25 November 2013

A Christmas Carol: A Christmas tradition

This week on drama on the waterfront, a short note from Ray Henwood, who is soon to star in the return season of A Christmas Carol, about what Christmas means to him.

Photo by Paul McLaughlin.
"Christmas is different for everybody. But all seem to have traditions when families strive to get together for a few days - sometimes the only few days - every year. For me, A Christmas Carol evokes memories of a winter Christmas when the pudding comes out of the copper in the washhouse and much colour and merriment is had. I was pleased when after our first season last year, audience members said things like 'I felt like Christmas!' and I knew that Dickens' story still works and still tugs at the heart strings."
Ray Henwood

A Christmas Carol opens in Circa Two on Saturday, 30 November with a $25 Preview on Friday, 29 November and a $25 matinee on Sunday, 1 December. to book, call the Circa Box Office on 801-7992 or www.circa.co.nz.

11 November 2013

Meet the Cast of Mother Goose!

Meet the talented cast of Mother Goose - The Pantomime!

Gavin Rutherford  (Mother Goose)
(Aladdin - The Pantomime, The Price)
“I'm looking forward to this fantastic summer of pantomime. This year's cast is fantastic and with a fresh look at the writing and music, I'm sure there will a fabulous time had by all in Nurseryville! I'm looking forward to trying to keep up with the talented young newcomers - Kathleen Burns, Simon Leary and Richard Osborne. They bring a wild array of amazing humour, improvisation, singing and creativity to our panto world. Grab a Christmas group and I'll meet you down at the chicken farm!!”

Lyndee-Jane Rutherford (Lucy the Goose)
(Cinderella – The Pantomime, Grumpy Old Women (tour))
“It's wonderful to be playing Lucy Goose. I'm having fun in the rehearsal room doing my best panto comedy goose interpretations. It's been lovely to experience the laughter in the rehearsal room as I run around honking and goosing."

Kathleen Burns (Jill)
(Grease (Court), Avenue Q (Fortune) )
"The rehearsal room is delightful madness... A promise of magical show ripens... This is a pantomime for all who want a good giggle this summer so don't miss out! Book now, I'll see you at the bar after."  

Jude Gibson (Marjory Daw / Count)
(Red Riding Hood – The Pantomime, The Price )
“This truly is a pantomime for everyone - no matter what your age, your gender, your persuasion - there's something for EVERYONE!!!  Come and join in the antics, the fun, the laughter, the adventure, and the love!!!!  A great cast brings a brand new panto from the pen of Michele Amas to the Circa stage for the first time!  Come and be a part of panto history in the making!”

Simon Leary (Simon)
(Mates and Lovers (Downstage), Chekhov in Hell)
“With original music, a witty contemporary script and a talented cast of actors, Mother Goose is gonna be a dream summer job for me, and a great night out for audiences.”

Richard Osborne (Jack)
(Public Service Announcement (Bats), Mancub (Basement Ak))
“Growing up in England, a visit to the Pantomime was as much a part of Christmas as decorating the Christmas tree or building a snowman. The thrill of venturing out on a  blustery winters day to witness the spectacle of the Panto has never left me; now it's my honour to share the magic, awe and wonder I felt as a child with a cool Kiwi crowd in the capital.”

John Wraight (Squire Diddly Squat / Henchman)
(Cinderella – The Pantomime, Robin Hood - The Pantomime)
It is so cool to be in yet another panto at Circa. The tradition keeps growing wonderfully with each show.  Mother Goose is shaping up beautifully with some great characters and lovely vibrant music. I always feel like it's the fun end of the year when the pantomime comes around. Bring it on!?”

Michelle Scullion (Musical Director & musician)
"Back in the 70s I was in my first Pantomime - Pinocchio - back then I played The Cricket, Frog, Bird, Tight-rope Walker, and The Fairy. In Mother Goose I play the keyboard, Cabassa, Alto Flute, Computer, Tambourine and a whole range of other "Hitty" things. For me, Pantomime is LOFFASOTS - Loads of Fun From All Sides of The Stage!!!!!  Great team, fantastic production - heaps of laughs - what else is a Pantomime mean to be?”

Mother Goose opens on 16 November and runs until 22 December, reopening for a short post-holiday season 2-11 January. There will be $25 tickets specials on Friday, 15 November and Sunday, 17 November. An audio described performance will take place on Sunday, 15 December. To book, visit www.circa.co.nz or call the Circa Box Office on 801-7992.

04 November 2013

CON: “more twists than a JAFA sex scandal.”

CON producer Howard Taylor talks to drama on the waterfront about being conned and "spoilers".

"When I first read Gavin McGibbon’s script for CON I was impressed with how smart and clever it is. Of course it immediately had me remembering the times I have felt conned. Most of those times seem to have happened when I was overseas playing tourist – a time when you are out of your comfort zone and so a little insecure, and as a result, a little paranoid.

The elderly gypsy woman at the gates of the Alhambra thrust a sprig of fresh rosemary into my hand. (Trick one: lower the mark’s resistance by giving rather than taking.) Having gained my attention she then insisted on telling me my fortune – I would have several more beautiful children (despite my vasectomy) and, of course, live to a ripe old age. Finally she demanded to be paid for the ‘service’.

Howard Taylor.
Then there was the tuk-tuk driver in Bankok who promised to take us straight to the Royal Palace – once he had refuelled. While he was doing that he would just deposit us at his uncle’s carpet/jewellery/souvenir emporium which was around the corner from the petrol station. We refused his offer and walked away to find another tuk-tuk. Suddenly he didn’t need to refuel and, grumbling and muttering, drove us to the Palace. However we pulled up at a small gate in the Palace wall where a crowd of tuk-tuk drivers hovered. Unfortunately, we were told, the palace doesn’t open till after lunch so would we like a very cheap sightseeing trip to…. No we wouldn’t thank you. And the main gate is just around the corner and yes, the palace IS open for tours.

Mike Minogue and Jason Whyte in CON. Photo by Stephen A'Court.
Understanding that these people are just trying to make a living doesn’t lesson the anger. It is easy to become suspicious of everyone, but of course, most people are genuinely nice, helpful and trustworthy – like you and me.

Which brings me back to CON. Gavin’s characters are all living by their own moral codes. They each have their own reasons for acting the way they do. Is there really honour among thieves? Gavin asks us who do we trust? What makes us trust? Are we all actors using smoke and mirrors to persuade the world we are other than we really are?

Trust is essential to love. What happens when messy love thrusts itself into this tightly CONtrolled scene?

Acushla-Tara Sutton and Mike Minogue in CON. Photo by Stephen A'Court.

CON is getting great word-of-mouth from pleased punters. One of the frustrations for writers and directors is avoiding spoilers that give the game away for audiences before they see the show. Admittedly, this can make a critic’s job more difficult but one of the skills of critics is giving the flavour of the production without giving away the surprises. We have been pleased by the lack of spoilers for a show that, more than most, is dependent on the surprising, sometimes gob-smacking plot twists and ‘how did they do that?’ magic. As Jarod, Word on the Street reviewer, said: CON “will leave you gasping!” And playwright Dave Armstrong said on Opening Night, CON has “more twists than a JAFA sex scandal.” So tell your friends to go, but DON’T GIVE AWAY THE PLOT."

- Howard Taylor
CON Producer

Paul McLaughlin and Mike Minogue in CON. Photo by Stephen A'Court.
CON is on in Circa Two until 23 November. To book, visit www.circa.co.nz or call the Circa Box Office on 801-7992.