Journeying through some of New Zealand’s smaller towns is always weird and wonderful. There’s often such an eclectic group of people who are so different but somehow all familiar. Basement Theatre’s current offering, Looking at Stuff in Clouds, is kind of like an hour long jam packed visit to one of these towns.
Featuring a series of short exchanges rather than a coherent plot, Looking at Stuff in Clouds centres on the dynamics between multiple comedic pairings. Actors/writers Donna Brookbanks and Shoshana McCallum play impressionable kids, snobby city goers, housewives, gym junkies and more. Each scene is under 10 minutes, allowing the actors to showcase their abilities as they swiftly chop and change personas. Both actors seem to take some time to warm up to these many character changes, with a few dropped lines between them.
Looking at Stuff in Clouds premiered a few years ago with generally positive reviews but also a note that the stories could be better linked. The 2017 edition of the show seems to have taken on board on this feedback, and each scene contains a reference (usually through the name of another character) which lets you know that they are all set in the same town. I generally quite enjoyed this adjustment, as it feels good to be able to link the characters together. Unfortunately, trouble with lines meant that a few of the characters names were mixed up or stumbled over, making this component of the play at times confusing.
All in all, I enjoyed Looking at Stuff in Clouds because of its familiarity. The supremely lovely but slightly sad elderly couple out for dinner was the spitting image of my grandparents, and the two school girls munching Bluebird chips and discussing ball dresses was me every morning tea in Year 12. Looking at Stuff in Clouds isn’t a crazy dramatic or intellectual play, but it’s an entertaining time that doesn’t demand a lot of its audience.
If you’re in the mood for some light but satisfying comedic titbits, then this is the play for you.
Looking at Stuff in Clouds runs until Saturday 5th August. Tickets are available here.