Rome, the play focusses on a kooky group of characters, who for the most part are trying to sort out their sex lives. There’s the pimp, played by Ed Watson, who has lost his prostitutes in a large storm. The prossies, played by hotties Adrianne Roberts and Brigid Costello, are incessantly chased by the beach’s sexually frustrated male inhabitants, played to varying degrees of camp by Kent Seaman, Paul Waggott and Ralph McCubbin Howell (McCubbin Howell plays a range of roles in the play, all of which are very well received). The characters chase each other a lot and get the occasional hardon, and then all is resolved when each character marries their rightful (and appropriate) partner; a ending which was most Shakespearian.

The troupe do well at transforming the pokey Lyall Bay Surf Club into a manageable playing space, creating a relaxed, even quaint, atmosphere through cushions, teas and coffees and a delicious half-time BBQ. The stage is small without being cramped; likewise the seating arrangement. There were a few issues with sightlines in the production, as is often the case when performing in a room not designed for theatre, which could have been rectified with a few rostra. Being the practical sole that I am, I moved down onto the cushions after the break and found that I enjoyed the second half much better.

One of the standout elements of the show was the exceptional skill and talent of the musicians, Hollie Fullbrook and Tane Upjohn-Beatson, who composed and performed all of the music in the show. The pair made use of some very unusual and unconventional instruments, such as an anchor. Between the blue-grassy timbre of Fullbrook’s vocals and Upjohn- Beatson’s secure guitar playing, the pair were a splendid example of finely wrought musicianship.

For me, the standout actor of the night was Paul Waggott, whose soft and understated performance was the most effective in the small surf club. Given their successes, it seems to me that Three Spoon are ready to tackle a bigger, perhaps even more challenging, production. I wait in earnest. * Yeah, I know that was a terrible joke, but I make no apologies. I think I’m funny.

The Storm
Written by Peter Oswald
Directed by Alexandra Lodge
At the Lyall Bay Surf Club
April 10 – 13

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