Fringe: The Silent Reflections of Hone Mawhero
The Silent Reflections of Hone MawheroReviewed by Richard Thomson
Silent Reflections of Hone Mawhero
Open Book Theatre Company
City to Sea Bridge
Wed 15 - Sat18 February
9pm (Duration: 30min)
Open Book theatre company have succeeded before at the Fringe. In their new work they do it again, as smart, funny ideas, sounds and images spill from the bath that occupies centre-stage.
A stork-like woman with an enormous bottom. Shadow puppets. Opera. Guitars by turns lilting and squawking. And a German lullaby, providing the major musical theme to The Silent Reflections of Hone Mawhero, which riffs on the myth of Narcissus and Echo.
Helpfully, a Google translation is provided: a literary joke that along with several great visual and sonic gags is evidence Open Book theatre company are adept at soothing and seducing an audience.
But not only. The word 'lull' often indicates some kind of deception is being practised, so something was clearly working for Silent Reflections when the small boy in the front row asked his father: "What's going on!?" A clear note of concern sounded in his voice, but fortunately Dad was able to rustle up a soothing explanation.
Although it's the power of the performances given by actors and musicians that really give this show its life, this is a production where every aspect appears to slot smoothly into the whole – there's a lot packed into this half hour of theatre.
The choice of venue is a also nice touch. With Wellington in the throes of a festival, many people on their way to other events paused on the City to Sea bridge to enjoy the sweet and sour spectacle. Traffic rumbles on below the bridge, and a giant ferris wheel is lit up on Frank Kitts Park. A warm night with a light breeze heightens the gentle impression of a waking dream. It might be the Fringe, but Open Book confidently build a little universe that holds its own in the centre of the City.