I like to consider his proposition of an infinite Christmas as a framing device for the following performances; that in at least one universe they are a reality.
Big Lies follows with Crossbow Cat, Abby Howells’s short story about a human named Martha (Josephine Byrnes) and a cat called Cinnamon (Abby Howells). After a freak accident some Christmas past, Cinnamon re-enters Martha’s life motivated by the most Merry of motives: Vengeance. True to the style we have come to expect from Abby’s short works, Crossbow Cat is chock full of non sequiturs and outrageous exchanges carried by the focused performances from the straight-silly duo. Josephine’s grounded Martha is an excellent foil to the physical comedy created by the Catterisms performed by Abby.
Alien Customs takes to an inter-galactic space port on the most important day of the Terramorph seasonal Calendar, Dimorphus Rodan Beakson Day. It collides Officer Rampies every-avian’s struggle of Holiday Work with the pragmatic liberal scientific escapades of Dr Orno. The adorable puppets, made by Anna Stuart and operated by Harriet Hughes and Andrew Clarke, are a delight to watch flap about the stage, flexing their fabric to display all the emotions of the holiday rainbow.
The formidable combo of Jake Brown and Sasha Tilly bring us the final piece of the night, a one woman, and disembodied voice of Christmas pressure, presentational guide of How to Plan A Perfect Christmas. Tasha’s Christmas has plenty to offer the audience, with an abundance of chocolates, baking, decorations and despair. Capturing the angst of the season through the story of Tasha’s dysfunctional preparation, Apple Box Brand confronts our expectations of what the ideal Christmas is and brutally eviscerates it to the effect of a sack load of catharsis.
The aforementioned Santa Claus, as performed by Johnny Paul, is cheery source of humour and observation between the performances. His stage presence and wit are as top notch as his top knot and you get the sense he is really enjoying his role. Having an MC suit Stages of Cheer perfectly as buffer during the stage hand’s handling definitely keeps the audience’s spirits up. The role will also be played by Rosie Cann throughout the week and I would love to see what her version of Santa will bring.
I have a particular soft spot for these types of performances which bring together different artist collectives together to raise money for a good cause. In this case, all profits will go to the Wellington Women’s Refuge and the Maori Women’s Refuge. It is this sense of collaboration between the artist community that makes me particularly merry this time of year. I recommend you spend some time this week to check out Stages of Cheer. It’ll really fill your stocking.