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Print Version

FUEL Festival 2012
Adapted from the book by Richard Meros, by Geoff Pinfield and Arthur Meek
Performed by Arthur Meek
Directed by Geoff Pinfield

at Meteor Theatre, Hamilton
From 22 Jun 2012 to 23 Jun 2012
[1 hr]

Reviewed by Richard Howard, 23 Jun 2012

Cleverly adapted from the 2008 Richard Meros book of the same name by the vital and charming Mr Arthur Meek and his cohort director Geoff Pinfield, this one man power point performance is engaging, witty and intelligent. It is also great fun.

Never will you have had an opportunity to explore the depths and quirks of the New Zealand national psyche, the grave social issues and challenges of our time, as this playful writing and performance allows.

We see before our very eyes how the long-worshipped New Zealand dream, embodied in the mythical persona of the Southern man, is revered and carried along in the show, only to be shredded in the final analysis and relegated to the dumpster of obsolete societal concepts. Only then are we able to hear the secret of the piece (which shall remain a secret until you see the show!).

Anything but meekly, Arthur delivers a clever, confident performance – more of an illustrated, dramatised, zany kind of lecture really – lavishly illustrated with highly creative and quite ingenious back projected graphics and shadow effects with which he interacts in a perfectly synchronized way. Great stuff!

You are compelled to like the rather eccentric, somewhat nerdy, self appointed social commentator, Richard Meros, immediately and equally compelled to like the warm-hearted, fearless, handsome Arthur Meek in the role; the two seem to be perfectly matched. 

Okay so there were some small sound equipment hitches in this performance and possibly we did not get the promised pyrotechnics; nevertheless the show is largely a marvellous technical feat.

If this performance gets the opportunity to be further developed (and it really should) I would like Arthur Meek to be more thoroughly grounded in the persona of Richard Meros, the character, through whom he delivers the lecture; this would shift the performance above a clever, very sophisticated revue style to something more compelling.

Even-so, this is a good piece of theatre for those of you who like a verbal roller coaster ride and a visual download.  
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 John Smythe
 Ryan Brown-Haysom (Salient);
 Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] (The Dominion Post);
 Lynn Freeman (Capital Times);
 Terry MacTavish
 Reynald Castaneda
 Rosabel Tan
 Sarah Dunn (Nelson Mail);
 Helen Sims