Broadcast yesterday on Radio New Zealand National's "The Arts On Sunday".
Singer/songwriter Tim Finn and playwright Ken Duncum gather their family histories to create a show about what it means to be a kiwi. (13′44")
Thank you Jaffaman! Love when you pay attention for us
Bats is a small theatre for Wellington (so TINY from any international perspective). I think full capacity is 90 or less. Last night the Finn clan (sans Neil) were there for the final night. It almost felt like a private showing for the family. It was incredibly touching to see Tim there with wife, sisters and especially his Dad (and some of the wider family I presume as well).
The show is an interesting concept - songs (performed by a 5 piece band) and prose (delivered by an actor and actress) that examines NZ identity. Tim must be very proud of what he and Ken Duncum have achieved.
The prose was made up of glimpses into characters from the Finn and Duncum familytree with the actors becoming those people and speaking their words.
The last insight was through the eyes of Mary Finn reflecting on her life. It was beautifully written. I felt they were Mary Finn's own words written at the time she was diagnosed with cancer. It was incredibly heartfelt and personal. She reflected back on her life as channelled through the actress. The performance seemed a great tribute to a wonderful lady. It was all so poignant and moving, and made so much more so by having her family there.
The music worked incredibly well with the prose and the concept. White Cloud, Black Shadow was a recurring song. It came across far more powerfully than the version on Tim's rarity CD. The percussion on it was superb.. I also noticed a bit of "Remember When" in one of the instrumentals. The songs were all strong and fantastic in the context of what they were conveying
The mix of Ben King and Lisa Crawly on lead vocals worked well. It was eerie just how much Ben King sounded like Tim. At the end, the Finn family rose to give the performers a standing ovation, clearly moved by the performance and the performers appeared chuffed to be performing for them.
It was fantastically kiwi low key evening with Tim and family waiting for the doors to open and sharing the bar with the rest of the patrons before the show. At the end of the performance, Tim and family headed to the bar for what would have been a very special family evening.
Artistically it is great to see Tim on such a high. I have always thought Tim works best when he has a strong muse and a complimentary collaborator. Family is clearly providing Tim with plenty of inspiration. I also think that Brett Adams has been a great collaborator for Tim over the past few years. His performance on guitars was outstanding again last night.
I would like to see White Cloud reach more audiences. I could see it being ideal at the NZ Festival of the Arts. It would also be brilliant to have it released on CD (with the prose included, rather than just the music). At 70 min long, it is the perfect length for a CD! But last night it was just very special to see Tim being able to have his family with him to watch his tribute to his family and heritage.