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BRILLIANTLY CRAFTED

Print Version

NZ Fringe Festival 2013
CANNONBALL
By Emily Taylor
presented by Pretending To Be Awake Productions

at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
From 25 Feb 2013 to 1 Mar 2013
[1 hr]

Reviewed by Caoilinn Hughes, 26 Feb 2013


One confident, capable, comedic actress playing ten characters in a one-hour kaleidoscope of social observation and riotous imagination with just one prop on stage makes for a ‘hole-in-one' at this year's Fringe.

Green Room Award winner Emily Taylor is not only an enormously talented comedic actress and impersonator, but she is also a very original writer.

Her play, Cannonball, weaves together the lives of various individuals who are connected via the Land Shopping Centre. Most of the characters work there, on various echelons.

There is the penthouse office of Aussie David, the pseudo-macho C.E.O. with a penchant for poultry. There is his potty, role-playing South African wife, Cordellia. There's his daughter, Lucy, who suffers her mother's hair-raising bedtime stories bravely. There's Lucy's Cabbage Patch Doll, Didi (Taylor manages a sidesplitting facial expression resemblance for anyone who knows what a Cabbage Patch Doll looks like).

There's the window cleaner, Miles, who perceives both the birds and the birdshit, and who wonders if he will carry on his family's patriarchal tradition of suicide. There's neurosis and libido incarnate (the weaker two impersonations – neurosis resting on Woody Allen, and libido, a Mexican pepper cartoon). There's the hilarious Swedish (?) secretary of the Mental Health Centre, Wholesome Health, Hilda (definitely the highlight; some of her one-liners are inspired!) and her daughter, the suggestible intern, Heidi.

The characters are all satirical and exaggerated, but consistently so. This is a play with confidence and commitment to its vision. The real feat is that, through all of the parody and embroidery, it manages expressiveness and immersion and even pathos.  

The play opens with utterly divergent perspectives, but in a brilliantly crafted way, they all turn to face (thankfully, not literally) the one prop that remains on stage throughout: the raven that represents one's psyche. 

Emily Taylor is a deserving winner of the Melbourne Fringe Tiki Tour Ready Award. 
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 Heidi North-Bailey