A showcase of 10-minute plays by Australian playwright’s David Bulmer and Alex Broun, and Nelsonian Nikkie Karki.

Reviewed by Jess D’Ath


Cyclists and cars. Cars and cyclists. Politics and global warming. Penguins and…agendas?

The first play in the hour long short play line up was a fun foray into the world of rush hour cycling. Featuring a ten minute stream of consciousness as erratic as the traffic flow around Wellington. Unfortunately a few jokes were lost on Nelson audiences, but on the whole, this play was well scripted and convincing in its delivery.



Cockroaches, madness and OCD. This one woman play was simple and relatively effective, with a fun script about an absurd descent into all consuming madness. At times ludicrous, at others poignant, it was an interesting look into the psyche of someone who may not have he life as together as others might think.



The final two shows in the line up, were far darker than their predecessors. So much so, that many in the audience were left wishing the order had been reversed. The first, a heartbreaking yet beautiful vignette of an elderly war widow’s loneliness as she remembers the love of her life through moments recalled and letters re-read. It was incredibly simple, and so intimately portrayed, that I felt like a fly on the wall of her quaint living room, gaining a snapshot of what her days must be like, and it just made me feel sad.



The last show however, was darker still. A three hander with split lines, and a true story about a murdered child. The actors delivered a convincing performance which left the audience rattled and deeply uncomfortable. There isn’t much more to say about this play, except that I applaud the director for keeping the staging so simple, as the script was so tight, and so well delivered and articulate in its design, that anything else would just have distracted the audience from the unfolding horror.


Ideally, these shows would have been ordered in reverse, so that the audience could have recovered from this final show. As it was, we all walked out feeling slightly dazed, and more than a little disturbed. A sign of a very effective series of plays, no doubt all with this exact intention.



Penguins, Critters, and Humanity is part of the 2018 Nelson Fringe Festival. To check out other shows and workshops, click here.

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