Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More
Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Fringe Festival Review: Couch Soup

Fringe Festival Review: Couch Soup

Review by Alison Little

Click to enlarge

Couch Soup
Urban Vineyard Theatre Trust []
Where: Bluenote Bar, Cuba Street
When: Feb 13th 14th 15th 16th 8pm
Duration: Approx 1 1/2 hours
Price: Full $12 Concession $10 Addict $8
Tickets: (04) 801 5007 or at the door

In Couch Soup Stephanie Christian, Ross MacLeod, Bronwyn Williams and Benny Marama take on the dramatic challenge of presenting 30 playlets from dozens of authors in a little over an hour.

The show features sweet and poignant vignettes of some very dysfunctional relationships, along with many genuinely absurd and funny moments. The actors strive to delineate characters and their histories with a few deft sentences, create and resolve dramatic tension, and keep everything hurtling along as briskly as possible with only each other and smattering of props and costumes to call on.

The only constant between plays is the eponymous couch. In some scenes it is merely an incidental piece of furniture, in others the centrepiece. A dubious purple synthetic-suede, it is variously sat upon, hugged, sold, rowed, hidden behind, hurled and used for immoral purposes.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Extensive use is made of stock characters and situations, but always with a twist. Along with some real laughs, the cast also wring wry chuckles of recognition from the audience, particularly in the families-going-horribly-wrong scenes. The monologues were particularly effective, and each of the actors had opportunities to shine.

Many of the plays worked on multiple levels, although some (as the cliché goes) struggled to find a centre. One clunky mention of some sponsor’s product (an obscure beer) was as annoying as the Timex line in Casino Royale.

This Hamilton-based annual feast of one-page plays began back in 1997, and has visited Wellington for the last two New Zealand Fringe Festivals. Plays are selected via an open call for scripts, and the only real restriction on style or content is that they must fit on one side of an A4 page. Over one hundred playwrights have participated so far.

All in all, Couch Soup is an interesting night’s entertainment, with the cast telling an amazing range of tales drawn from a disparate variety of genres in distinctly enthusiastic style.


Couch Soup press release
Fringe 07 website
Scoop Full Coverage: Fringe 07

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.