Theatre Review: Live at Six
By Dean Hewison and Leon Wadham
Show Pony, directed by Tim Spite
Lower NZI Room, Aotea Centre
12 November 2013
Reviewed by Catherine McGregor
Oh for the good old days, when a celebrity could get falling-down drunk at an Auckland society party with only other guests – including, if they were really unlucky, Metro’s legendary gossip columnist Felicity Ferret – to bear witness. Now that we’ve all got hi-def cameras in our pockets, of course, everything has changed. Run and hide if you like, but your indiscretion is unlikely to stay a secret for long.
It’s a lesson fictional One News anchor Jane Kenyon learns the hard way in Live at Six. After being caught on film in an incapacitated state, Kenyon finds herself making the news instead of reporting it. With just 90 minutes until the 6pm bulletin, TVNZ and TV3 wrestle to take control of the narrative, using video, pics and sneakily edited voice recordings to each construct their own version of the story.
This is digitally savvy interactive theatre with all the bells and whistles – hashtags, audience member voxpops, real time video – but none of the scary stuff. If you want to get involved, by filming Kenyon’s collapse (which happens pre-show, in the foyer), tweeting or Facebooking, then great; if you want to just sit back and enjoy the ride, that’s fine too.
The script, by Dean Hewison (How To Meet Girls From a Distance) and Leon Wadham (Levi in Go Girls), is smart and cynical, full of pitch-black one-liners. If you find yourself regularly bemoaning the shallow state of television news, you’ll find all your prejudices confirmed here. Jaded editor Fraser Higginson (Barnaby Frederic) and stop-at-nothing producer Sue Austin (Carmel McGlone) get most of the best lines, and Jonathan Brugh is hilarious as the narcissistic 3 News presenter – and Metru (sic) cover star – Gordon Miller.
First staged in 2009, but regularly reworked and tightened since then, Live at Six has been a hit in Wellington; up here, in the heart of cutthroat, hard-partying media-land, it should go down a storm.
Until November 16.