Unnatural things are happening (part one)


Flintlock Musket by Kirk Torrance was my most anticipated play of the year.?? It delivered everything I want – drama, dance and a teeny bit of magic.?? I loved it!??

First confession….it's finished.?? Yeah, sorry.?? I know that it would have been more useful to write the review in time for you to get tickets.?? Here's the good news – it's just the start of the season!?? So you should be able to see it next year.?? (You might have to travel to say, Whangarei, but it really isn't that far…actually I have no idea what the next plans are so don't start booking a trip now.)

Flintlock Musket was picked up as part of the STAMP development programme.*?? It was workshopped a couple of times last year.?? This November was the premiere season for what STAMP are saying is Part One of a three year plan.?? THREE YEARS!?? That's at least three more times that I'll be able to see it.??

Super. Excited.

Second confession…I know some of the people involved in bringing the show to the stage (varying degrees of closeness.) I don't think that's coloured my judgement of the play but I can't be sure. You make the call. (Also, I'm breaking it down into pieces cause it's past midnight and this post is already too long.)

So – it's set pre musket-wars NZ and the story is that the chief Aoraki (Maaka Pohatu – that's him in the middle) has sent his son Toki (Jarod Rawiri) off to fight another iwi on his behalf.?? Toki is upstaged by the Aoraki's mokai-pakeha/pet, Mason, (Jason Whyte – on the left) who is rewarded for his part in the battle with the gift of Aoraki's whaangai daughter and slave, Hine (Nancy Brunning – on the right).?? Supporting characters are played by Scott Cotter (watch for his death/s!), Taane Mete and Wairangi Herewini. There's an ensemble (Jack Gray (also Movement Director) Tamihana Paurini, Regan Taylor, Maria Walker, Nancy Wijohn) who provide support and punctuation to the dramatic bits.?? It was inspired by Macbeth so it's not a spoiler to say that death, and destruction, and DOOM, rain down upon the protaganists.

There are a whole bunch of talented people working on this show.?? Rachel House (Director) manages to wrangle the performers around the vast open set (designed by John Verryt; lighting design by Jeremy Fern).?? She has a large cast to direct plus there's music (Tama Waipara, Sean Lynch and Tweedie Waititi) and movement to incorporate as well.?? There was a fairly tight rehearsal period (seems like there always is) which must have been particularly difficult for a completely new show like this one.?? There are complicated space/time movements within the script.?? These weren't so clear to me on opening night but by closing night those changes were more defined.

In Part two: some comments about the cast and performances

*?? "Flintlock Musket was developed as part of a Playmarket's Pasifika Playwrights Programme and THE EDGE Double Shot Programme" according to the programme.


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