Captivated by song and heroics
Miss Fletcher Sings the Blues created and performed by Hayley Sproull.
Whitireia Theatre, until February 15, 8pm.
Memoria by Jacob Dale and Diesel McGrath, directed by Jacob Dale.
Gryphon Theatre, until February 15, 9.30pm.
The vagaries of youth could be construed as a connecting theme of these two shows although both are poles apart in style, form and content. On its fourth time around, Hayley Sproull's superb comedy/cabaret Miss Fletcher Sings the Blues has now been expanded with a further 20 minutes - although it could do without the interval that has been introduced.
As a relieving teacher of a class of pubescent males (the audience), Miss Fletcher (Sproull) decides that as she knows nothing about geography and that music is her thing - that it will be a music lesson instead. And in fact it becomes a bit of a therapy session for the boys, getting them to express themselves through music - "instead of going mental go music" she says.
And so with lots of witty banter interspersed with even wittier original songs, Sproull encourages the audience into all sorts of confessions.
She has an incredible vocal range and a great ability at mimicry and the confident way she fronts up and takes on whatever the audience throws at her makes this an entertaining and worthwhile show.
Over in the Gryphon is another youth, Achilles, growing up in the tempestuous times of the 10 year Trojan War. Memoria, by Jacob Dale, is the show in which a librarian (Diesel McGrath) gives a lengthy and academic dissertation on death and immortality and the legacy we leave behind.
We are then told one of the greatest legacies is that of the heroics of the youthful Achilles (Kesava Beaney) whose story is then played out.
His mother Thetis (Mouce Young) pleads for him not to go and his father sends him to the court of Lycomedes where he is dressed as a girl and kept among the king's daughters.
With his bosom buddy Patroclus (Jacob Dale) he eventually wages war on Hector (also played by Jacob Dale) and the Trojans and eventually kills Hector.
What the actual significance of Achilles' legacy is for today was not overly clear but the telling by this committed group of young actors was convincing and had all the hallmarks of a dramatic Greek tragedy.
The Dominion Post