Aug 1-27 (21:15)
The Summerhall was formerly a veterinarian college, & I’ve always found it pretty cool how their old lecture rooms are converted into performance spaces during the Fringe. Thus, when I found myself immersed in the curious comblending of kick-ass music & genetic science that is Valerie by New Zealand company, The Last Tapes, it was a perfectly serendipitous occasion. We are presented with a trio of enigmatic performers, whose ethereal stage presence beam’d into the room as if they were General Zod, Ursa & Non from Superman II. The soundscape is provided by Robin Kelly on cunningly-played keyboards, Tom Broome on splatterdash drums – a song called White Knuckle Trees was especially lucid – & the incomparable vocal talents of Cherie Moore up front. ‘Lovely as the wail of a Dingo‘ are her opening lines, & there is indeed something primal in her voice.
Between songs, we have musically silent narrations from Kelly & Patti Smith style recitations from Moore over avant garde jamming from the boys. The chief ribbon of the piece is Kelly’s exploration of the mental health of his family tree, revealed to us at one point on the naked back of Moore, whose own place in the scheme as Kelly’s partner was pointed out by her with some delight.
We’ve been in a relationship for nearly 10 years, so I’d say our working relationship is beautiful, and complex, and has a depth of understanding and empathy that can only come with that much shared experience
Read the full interview
The ultimate pondering convoked by Valerie is the question of nature-nurture; its connection to our mental health & familial inheritance – does nature really load the gun & nature pull the trigger? As an audience member I often found myself lost in moments of most thoughtful awakenings – this show attracts & fulfills the mind, & also makes one’s feet beat to the tune.
Photography: Andi Crown