Review: Excellent Capping Show not for faint-hearted

The 2009 Capping Show has had a lot to live up to, not only because of its legacy (this will be its 116th year) - but also with a growing number of audience members over recent years remarking on the increase in smut at the expense of creative wit.

This year, word of mouth around campus has been nothing but positive - with good reason.

This year's show is excellent.

In typical Capping Show fashion, the plot is juxtaposed with loosely related skits, video clips, the sextets (the female one known as the ‘sexytet') and, of course, the Selwyn Ballet.

The Capping Show contained a balance of cleverly construed acting, choreography and portrayal of public figures and organisations, each with Stoppard-esque wordplay.

The central theme this year involves the (fictional) newest area of study at the University, department of Parapsychology (and Tourism).

This department focuses on the paranormal activity around the campus and greater Dunedin area.

One sign of this activity is the ‘paranormal success of the ODT'.

This field of knowledge emanates from the constant berating the University receives from its more unmotivated students (which, according to a mockumentary in the show, is the majority).

These students' incentive for being at university is to relax and drink Speight's -a key sponsor of the show.

This department allows them to achieve a relaxed attitude to academia through its dubious learning objectives.

The slightly weak plot was the only aspect of the show holding it back, but this was made less noticeable with the constant peppering of digressive skits and songs (most notably the sextets) with various clever, and usually offensive, references to popular culture.

No one was spared from this brutal but accurate description of aspects of modern life.

The ODT was not the only media product to gain a mention, University magazine the Critic and various broadcasting shows were also targets.

Austrian paedophile Josef Fritzl surfaced on multiple occasions, in the form of songs, cameos and a whole sketch based on him.

Only David Bain appeared more often, no less than six times.

Also in the firing line was almost every aspect of University life - most predominately the Christian group ‘Student Life'.

The actors even had a go at themselves, deliberately drawing attention to their weaker skits.

The Capping Show is an accomplished comedy, while retaining the risqué factor the show is famous for.

This production is not for the faint-hearted, or overly sensitive.

It is more than likely that something you hold dear will come under critique and ridicule.

• The show runs from May 13-23, excluding May 17, at the College of Education auditorium.


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