Truly Outrageous

Outrageous Fortune – The Exhibition

Auckland Museum

For Valentine’s Day, the hubby surprised me with a trip to see the Outrageous Fortune Exhibition at the Auckland Museum. I’d have at least put on a black t-shirt, had I known where we were going, as we are Westies after all.

Armed with a ticket, 3-D Glasses,‘I AM WEST’ tattoos and an enthusiastic welcome by Museum Staff, we stepped into Outrageous Fortune – The Exhibition.

According to John Campbell, Outrageous Fortune is the most successful drama series in the history of New Zealand Television. This exhibition focuses on behind the scenes of the cult series; creation, script development, casting, props, make up, set, etc – and boy did I learn a lot.

The first part of the exhibition looks at the writers and creators (Rachel Lang and James Griffin), showcasing the initial pitch documents, concept ideas, and how they went about pulling together each episode. There vision was for the series to be “cheerfully trashy and larger than life”, “not Once Were Warriors goes white trash”.

Outrageous Fortune - West's House

Sitting at the West's Dining Room Table

I’m not sure if I was just not paying much attention over the years, but although I knew that the series was named after a Shakespearian quote, I’d neglected to register that so had each episode.

I also was unaware that the West Family was based on the Van der Velter family from the New Zealand TV series Mercy Peak. Antony Starr (Van/Jethro) actually played Todd Van der Velter in Mercy Peak.

I appreciated the extensive Family Tree Diagram, featuring all the cast and highlighting who was related to who and who ‘rooted’ who – what a tangled web we weave.

The next segment was ‘Make Up’, where you could see how Kasey applied hee westie eyeliner. It was then on to wardrobe and props (referred to as Evidence Locker). The Tool Guys van has been submitted into evidence, along with the huge wall mural ‘divine retribution’ painted by Sparky in season two.

Towards the end of the exhibition you can take a quiz to find out which character you most resemble (mainly based on moralist questions). It turns out that I am Cheryl. “forthright, loyal and passionate – with a strong sense of right and wrong … a great battler, and not at all afraid to meddle or get into a scrap … generous and out-going”. Pity I can’t  pull off wearing a pair of leopard print anything.

The piece de resistance is the re-creation of the West’s living room/kitchen. Auckland Museum had to freeze all the items for a certain time period before installation, to make sure it was safe to bring into the museum environment. On closer inspection, I’m sure we had the same carpet in our house growing up! 

The finale of the exhibition was a 3D film, directed by Loretta of course. Very funny, but it was a bit scary having Falani’s butt crack jump out of the screen towards you.

On a sombre note, it wasn’t until a couple of hours after we left the exhibition, that we discovered Frank Whitten (Grandpa Ted) had passed away. So it seemed a fitting tribute that we had chosen that particular weekend to visit.

Outrageous Fortune – we will miss you – “you in my brain, you in my heart”!

The exhibition runs until 1st May 2011, so don’t miss out.

Don’t Forget: Your camera. As you can see by my pic, I only had the phone with me.


About Celeste

Kiwi girl. Mum of twins. Passionate about New Zealand, wine, travel and social media. New to California. View all posts by Celeste

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