How wonderful by Madelaine Empson
The Great War is over. Darkness and depression seep back into the shadowy corners of the past as the fog lifts and a new era dawns. In a drawing room in England, Lady Hermione and her loyal butler Roberts fall head-first into the decadence of the roaring 1920s, where martinis and monocles, fountains and feathers collide and starlight sparkles over the streets like diamonds.
Written and directed by Richard Huber, Wonderful is an award-winning two-hander performed by husband and wife acting duo Blaise and Sarah Barham. A romantic comedy at heart, Theatreview describes it as a “cracking conversational duel” fizzing with “diabolical cleverness”.
Blaise agrees, citing the wit and poetry of Richard’s language as among the most Wonderful aspects of the play.
“As a performer,” Blaise says, “I really enjoy the witty banter that I have with Hermione and the fact that although I’m reticent at first in my butler role, my character opens up and has a lot to share.”
While Wonderful might be set 100 years ago, the themes draw a lot of parallels to modern-day New Zealand as we navigate our sense of self and identity in changing times.
“Under its blithe exterior, Wonderful is thought-provoking; reminding us that the more the world changes, the more we stay the same.”
Blaise hopes “audiences will be amused, entertained, and moved” when they see Wonderful at Te Auaha from the 17th to the 19th of February this NZ Fringe.
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« Issue 189, February 14, 2023