The Blue Room Theatre has been putting on independent performance works for 25 years now, encompassing drama, comedy, polemic, puppetry, dance, musicals, audiovisual confections, fresh takes on classics and many original works, of which some defy simple categorisation. The mixed crowd mingling in the bar, members of The Blue Room Theatre, media, publicists, performers, volunteers, technical experts and many individuals wearing multiple hats at once, waited eagerly for a taste of the upcoming season’s offerings.
The long table launch format is simple – long tables laid out in each of the venue’s spaces, with the acts scheduled to perform in each space providing food and a presentation to whet the theatrical appetite for their shows. Many of the acts choose to combine the two aspects of their presentations, sometimes in cryptic or even surreal manner.
In the Studio, CI Enterprises opened with Mexican street food, before the cast of Tegan Mulvany, Greg Fleet, Shane Adamczak and Michael de Grussa led the room in a rousing rendition of “You’re the Voice”, reflecting the title of their show This Is Not a Love Song. Joe Lui from Renegade Productions refreshed the energy levels, leading us in a standing toast of Hong Kong milk tea to life, contemplating the links across the gulf between East and West that inform his show, Letters Home. Daisy Sanders and Shuling Wong intrigued with their parcels of fortune cookies on the tables, further raising levels of interest with an abridged dance work interspersed with observations on the nature of identity in this world saturated by social media. Going from what felt like a preview, Status Rooms promises to be a thoughtful, thought-provoking work. Jo Morris and theMOXYcollective won the season’s longest title with Those Who Fall In Love Like Anchors Dropped Upon The Ocean Floor, Renee Newman-Storen setting the scene with love letters, meringues and lingering looks across the room. Using “selfie technology”, a hilariously-edited video montage of the creatives involved in the work took us from the canals of Venice to the used car lots of Victoria Park, via Iceland, Paris, London and Wellington, to not-quite-but-nearly give an impression of another complex script from the magnificently-named and much-acclaimed playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer, a love story possibly involving a submarine and the Cold War.
After a break filled with excited chatter, attendees switched rooms, and the Theatre space was treated to Danen Engelenberg from Ellandar Productions getting lusty over Russya Connor, delivering a pent-up monologue with a long, thick baton that found its release in smashing open a donkey piñata full of sweets… I’m not sure what Concussion will be about, based on his presentation, but I am sure that Ross Mueller’s play will be well-delivered by these performers. TEEM Productions sent small children bearing gifts of spaghetti bolognese to guests, softening us before a confronting recital from Jedda-Rae Hill, Ebony McGuire and Alyssa Thompson, suggesting that What Do They Call Me? may be quite interesting but also challenging. Nick Pages-Oliver and Maja Hannah delivered some gruesomely-presented, but tasty, morsels of cake to the tables, a video presentation of a lonely road, at night, setting the grim mood for 11:47 Productions’ Welcome to Slaughter. The audio visual treats continued with The Nest Ensemble’s Joey: The Mechanical Boy presentation, immaculately coiffed, wasp-waisted hostesses Amy Johnston, Gemma Middleton, Amelia Tuttleby and Savannah Wood reflecting the eerily wholesome 50s domestic goddess nature of the video loop introducing Joey. After a repeated cycle of the home movie reel, the bright blue jelly and vodka shots were a welcome respite from the suspiciously cheerful family hijinks on the screens.
Another successful launch to another season full of diverse topics tackled in different ways by dedicated performers – The Blue Room Theatre seems set for at least another 25 years of invigorating independent productions.
The Blue Room Theatre
Long Table Launch – Season 2
August – November 2014