I hoped that this would live up to the interview I had caught by luck on RNZ between Kim Hill and the writer Lennie James. The set promised that it would – 5 spaces on different levels spread over the stage with window frames hanging above. Thankfully I wasn’t disappointed. It’s three hours long but it did not feel like it to me.
There’s a large cast – 14 people – and complicated in that there are 6 storylines to follow – 5 on stage and 1 off stage (which is the catalyst for the lockdown the others find themselves in.) In the interview Mr James said that each cast member got to show him ‘their’ Auckland. (I’d like to know who showed him Vodafone Queen street!) There were a few times when I felt that the stories and phrasing were being imported from overseas but mostly it felt grounded in a familiar city.
I liked the fact that each story was a contained unit within the space. None of the 5 stories on stage crossed over with each other. Stories (well, people’s lives) _do_ play out inside walls in a way that noone outside the house is aware of. It wasn’t a play about isolation or how we should all get to know our neighbours. It explores family relationships and dynamics. Brothers and sisters; sisters and sisters; uncles and nephews; friends.
This show most definitely hit the mark. Thanks Massive.
Havoc in the Garden, a new play from acclaimed British writer Lennie James and Massive Company
9-12 March, 7pm, Mangere Arts Centre
16-26 March, 7pm, Pumphouse Theatre