Festival break for local theatre

By Alexandra Newlove

3 comments
Lutz Hamm plays the turkey in a cheeky local rendition of The Owl and the Pussycat, bound for Wellington. Photo / Sarah Marshall
Lutz Hamm plays the turkey in a cheeky local rendition of The Owl and the Pussycat, bound for Wellington. Photo / Sarah Marshall

A show which started life in a disused shop in Whangarei is about to give Wellington a taste of rambunctious Northland talent.

Local theatre collective Company of Giants take their rendition of The Owl and the Pussycat to the New Zealand Fringe Festival from March 1, after three seasons of the show in their own backyard.

The musical retelling of Edward Lear's children's poem is set in the suburban squalor of Whangarei. As the narrator observes, the city that has been trying to build a Wendy's Burger outlet for 100 years with no success.

Tomasin Fisher-Johnson's Owl and Pussycat Mataara Stokes elope on a pea green boat, in a story of the trials of inter-species love. Our heroes eventually marry in the land of the bong tree - another cheeky Northland reference.

The show was created by Whangarei performers Laurel Devenie, Ash Holwell, Lutz Hamm, Anthony Crum, Fisher-Johnson, Stokes and Adam Ogle and started its life in December 2014 next to a pokie bar on Cameron St, as a way of showcasing how Whangarei's many empty shops could be brought to life.

Director Devenie said the devised work was becoming a company classic.

"Expect tiny explosions, a double bass and a moon you will fall in love with it," Devenie said of the show.

The Festival coincides with the conference for the Performing Arts Network of New Zealand, where works are bought by various festivals around the country.

- Northern Advocate

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