It certainly isn’t everyday you get to see one of your best friends in drag.
Of course, that wasn’t the defining feature of how I ended up at the preview night for Carbolic Production’s 28 Hours Later, a show about Trump being voted into office and its subsequent effects.
Oh no, it was more the fact that the premise hit just a little too close to home. When hearing about the project weeks ago from our very own Shawn Moodie, who has a role in the production, it was more taking the piss at the possibility of President Trump. Little did we know what would happen, literally two days before opening night.
So, with quite a bit of depression about Trump, and a heap of regret about having decided to give up alcohol until the end of the year, I invited a friend to come with me so we can perhaps find some sort of hilarity in our present situation.
Mixing a series of dramatic acting, comedic skits, pre-recorded video (with very high production values), and dance sequences, 28 Hours Later is an all-round exercise into hilarity. The main plot revolves around a group of friends returning to Auckland after a week on holiday, and finding the city deserted and ravaged by a virus, following Trump being voted president. Barricaded in Skycity thanks to “Soldier Joe”, whose actor also features in the video skits, they attempt to save themselves with the help of a drunken Russian scientist to create an antidote to save humanity.
Yet the main plotline has little to do with the best parts of the productions. That, instead, is reserved for the various skits poking fun at the ideas of racism, stereotypes, social conventions, dating, and a parody series of those energy-saving ads blocking your view of the new film trailer on YouTube. Two dance sequences are also brilliant stand-outs: a hip hop group featuring some well-choreographed moves, and the other a glow-in-the-dark performance daring to defy gravity.
Not to mention, the talented band that peppers the production with their jazz covers of popular music. The lead singers, both packing powerful vocals, which although come on a little too strong at times, should probably aim to become professional musicians if they aren’t already.
That does lead to a very important point on the production of 28 Hours Later: it’s all done by young professional volunteers. Dedicating time to original material, the performers overall are not professionals in the entertainment industry. They are instead professionals in every other sense of the word, working in various jobs and disciplines across the city. This year, the show has been directed by Shaun Seaman, Catherine Coup, and James McGeorge
But with all the horns that have been tooted, and the praise given, there are, however, a few trouble spots. While the overall presentation of the production is slick and well-done, there are minor details that should be ironed out before opening night this evening, such as the occasional fluffing of lines, awkward pauses, and the odd break from character when actors couldn’t contain their own laughter. As with a preview (essentially a full dress rehearsal), these niggly bits can and ought to be forgiven.
So, in conclusion? It’s certainly a show worth seeing, especially if you’re in the under-35 age group who’s feeling a little too cynical about the current state of the world. Ignoring the odd awkward glance between actors searching for their lines, you ought to be prepared to laugh-out-loud at some excellent puns, challenge (or reinforce) some of your stereotypes, and watch Shawn get in what is some pretty damn good-looking drag. There’s even an eggplant involved somewhere.
- Excellent puns
- High-value video productions
- Eggplant joke
- Slightly rough line delivery
- Occasional flat joke