Edinburgh Fringe Festival preview: Nuclear Family - a New Zealand story   20 Jul 2011

Move to a new country; get a new job; start a new life. New Zealanders are not total strangers to these concepts. In 2004, roughly 11% of New Zealand born citizens were living outside of New Zealand (Statistics New Zealand).

New Zealand is also a destination. Koreans, Chinese, Indians, South Africans, Somalians and Polynesians have all made their way to Aotearoa in recent decades.

This cross-pollination is woven into the tale of a Kiwi offering at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

New Zealand actress Yael Gezentsvey has only recently moved to London - four months is still pretty much fresh off the plane. So it’s apt that her solo show, Nuclear Family, tells the story of a group of Venzuelan and Russian Jews who have recently arrived in the Shakey Isles.

Nuclear Family is set in 1986 on the day that Chernobyl became a household name. The comedic drama is based loosely on real events in the Gezentsvey family and there is a very real modern parallel with Japan’s recent nuclear disaster that makes it even more fascinating.

The play could use a cast of twelve but instead Yael prefers to extend her acting chops by taking on all the characters herself. She explains that it’s all about maintaining the lines of sight. “Get them wrong”, she says, “and it’s just one person alone on a stage”. It would not have hurt that she grew up in a polyglot family with accents being reshaped as needed.

The script was written by New Zealand playwright (and mother to Yael) Desiree Gezentsvey and the play premiered in the Adelaide Fringe Festival earlier this year.

While Edinburgh is the UK premiere for this New Zealand work, Londoners can get a preview of the play at The Lord Stanley on Camden Park Rd this weekend as part of the London Solo Theatre Festival. At £10 per ticket, this show is a bargain.

  • What: Nuclear Family
  • Who: Yael Gezentsvey
  • Where: The London Solo Theatre Festival at The Lord Stanley, 51 Camden Park Rd.
  • When: 7pm July 24-26, 2011.

For more visit the Nuclear Family website

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