I've never thought very much about Kate Shepherd, except that I know she got women the vote in New Zealand (we were the first country in the world to do so) and that she's on the ten dollar note. Many would probably know about the same. However, if you go to see 'That Bloody Woman', on until Saturday 16th September you're guaranteed never to see her the same way ever again!
That Bloody Woman (by Luke Di Somma & Gregory Cooper, directed by Kip Chapman and starring Westside's Esther Stephens as Kate Sheppard) is a laugh-out-loud musical/rock-opera that blows you away, and will get you rocking the vote. Not only is it full of original songs that will get you laughing and chanting, but it is brimming with enthusiasm, talent and swag from a talented cast who wouldn't be amiss on the West-End. You'll find yourself punching the air and cheering along, whether you consider yourself a feminist or not!
Going in, I had no idea what to expect (and my boyfriend, Matt, even less). However, 30 seconds into the show, we knew we were in for the ride of our lives, guided by our Sheppherd, Kate. That Bloody Woman is part gig, part historical play, all rock-and-roll. The show covers from her upbringing in Scotland to the passing of the vote, and is full of love, strife and villainy, brilliantly illustrated by Richard 'Dick' Sneddon, PM of New Zealand at the time.
While the show has a cracking story-line, it is the rollicking music, epic costumes, incredible singing and tight dancing that brings it to truly life, making it stand out from all other New Zealand performances I've seen this year. That Bloody Woman is accessible, yet deals with historical subject-matter. Popular culture references, such as to Trainspotting, help the characters crackle and draw the audience deeply in. Kate also is a fabulous role model, who has sass abound, yet just enough gravitas to pull you back when things get giddy.
That Bloody Woman may be historical, but many of the issues it addresses, such as domestic violence, are contemporary. Phoebe Hurst as part of Kate's gang has a particularly heart wrenching solo where she sings about the truth of her outwardly perfect life. It is a healthy reminder that women were property in the late 1800's and that the freedoms we enjoy came at great personal cost for many.
The hour and a half flew by, and we were immediately laughing, cheering and booing. Indeed, while watching the show last night, I couldn't help but think that this was the closest I'd seen to a true West-End level musical as long as I could remember. The energy, the hilarious jokes and high energy made this a show I'd gladly watch all over again. Put me down for the CD!
SPECIAL OFFER - WELLINGTON
In recognition of the gender pay gap Tour-Makers are offering 9.4% cheaper tickets to That Bloody Woman in Wellington. Kate Sheppard didn't fight to win women the right to vote so that well over a hundred years later we'd still be fighting for equality.
Take 9.4% off the price of a ticket by using promo code: rockthevote. The offer is available to anyone and everyone who believes in equality.