I was in the office yesterday and mentioned to some of the staff that I was off to Death by Cheerleader this evening. I got a variety of puzzled looks until I explained it was a play at Bats Theatre.
The play was hilarious. It would be near impossible not to enjoy it. It’s rated R16, and certainly not one to take the kids to.
Let’s start with the three “Cheer Blacks”. Lucy (left) played by Claire van Beek is the first Cheer Black you meet. From the beginning she doesn’t seem quite right, and why does she have an ankle bracelet? You learn that when she develops a crush, boy does she develop a crush. In fact one could label her love as being of the psychotic variety.
van Beek is marvellous playing Lucy. She has perfected the art of the naughty satisfied grin as she is doing something inappropriate. She really brings her character to life.
Lucy is recruited by Jessica (not Jess) to join the Cheer Blacks. Jessica is 40 going on 28. She refuses to accept her age, despite having a teenage daughter. Her life ambition is to bed All Black hero Tane, and her route to achieve this is to have the Cheer Blacks attend the Rugby World Cup in Dubai in 2015. Amy Waller plays Jessica (and is also the playwright) and will let nothing stand in her way.
The third member of the trio is Dakota played by Julia Hyde. Dakota is the relatively normal, or even sane, one. Her burden in life is being Jessica’s daughter.
I read in the notes for the show that the original intention was to have it portray cheerleaders as noble beings, but in the end they found it too hard so went for funny, bitchy and dark. I’m glad they did, because the combination works.
My favourite line of dialogue was
He was hurting you
No he wasn’t
He was hurting you with his penis!
As we all the acting, the Cheer Blacks also well, cheer. They perform a number of funny, energetic routines to great applause from the audience.
This play is more than just a series of laughs though. Yes the dialogue is hilarious, but the acting, the choreography, the subtle and not so subtle hints all combine brilliantly.
Death by Cheerleader is on until Saturday 24 September only. If you have a spare hour between now and then, go along – it’s a load of laughs, and very decently priced (even if you don’t get review tickets).