Where: St Christopher's Church, 22 Forres Street, Seatoun, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • General Admission: $22.50
  • Concession/Student: $12.50
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Listed by: glennchurchmouse

A Portrait of Passion.

Shakespeare's sonnets are the most famous and admired love poems - queer or other - in the English language. Dedicated to the mysterious Mr W.H. who "steals men's eyes and women's souls amazeth", the first 126 passionately and timelessly express the heartfelt love and connection of one man to another.

Taking a cue from Oscar Wilde, ex-pat Kiwi, Glenn McKenzie explores the possible identity of this intriguing "Master Mistress of a poet's passion", when he presents an evocative 70 minute romp through English music and theatre's most boisterous and daring days in his solo chamber work Evensong at the 2018 NZ Fringe Festival.

Painting a playful fictional portrait of Mr W.H. Evensong takes a selection of Shakespeare's most revealing scenes and sonnets, and frames them with fresh and contemporary interpretations of John Dowland's finest songs and Henry Purcell's celebrated arias.

At the end of his life, lamenting the tyranny of Time, celebrating the persistence of Love, Mr W.H. flamboyantly recalls the roles he played as boy and man; the songs that he sang on stage and at court; the sonnets that Will wrote for him in celebration of their relationship.

Created for the 2015 Sydney Mardi Gras Festival, when McKenzie was living rough on the streets, Evensong combines his experience on the cusp of society with a kaleidoscope of brilliant fragments from 17th century depictions of love, loss, and lunacy. However, the work is not all darkness and despondency, and far from didactic.

“It’s an entertainment." McKenzie says, "I get to sing and dance (though twerking is limited to an officially designated mad-scene) and, best of all, get to portray more than a dozen of Shakespeare’s most famous male and female characters in unique and playful combination.”

McKenzie is an accomplished Counter-tenor, and has been a Lay-Vicar Choral and classical soloist in England and Australia. In Evensong McKenzie takes the music of Dowland and Purcell, and creates new versions using Urban, Punk, Jazz, and EDM grooves.

“Their songs were the pop hits of their day. I thought it would be fun to bring a fresh experience of them to modern listeners, by translating them into the contemporary sonic world. Though I couldn't resist singing Purcell’s ground-bass masterpieces “Dido’s Lament” and “Evening Prayer” in their exquisite original forms."

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