Theatre review: Day After Night, Basement Theatre

By Paul Simei-Barton

Add a comment
The chorus-line delivered some sharp numbers. Photo / Supplied
The chorus-line delivered some sharp numbers. Photo / Supplied

It is difficult not to admire the bold ambition of a small independent company launching an original full-length musical with a live band - especially when the venture is largely dependent on crowd funding.

The gestation period for this notorious difficult art form usually involves years of workshopping and while Day After Night has all the key elements in place, the show still feels like a work in progress.

The topical story examines the meltdown of a gay relationship when one partner has his heart set on having a baby while the other is unwilling to give up the pleasures of promiscuity.

The show poignantly expresses the impossibility of having it both ways in a culture devoted to the idea that 'and/both' is always superior to 'either/or'.

Writer/composer Benjamin Cleaver explores this dilemma with a delightfully light touch in songs like Open Relationship ("I want to be with you but not just you") and the centre-piece A Gay Wedding in which the romantic pageantry is undercut by the painful reality of an unfaithful partner.

At other times the show struggles to find the right tone. At the heart of the enterprise is a heartfelt plea to be accepted and loved for who you are but the moving human story is frequently drowned out by high camp histrionics and heavy-handed irony.

Musical director Paul Barrett keeps the action moving with stylish arrangements that emphasise melody and rhythm while the three-person chorus-line delivers some sharply choreographed doo-wop numbers.

Director James Wenley effectively uses the Basement's grungy ambience and though the performances are emotionally convincing, Paul Harrop is the only cast member with the vocal technique to match the demands of the songs.

- NZ Herald

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 24 Aug 2014 00:09:34 Processing Time: 519ms