On Tuesday night I went to Downstage to view Richard Meros salutes the Southern Man. My review of the previous Meros play on his desire to become Helen Clark’s young lover is here.
You get greeted at the door by Richard Meros (played by the talented Arthur Meek), and once you are all settled in, Meros begins his one hour presentation on how the Southern Man is the salvation for the NZ economy.
He starts by ascertaining the intellectual level of the audience and asks everyone with a Bachelor’s degree to stick their hand up. Only in Wellington could well over half the hands be up, and then you’re asked to keep them up if you have Honours, a Masters and finally a Doctorate. Again I suspect only in Wellington would you still have over half a dozen hands still up.
Those of us without degrees (such as me) were asked to translate the down to earth language for the intellectual elite
The powerpoint presentation that is at the heart of the show has been masterfully put together. There is some nice choreography as Meros ducks behind the screen so he is in silhouette, and he ducks under and around various images as they fly in.
Meek is an adept performer and a boisterousness audience shouted out occasionally, and he worked that all into the performance.
The central premise of the show is that the New Zealand economy is facing disaster. and the answer to our problems lies with the mythical Southern Man who is compared to actual mythical heroes such as Hercules.
The show is funny and engaging, albeit not as side split-tingly funny as the Helen Clark production was. It’s an amusing journey through many New Zealand stereotypes and even sacred cows, with a tinge of politics weaved through it.
The script is put together by playwright Meros himself, director Geoff Pinfield and Meek. In a q+a after the show (Meros appearing in silhouette to protect his actual identity – which worked well until Pinfield called him by his actual first name!) they spoke about how they put the show together, and what it means for the liberal Clark loving Meros to now be idolising the Southern Man.
A lively quick show, which was a lot of fun. It’s on until Saturday night.