2014 begins with a rush – a wedding and a perf with a great review!

9 04 2014

Compared to last year which started very slowly and gained momentum….this year has started with an incredible series of events – not the least our daughter Morgana’s wedding party to our dear son-in-law Peter Salmon – which was so  wonderful and crazy, a great day and week actually with guests and visitors staying and lots of celebrations – beautiful!


I've worn heaps of tutus but never made one before!!

I’ve worn heaps of tutus but never made one before!!

Wedding M's back view Wedding party kiss Wedding Mum, Will and Peter Wedding Ruby and Lucia Wedding party of girls Wedding skype Wedding 3 and Peter


And now we have just done a series of In Flagrante performances.

We performed at the Gay Pride Gala Opening at Q Theatre Feb 7th, opening the show with ‘Our Day will come’ and opened the 2nd half with ‘Group Bondage’. Variety shows are challenging but we went fine. Honoured to be invited – and then also invited to perform at the closing party – 1am in the morning….10 minutes was requested. We did Horses, Green Girls ( a new duet inspired by Tekken, a video game fighting girl character) then finished with Marching Girls. DJ KittyGlitter was before us and came backstage after our bit to say he was super impressed with our performance, ‘never seen anything like it’ apparently he’s based in Sydney and  DJ’s for Lady Gaga so have kept in touch with him on Facebook!

I came back early from APAM specially as I wanted In Flagrante to be in top form for the party. I had just had a week in Oz, going to the Garden of Unearthly Delights festival which is part of the Adelaide Fringe, a festival we should be performing in…we would be perfect for it, though a bit more subtle and thought-provoking than most of the shows, I think we would go down really well there! I met with Scott, one of the Directors after viewing LIMBO, he seemed positively inclined, may come to view us again next time we are on in Auckland (May 23rd at Galatos). Then to Brisbane to APAM , the arts market, 700 delegates from all over, one third buying, one third selling (including me) one third networking! I felt it was really worthwhile – made some great contacts and leads that are already being followed up.

can can  maria



the Choiserie Garden at Hamilton Gardens Fest

the Choiserie Garden at Hamilton Gardens Fest

We were in Hamilton for 2 nights at the Gardens Festival. We performed in the Chinoiserie Garden….first time ever we have done a full performance outside, if we don’t count dancing in a tent at Splore! We went well – have been rehearsing hard to get everyone up to speed for the full show. Great audience responses. Great review on theatreview!

Good practice for South Island in 2 weeks!

Review by Debbie Bright.

The Chinoiserie Garden, one of numerous themed gardens in the Hamilton Gardens: outdoors on a fine mild evening, Chinese pavilion transformed into stage with curtained backstage, tables and chairs, low lighting, a bar, tasteful and non-intrusive Spanish guitar music. An evening of cabaret is set.  The patrons arrive with their friends, wine and snacks and set themselves up around tables, or buy drinks to take back to their seats. There is a sense of occasion, the ‘exotic’, something definitely outside of the norm. Without programmes, we wait to be entertained, surprised, amused; we expect the unexpected.

The audience lights dim and the stage lights and music come up. A single young woman appears and begins to dance – scantily-clad, erotic, alluring, ‘naughty’, entertaining, amusing, fun. The costume and style are reminiscent of World War II nose art; the song, Make my Day. She is joined by 3 other dancers and the movement sequence is repeated and echoed and fragmented. The show has begun. The dancers change quickly behind the curtain and reappear for the next item. One dance item follows another: adult play-acting, fantasy, flaunting display, titillation – an erotic ‘come on’ – to the music of Austrian cabaret group Waldeck’sBallroom Stories. We see eroticism, humour, parody, irony, role-playing, classiness, sauciness, and, above all, polished performance. Sophisticated late night entertainment, perhaps seen as less risqué now than in earlier times. Yet, in this setting and time, it still has the power to shock, or at least startle, while providing great fun and entertainment.

Roll out the superlatives! The 5 young women in the company are slick, sleek, buffed and polished, displaying fantastically toned bodies dancing with skill and pizazz.  They portray all the virtuosity and cheekiness expected of women in burlesque: young women who relish their life together, their youth, dance skills and physical attractiveness, and their powerful roles as adult entertainers. Fantastic!

Yet, the work is both performance of and commentary on the perceived roles of women in the first half of the 20th century. As the items roll through and bodies move and are exhibited and displayed with increasing eroticism, I feel as if I am being taken from the polished performing outside, to the girl inside, and back again. The inside girl may feel cynicism, a patronizing superiority, vulnerability, disaffection, fear, anger and powerlessness, and hint at her experiences of the everyday relationships, amusements, needs and discomforts of a normal young woman. Yet, this young woman can also skillfully mask her inner self by plastering a polished insouciant performing face and body firmly back in place. I am seeing the girl inside the burlesque of the first half of the 20th century and before, but I am also seeing a young woman of the second decade of the 21st century, with her sense of history, experience, and perceptions. Theatre that may once have been seen as legitimate erotic entertainment for prosperous men, is now overlaid by our 21st century views of women’s rights, ownership of the body, battered women, abuse, violence, victimisation, political correctness, female slavery, and our discourses of objectification of the body and the male gaze. Yet, I am also aware that this tradition continues today in nightclubs, strip clubs and adult entertainment centres. Some would say that, in such places, men and women continue to be degraded, while others would say that they are places of honourable escapist entertainment, satisfying to both men and women. The whole experience for me is an interweaving of sophistication, eroticism and a comfortable embracing of a life of display and allure, together with cynicism, loss, and everyday banal-ness.  But then, I can’t help it if I view this work from the perspective of a well-educated, heterosexual, twenty-first century woman who is not challenged by her hormones in such a context.

A hit right from its opening in Auckland in 2011, an extended production of In Flagrante toured New Zealand (including Hamilton) in 2012, and was very successful at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in late 2013. In her choreography, Mary-Jane O’Reilly returns to her Limbs Dance Company style of exquisite and highly skilled contemporary dance choreography and performance, blended with irony, humour and the ability to portray engagement with everyday life while poking fun at it. There have been numerous reviews of the work over the years, in different venues. But there doesn’t appear to have been a review of a performance in such a venue as the Chinoiserie Garden. Hamilton, what a treat!





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