The Menagerie: An Olive Story

Never have we been more emotionally invested in an olive

This is the story of an olive; an olive that enthralled an entire audience and stole their hearts. The Menagerie took to The Opera House for a second year of dazzling audiences with incomparable antics, blending together an incredible assortment of performers, singers, dancers, jugglers, and entertainers of all kinds it showed the amazing potential of variety shows.

Never before had I witnessed the variety arts on such a fittingly magnificent scale. All around the country we do all that we can to transform small stages tucked away in bars into a semblance of the majesty a full stage theatre provides. It was an absolute delight to see these performers on the kind of stage they (and many others) deserve to showcase their skills.  Though what a sight it would be to try and fit the Bandolier Masters or Wellington Batucada on the Fringe Bar stage.

There was so much incredible entertainment to be had, from bawdy songs and sparkling show girls to circus masters, slam poets, and creatures from other worlds. There is no way I could capture the amazing talents of all the performers in just a mere few hundred words and each one must truly be seen to be fully appreciated. There were though a few personal highlights that can’t go without being mentioned.

The remarkable creature that is Jackson Cordery. Such phenomenal costuming deserves its special mention combined so artfully with contorted forms one could scarcely believe that it could hold a human within.  The grace of Victor Victorious as he took to the air was a thing of beauty and a story in motion from start to finish. While Les Folies de L’amour were a true show-stopper; such group work is definitely uncommon in the variety arts and they may be the finest example of it in the nation and certainly the finest can-can.

Most impressive though was the polish that all the performers had. It was clear each one that graced the stage with their talents had poured their time, and heart, into their piece. Whether holding on to the audience with every word or creating the amazement through music or movement each act was one you couldn’t take your eyes off. If I could do so without boring you all I would recount every act and performer in detail but do yourselves the favour and make sure to see them in action some time because it is definitely best in person.

Rachel Rouge and The Menagerie are truly treasures of our capital city and treasures of variety arts nationwide. Such a huge amount of work goes in behind the scenes that it can never be fully explained but the results do speak for themselves. A tip of the showbiz top-hat to all those marvelous people hiding just out of the spotlight that made this 2018 Opera House production what it was.

But this is the story of an olive.

Through many fantastic feats and unique antics (have you ever played Heads or Tails with Finance Minister Grant Robertson? See don’t you wish that was a story you could tell) it was a little olive and Laser Kiwi that truly won the hearts of the audience. It may have been a long trip and several olives may have been harmed (eaten) in the making, but it was all worthwhile for the elation in the moment that olive found its martini precariously perched so high in the air.


The Menagerie at The Opera House 2018 Featuring:

Brought to you by Rachel Rouge and The Menagerie


About Vince Clark 57 Articles
One of the original founders of Altearoa in 2013. Coming from a background in theatre and the perfoming arts Vince is the jack-of-all-trades behind Altearoa.co.nz - creating graphics, developing the website, and producing events along side writing and photography work.

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