Stories about shocking pink taffeta ballgowns, drinking Baileys at the Open Late Café and seeing Dave Dobbyn at the Gluepot; this audio tour shamelessly mythologises Ponsonby in the 1980s. And why not? The show's a good reminder of how utterly the star suburb has transformed within half a generation.
The idea is to jump on the dedicated bus at The Basement, get dropped off on Ponsonby Rd in a guided group clutching headsets, and take a trip down the memory lanes of, in turn, Tessa Mitchell (who also acts) and Dave Fane (whose tales are acted out with relish and camaraderie by Troy Tu'ua and Italia Hunt).
On opening night, a technical glitch stopped Mitchell's monologue after five minutes. This was disappointing - and there were a couple of minutes of uncertainty before Plan B kicked in - but the other half of the show was satisfying even on its own, given the $18 ticket price (pleasingly all Basement shows this Fringe Festival are $18 and under, with no booking fees).
Fane's fascinating anecdotes are of minor rebellion (competitions to be the worst singer in church) and gentrification. It was "pretty quick, pretty brutal" when the manufacturing jobs disappeared and the fences went up between houses. But it wasn't all bad; the narrator remembers the intriguing sight of a palagi in her bikini washing her car on a Sunday when all the "Islanders" were going to church. Cheerfully-told and funny, many of the stories also carry an interesting sting.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Director and co-writer Stephen Bain ensures the mostly silent action is enough to add interest without taking attention away from the monologues. And simply walking along as a soft neon sunset slides behind villas carries its own charm.
Intermission takes place in a small but absorbing pop-up Ponsonby museum including photos of a Polynesian Panther march and copies of 1980s fashion paper Cha-Cha (well, hello there, Patrick Steel). Pleasurable.
What: I wanna be na nah na nah nah
Where and when: The Basement, to February 22