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REVIEW: Confessions, Fractious Tash, Gryphon Theatre, Wellington. February 2012

Confessions
Written and Directed by: Benjamin Henson
Performed by: Fractious Tash (Featuring Verginia Frankovich, Daryl Wrightson, Jordan Blaikie, Phoebe Mason, and Helen Sheehan)
Lighting and Sound Design: Joe Newman
Choreography: Kerry Stimpson
Costume Design: Jess Murphy
Venue: The Gryphon Theatre, Ghuznee St, Wellington
Season: 23-25 and 27-29 Feb 2012 at 9:30pm
Review date: 27 Feb 2012

Clever, pushing boundaries, confident performances from all cast members. Confessions is, perhaps, best summarised as five tragic monologues with glue in between that avoids too much realism by the clever addition of a little b-grade-film camp.

Verginia Frankovich, Daryl Wrightson, Jordan Blaikie, Phoebe Mason, and Helen Sheehan each in turn portray a character recounting a present tense narrative of something truly sick from their past. Each with varying degrees of success manages to mine their particular shocking story for comedic value before segueing into a “bridge” of sorts that sets up the next monologue. Each of the monologues unfortunately seemed to struggle to come to a conclusion and perhaps could benefit from being edited shorter.
The lighting design included strikingly creative use of colour, gobos, and naked domestic light bulbs, combined with the use of a smoke machine filling the performance space from the outset with a dense fog that gave a hint of “disco” to the visual character of the production that well complemented the performance.
Likewise the sound effects all perfectly fitted the narration, although perhaps some of the sounds were just a little too loud to this reviewer's ear.
Movement around the stage was seamlessly and unobtrusively executed, and the dance routine after the third monologue was very well received by the audience.
Set design was minimalist with only a small number of effectively used props, including: a case, a small tin box, an old-style tape recorder and, a data projector and hand-held screen, and chairs.
Costumes were a perfect choice!

All in all, a well executed and hugely entertaining production that due to its dark subject matter may probably not be to everyone's taste, but certainly well deserves to have good audience sizes.

David Murray

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