What happens when six young queer flatmates kidnap Jacinda Ardern? An insane plotline, but pulled off well by the young cast of Eight Reasonable Demands, one of three plays featured in Auckland Theatre Company’s return annual Here and Now Festival. The play follows our
terrorist heroes – a group of flatmates bound together by the prime minister tied up in the bathroom.
The group are diverse – differing races, political affiliations, sexualities and gender identities. I must commend playwright Joni Nelson for writing a range of queer characters who are diverse in their queerness – Nelson herself noted in an interview recently that the character’s sexualities acted as part of their performance, not their storylines. The Jacinda plot – whilst incredibly far fetched – is employed only in essence to create heightened tension amongst the group, which builds into the chaos and dysfunction played out on stage.
The eight demands – as named in the title – create an interesting commentary on each individual used to highlight the significant issues facing youth in New Zealand. In particular, the lack of mental health support for transgender individuals and the current need for a surgeon who can perform gender reassignment surgery in New Zealand. Performances by Daedae Tekoronga-Waka and Sherry Zhang are ensemble standouts, however all the cast are excellent in their own right. Ultimately, the group of leftie, liberal queer individuals are all just looking to try make the world a better place – even if they can’t quite agree on how.
9/10: So much for the tolerant left