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Review: One Of Those

Wed 13 Aug 2014 In: Performance View at NDHA

One Of Those Written and performed by David Charteris Directed by Bruce Brown At The Vault, Q Theatre, Auckland 12-16 August 2014 David Charteris It's 1960 and Walter D'Arcy Cresswell has died. From his coffin he begins to waspishly sort through the detritus of his life, particularly the incident which immortalised him: being shot in a then-scandalous alleged homosexual tryst gone wrong saga which riveted and appalled 1920s New Zealand. To recap, pushy and successful Wanganui mayor Charles Mackay invited Cresswell, a visitor from Timaru, to a private after-hours viewing of artworks in the town's Sarjeant gallery - which the mayor had played a significant part in establishing. Apparently Mackay made an advance on Cresswell who tried to force the mayor to resign. Something went wrong and Mackay shot Cresswell and did fifteen years hard labour for attempted murder. Mackay's life and reputation were destroyed. Cresswell went on to live in London trying to eke out a living as a not very successful writer and poet. Cresswell was definitely gay, Mackay was probably straight. It was all very messy and makes fine material for David Charteris' self-penned one man play One Of Those which opened at The Vault at Auckland's Q Theatre last night. Charteris is quite magnificent on stage. His Cresswell, in particular, is totally captivating as he presents us with the preening, posturing, self-aggrandising, pompous and nearly broken man who in his latter years ekes out a living as a night watchman while peddling his poetry and literary works with little success. Charteris inhabits a character who is by turns unpleasant and delicious, a testament to fine acting skills and the richly-worded script he has crafted for himself. It really is quite magical to be in this Cresswell's company for an hour. Here and there Charteris also portrays Mackay as a wonderfully bluff provincial politician and Sir Robert Stout as a pompous but pragmatic judge. His attention to vocal and physical detail, skill with asides and off the cuff observations are remarkable, serving to bring the characters to life in a way that is rarely seen on stage, or elsewhere for that matter. One of Those is a captivating and charming piece of theatre, an excellent evocation of homosexuality in another, less understanding, era and very much worth the price of admission. Jay Bennie - 13th August 2014    

Credit: Jay Bennie

First published: Wednesday, 13th August 2014 - 9:59am

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