Theatre review: The Night of the Queer, Tapac

By Janet McAllister

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Professional dancer Taiaroa Royal (above) co directed The Night of the Queer with Taane Mete. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Professional dancer Taiaroa Royal (above) co directed The Night of the Queer with Taane Mete. Photo / Brett Phibbs

In spite of the name, not all the acts are queer - but this Pride Festival cabaret co-directed by Okareka Dance's Taiaroa Royal and Taane Mete is an enjoyable pick'n'mix of 14 diverse pieces.

Burlesque, drag, improv, contemporary dance and circus are loosely held together by metamorphosing MC Adam Burrell and his egregious bag of puns: musical director Robin Kelly's excellent band is there for our "aural pleasure" etc.

Highlights include a fierce flamenco dancer - Isabel Rivera Cuenca - exquisitely accompanied by tenor Albert Cases and guitarist Paul Bousader.

Edward Clendon seems to defy gravity by rolling his body up his vertical silks, and Murdoch Keane is mesmerising as Carol Ann Duffy's Mrs Midas in a gold and white kimono.

The peppy, roll-with-it energy of comedian Penny Ashton as the amusing, amnesiac Loose Chanteuse is enlivening.

Costume changes keep up the interest in several drag acts, including Kita Mean and Lady Trenyce while Nancy Wijohn and Kelly Nash also have fun peeling off gloves in a charming excerpt from their longer dance work Ahua.

Dancer Molly McDowall performs well in a comic piece of titillation from Mary Jane O'Reilly's In Flagrante. Ardon England's nicely-judged, darker pas de deux with Mete demonstrates the body's potential for both tenderness and violence.

Like most cabaret-in-theatre, the evening starts rather slowly: the form is designed to be enjoyed after a drink or two. This feels like a missed opportunity for some political bite and commentary on the diversifying queer scenes, but the non-threatening fun is entertaining, at $38.

What: The Night of the Queer
When: To Feb 19
Where: Tapac, Motions Rd
Reviewer: Janet McAllister
Learn More: www.tapac.org.nz

- NZ Herald

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