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Wednesday 14 April 2010


Review: Goldilocks & the Three Queers

Posted in: Performance
By Kay Jones - 12th February 2010

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Goldilocks & The Three Queers

Directed by Adam Donald

The Basement, 39 Dixon Street, Wellington


Most of us remember that cautionary tale Goldilocks and The Three Bears. This play, set in 1970 San Francisco, is a cautionary tale of a different type.

Goldilocks is the one of a series of fairytales created by the Short Term Visitor Parking Collective of cast and crew. The previous fairytale, Hansel und Gretel, was a Nazi German musical comedy.

From our reluctant welcome by Ling Ling the landlady leading us down the stairs to the shabby basement apartment where we meet a sweet young Baby Queer and the dragalicious Momma Queer, we realise this is not the gentle pastel coloured land of our childhood fables. The basement setting is decked with token icons from the '70s including a fondue set which hides Momma's stash of, well, I guess you'd call them 'momma's little helpers'. No lava lamp but a large bright purple dildo adorns the kitchen bench.

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Each character takes their turn to share their future hopes or dreams. Baby Queer is looking forward to his birthday when he will be old enough to lose his (anal) virginity. He fills in the time with his comic book re-enactments of Hero Guy and Bottom Boy. Imagine an X-rated gay mime artist trying to give and receive at the same time.

Momma wants to be seen as a real girl. She wants to please Papa with household chores, but needs a drink or a pill to get them done. Papa Queer styles himself as a homosexual Jesus Christ, seeking to lead the faithful on a Crusade of Gay Pride.

Goldilocks is out to spread the good word about the Our Saviour Christ the Lord. But she is easily tempted by the delicious brownies baked by Momma Queer. Even the audience is tempted, and yes reader we succumbed and ate the brownies too!

The programme notes say the director wanted to build a sense of unity with the audience and to encourage us to question our beliefs. But what happens when our belief in the play and its characters makes us want to interact with them on a visceral level, and not in a good way? Papa Queer and his controlled family brought back the intense mistrust that I felt seeing Bert Potter of Centrepoint on the TV news after accusations of him abusing young people in his community. Those too young to remember Centrepoint may see the same despotism in Brian Tamaki or Robert Mugabe.

But Momma Queer and Baby Queer want to please Papa, and their cause of Gay Pride is ours too so we feel duty bound to despise the Christian Goldilocks, who has no charity or compassion when she discovers the "sodomitic" nature of these three unbelievers.

The actors make a good fist of their roles. Martine Gray stands out as the overloud Momma and Simon Leary is suitably wistful as the Baby wanting to be a real gay man. Bronwen is good as Goldilocks but even better in creating fantasy costumes for the diverse roles. Tane Upjohn-Beatson who gives us live guitar and a range of his original musice, is a real hottie who would make a good stand-in for Jesus himself.

The play lagged in places. Papa preached too much, there were too many brownies, and the production didn't deliver on all the possibilities implicit in the scenario. A series of connected monologues is no substitute for witty dialogue or deeper character interaction. That said, the play had many moments of fun and originality and the audience seemed to enjoy the underground experience.


 

For show details about Goldilocks & the Three Queers see its listing in Wellington's Fringe Festival. Most sessions have sold out for the Fringe season, but it will be returning to BATS Theatre in April.


Kay Jones - 12th February 2010

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