Review: Cal Wilson

Cal Wilson. Pic: Comp
Cal Wilson. Pic: Comp
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AT 43, New Zealander Cal Wilson woke up and found herself wearing a photocopy of her mum’s face.

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GILDED BALLOON, BRISTO SQUARE

How did her outsides get to middle age, when her insides stayed childish, despite having a child of her own?

What would her 16-year-old self say if she could see what she’ll become?

Wonder no further, for Wilson re-enacts that confrontation and many others as she ponders the roads not taken.

With the arrival of Fairy Robot Sparkle, Adele the poet (and cat fancier), Calibran Nosliw the erotic science fiction author and Mrs Newheart, the drunken widow, the show moves from sturdy observational comedy to wickedly delineated character sketches, as she explores what might have happened had she evolved differently or stuck to her own earlier incarnations.

Wilson is an accomplished actress and clown. She spends time with each of her possible selves, then deftly spins into scenarios where they meet, fall in love, and get on with the messy business of living.

She does this while manipulating increasingly ludicrous props that obey hekov’s first rule about guns on walls.

Nothing on this stage is there purely for decoration and her gimmicks were goofy enough to earn applause, prompting her to yell at us for clapping for “shit singing and moustaches on sticks.”

Wilson’s use of language – especially when mocking science fiction or cracking cat jokes – is masterful. She takes well worn tropes, such as the children’s entertainer who’s more drill sergeant than clown, the dipsomaniacal window, and the Lord Flashheart-style author, and ratchets up the ridiculous until her audience dissolves in helpless puddles formed from their tears of mirth.

Until Sunday