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Review: Day After Night

Fri 21 Sep 2012 In: Performance View at Wayback View at NDHA

It’s not often New Zealand gets to watch a home grown musical and even less often that one is written based on the trials and tribulations of a life lived out in Auckland’s gay community. But this week the pop rock extravaganza Day After Night premiered at The Basement and a slice of that Kiwi reality was served up on stage. The birth of this endearing modern-day drama/comedy about a gay couple – one who wants a baby, the other who can’t think of anything worse – was at times beautiful and at others, painful. Overly flamboyant Harry, who works as a late night drag queen, set the scene with wistful songs about how much he just wants to be a dad. Played by Kinlock Anstiss, Harry fits the drag queen-bill perfectly with as many songs set for his character as outfit changes – and that was a lot. Antagonist David, played by Paul Harrop, made his entrance with a powerful voice that outshone that of his stage partner. While his bad boy, staunch Kiwi male, commitment-phobic character came across as a little less convincing that Anstiss’, he certainly made up a for a lacklustre performance during songs. The show itself presented a relevant dilemma for modern day life – commitment versus freedom – a real 21st century conundrum. It was fantastic to see this presented through a queer lens as it meant that the thrashed subject of starting a family was not only presented in a different light, but was void of the social constraints it’s normally given. References to Auckland landmarks and the country’s political climate, including a shout out to Louisa Wall’s marriage equality bill, made it feel like a real community-centred production. However, the show was brought down a notch by some not so harmonious moments coupled with acting that could really have done with a bit more rehearsal. But while Day After Night certainly had its teething issues, the tone problems and sometimes cheesy scripting can no doubt be worked through if it’s given a chance. All in all it really felt like this show was a made by and for New Zealand’s rainbow community. And support by the audience given to the cast, crew, writer, and director was super - if I ever wrote a pop rock musical then I’d certainly be stoked to premiere it in such a supportive and fun environment. If anything, go along to tautoko writer Benjamin Cleaver and director James Wenley’s baby – if the phrase ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ is anything to go by then it is certainly up to all of us to help give this musical some loving recognition.   Hannah Spyksma - 21st September 2012

Credit: Hannah Spyksma

First published: Friday, 21st September 2012 - 9:32am

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