Review: The Wet Hot Beauties

Photo by Elton McAleer

Photo by Elton McAleer

When my friend Catherine told me she was going to be part of the ‘Wet Hot Beauties’ I did my best not to look concerned. She went on to explain that in fact the Wet Hot Beauties are a water ballet (think synchronized swimming or an old-school Esther Williams movie) performance group.  Kick arse women from all walks of life doing choreography in the water!  Interesting - I headed online to check it out!

The website describes it as:

“Luscious leggy ladies in white cloche swimming caps and blood-red smiles, the WHBs are inspired by the charming and spectacular aquacades of early cinema’s delightful 1930s and 1940s era, and the kaleidoscopic designs of Hollywood movie director and water musical choreographer, Busby Berkeley.

The Wet Hot Beauties community gathers afresh each Auckland summer to learn a new skill and to create a quirky new art form – the contemporary water ballet. It’s physical, it’s challenging. It’s theatrical, it’s unique.  It’s glamorous and classy – but most of all – it’s fun and it’s cool.”


Well that sounded amazing to me - how could I not go along?

My husband and I headed off to the iconic Parnell Baths in Auckland, not 100% sure what to expect, but looking forward to the ride.

Photo by Elton McAleer

Photo by Elton McAleer

On the way in we were greeted by numerous enthusiastic ladies wearing pink bow ties (yes I was jealous and wanted one) ushering us to the entrance. On arrival I immediately saw the huge ‘TRILOGY’ Marquee lighting and we were invited to head over to spin the Trilogy wheel to win a skincare prize. Trilogy were the major sponsor of the event and every audience member received a very generous Trilogy gift bag of beautiful skincare. Let me take this opportunity to rave about their Rosapene Night Cream which I have been using ever since!

As night fell, we were ushered in groups to our seats by the Wet Hot Beauties, each in their swimwear. Many of the beauties were lounging around the pool already in character and ready to perform. You could feel the buzz from the audience – a mix of expectant first-timers and long term supporters all revved up and ready to cheer for the art form (and women) they loved so much.

Photo by Elton McAleer

Photo by Elton McAleer

After a short delay to build anticipation, the beauties entered the pool with an explosion of music and colour.

I had to wonder, how much choreography can you actually pull off in a swimming pool? The answer is a lot more than I thought! The Beauties danced in groups, in pairs, swam in formation and created tableaus all which told a different story with each track. The music was incredible, thumping pop hits by Divas we all know and love, each story reflected in the choreography.  At one point the beauties were wearing pink rubber gloves and scrubbing a dish in the water looking every part the disgruntled housewives as Beyonce's 'Hold On' punctuated their every move.  

What really made it for me, was the dedication to the performance by every single woman in the pool. Their faces were so earnest and their enthusiasm never flagged. I was exhausted half an hour in, I couldn’t believe they were still moving so well in the water! And these are not trained athletes - we are talking about 85 women (and one man) of all ages, all sizes and shapes. Some of these women are new mothers, some are grandmothers and all are fabulous.

I found ‘Sea Change’ to be an empowering celebration of women of all walks of life and I LOVED it. I’m calling it, ‘Sea Change’ will be my favourite event of the year – and it’s only March!




The tickets for this event were kindly gifted to me for editorial consideration. As always, all opinions are my own.