Play review: Mates and Lovers

March 20, 2011

Adapted by Ronald Trifero Nelson from a script by Chris Brickell, review by Workers Party member James Froch

Having significantly evolved since it last showed at Bats in 2009, a new production of Mates and Lovers is back in Wellington as part of the second Asia-Pacific Out Games.  This celebration of the modern gay identity is Ronald Nelson’s second adaptation of Chris Brickell’s well- known catalogue of men’s sometimes platonic and sometimes sexual relationships with other men.

Having cut, extended and added some scenes—particularly enjoyable was the addition of the young Chris Brickell’s personal experiences during homosexual law reform –this production was more successful than its predecessor at transforming desperate individual stories separated by centuries, geography, ethnicity and class into a single narrative.

Much credit for the easy physical transitions between scenes is due to Taiaroa Royal’s clever choreography.  Particularly creative was the transformation of the two lone actors (Paora Taurima and Simon Leary) into chorus girls, and their shirts into halter tops, during the musical numbers often used to move into a new scene.  The playful gender transgressions added yet another layer of gaiety to the already quite gay piece of theatre. Read the rest of this entry »


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