BWW Review: MORNING STAR at Pumphouse Theatre Takapuna
Sapphire Productions World Premiere of Morningstar is something very very special indeed. I loved it.
Abstractedly alluring yet provocatively familiar, Morningstar transports us to a dimension where a mythological story confronts us with the very core of human nature.
This play is multi-layered with themes abound. Whatever you 'see' in this play, a wild ride is guaranteed.
Award-winning New Zealand playwright Albert Belz has masterfully crafted a prose that is a honey-rich lyrical symphony of language. He pens the essence of humanity; our conflict for order and freedom, for moral obedience and free will and packs it into a rollicking great yarn or as expressed in the opening scene, a merry dance of the navigation of life.
In the words of Director Romy Hooper, the text offers an intricate playground for actors. Hooper has most definitely honoured that text, finding the depth, subtlety and pace required to guide her superb cast. It is astonishing that this is her first time in the role of Director as this play was simply excellent. Romy has recently finished a four-month stint with Pop Up Globe and her classical stage acting experience is obvious in the delivery of this piece.
The success of this play lies in the precisely defined multi-layered personalities of everyone who inhabits the play's closed universe. And the cast deliver. They were sensational.
Belz has framed this story around 6 'Angels' and their reaction to their 'Master' leaving them to concentrate on the Garden of Eden and the creation of mankind. What happens when the leader is gone? Who takes over? Who should be followed?
Stephen Brunton plays Archangel Michael; a traditionalist who is defined by laws and the rules. Brunton's commanding presence, his voice; a rich timbre, pitch and pace draws the audience and engages so much so that many said afterwards that they wanted to stand up and clap at the end of the speech he delivers at the podium. He had us all.
In conflict with this character is Lucifer played by Blair Strang. Lucifer is free thinking and seeks change. He is drawn to free will and consequently attracted to finding his own power and has discovered the delights of the flesh. Strang delivers the disarming, virile charm of his character, sharing only glimpses of his contempt and calculation.
Bronwyn Turei's Archangel Gabriel is exquisite as she goes through a metamorphosis after finding herself attracted to Lucifer's way of loving. She's subtle, enveloped in a representation of human nature and our struggle to conform or follow our desires.
Jophiel played by Jacqui Nauman is immediately attracted to the fulfilment of personal desires. She's sassy and sexy and literally willing to fight for what she wants.
Richie Grzyb as Archangel Raphael is a fabulous contrast with his naive curiosity and comic responses. His timing is impeccable and gives us the audience the laughs in the right places.
Archangel Uriel played by Marwin Silerio is required to portray the courage of his convictions through physical strength as he goes in to literally battle for his beliefs.
The supporting cast play their parts perfectly.
The costumes are superb and the use of capes and play on the word 'steel' (Man of Steel) is just one of the plethora of clever connections.
The set, technical effects, costumes and wardrobe all interconnect beautifully with the story.
There is just so much in this production. The more I write, the more I think about it.
Sapphire Productions is making a strong positive contribution to strengthening our national identity on the worldwide stage.
Pumphouse Theatre Takapuna