Theatre Review: Plan C, Why Do I Dream?

Sabrina D'Angelo's Why Do I Dream? is very original and often very funny.
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Sabrina D'Angelo's Why Do I Dream? is very original and often very funny.

Plan C – Le spectacle, c'est moi!  Caspar Schjelbred

Fringe Bar, Allan Street, Wellington, 7pm, until February 21

Why Do I Dream? – Sabrina D'Angelo

Gryphon Theatre, Ghuznee Street, Wellington, 9.30pm, until February 20

Two of the many solo performances in this year's New Zealand Fringe Festival began this week. Both are from overseas and both are quirky, original and somewhat out of the ordinary.

Early evening at the Fringe Bar is Caspar Schjelbred, a Parisian Dane, with his Plan C – Le spectacle, c'est moi!

A physical mine artist, Schjelbred's describes Plan C as an existentialist comedy and while it is obvious that much of the performance is improvised, there is still a structure, with set pieces using music to creatively underscore the action.

But there is no real through line to the pieces, each section unrelated to the one before or after and so, as with a lot of these types of work, it is a case of not trying to work out what is going on, but to just sit back and go along with the artistry and creativity of the performer, and to enjoy the humour.

And Schjelbred is certainly very confident with his style of performance, his physicality quite exceptional with the way he animates his topics through use of body language, facial expression and vocal sounds.

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Often reminiscent of Mr Bean-type antics, the highlight of the show is when he caresses, peels, then eats a banana to the dramatic strains of a Maria Callus operatic aria.

Meanwhile, late night at The Gryphon is another solo artist, Sabrina D'Angelo, who has been in Wellington before with a show in the 2014 Fringe Festival.

Calling herself a body-poet, her new show Why Do I Dream? she describes as telling the story of her life (and the life of her story).

However, this is never really evident through the show, nor is the significance of the title, as essentially the piece is a very physically dramatised and pared-back adaptation of Flaubert's Madame Bovary story, one of the most romantic classical novels ever written, she says.

With a few words, she describes the major sections of the book, from the heroine Emma getting married, having and affair with Leon, getting bored in Paris, having another hot passionate affair with Rodolphe, getting pregnant, getting into debt and eventually killing herself.

After each brief description, she then acts out the section in her unique physical style of theatre, using an array of props like balloons, an apple, cakes, a pair of false teeth and a puppet that looks like Yogi Bear.

Very original and often very funny, this show, along with Schjelbred's Fringe Bar, show offers an unusual and unique type of entertainment, which is what the Fringe Festival is all about. 

 - Stuff

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