15 December 2014

Happy Holidays from Circa Theatre!

Photo from Red Riding Hood. Photo by Stephen A'Court.
Circa Theatre would like to wish a very Happy Holidays and all the best in the New Year to all of our patrons, sponsors, artists, donors and stakeholders who have supported us throughout the year!

Red Riding Hood and Dead Tragic run until 21 December - performances are selling out, so get in quick if you'd like to see them! www.circa.co.nz

The Circa Box Office will be open limited hours between 22-24 December so you can get gift vouchers and Circa Six Packs for the theatre enthusiasts on your list! To get in touch with the Box Office, please call 801-7992 or email circa@circa.co.nz.

We will close at noon on 24 December, and re-open at 10am on 2 January, with the post-Christmas season of the pantomime 2-10 January, 6.30pm Tuesday - Saturday, 4pm Sunday. Book now on http://www.circa.co.nz/site/Shows/Red-Riding-Hood-%E2%80%93-The-Pantomime

Photo from Dead Tragic. Photo by Jasmyne Chung. 
Next post on drama on the waterfront: 5 January 2015

08 December 2014

Circa 2015 Season - jam-packed with theatre for all audiences!

Red Riding Hood, the Pantomime
By Roger Hall
Songs by Paul Jenden and Michael Nicholas Williams
Directed by Susan Wilson
2-10 January
Circa One

What a big smile you’ll have …
Don’t miss Circa’s fabulous Christmas panto! And this year Red Riding Hood is back with one of the great traditional stories – innocent Red Riding Hood, her poor, short sighted grandmother, and of course the handsome woodcutter and that villain of all villains, the Wolf!
There’s lots of laughter, hilarious jokes and musical goodies in Red’s basket as she sets off on her journey to entertain young and old with this marvellous magical treat.
“A great way to introduce kids to the magic of theatre, and Red Riding Hood is easily the ideal Christmas outing for the holdiays … a treat” – Salient
“Roger Hall’s helter-skelter Red Riding Hood … is wonderfully exuberant seasonal fun” – The Dominion Post

The Kitchen at the End of the World
By William Connor
Directed by Steffen Kreft
16-25 January
Circa Two

“Something is coming. I don’t know what it is. And I don’t know if I should fight it or welcome it.”

One snowy evening, an empty 83-room hotel on the edge of the Vastness receives a thin guest who has walked all the way from the City. Penniless, he is smuggled into the hotel kitchen where a kind cook works near an extraordinary thyme plant. He says that creativity is dying.

Described as “intensely beautiful”, “provocative and moving”, The Kitchen at the End of the World is the story of marionettes who know they are limited by the extent of their strings – even kissing can tangle them – but they crave what lies beyond their reach. A story about home, the unknown, and the courage to face everything in between.

The show captivated audiences at its sell-out debut season during the Greytown Festival 2012and is a powerful reminder that puppetry is not just a children's art form.

By Elisabeth Easther
Directed by Kerryn Palmer
17 January – 14 February
Circa One

IVF isn’t foolproof and IUDs aren’t failsafe. iPhones come with ovulation apps and ‘choosing from the menu’ means selecting your sperm. Seed follows four women as they try to get pregnant, stay pregnant or become un-pregnant - the dilemmas of modern reproduction.
Elisabeth Easther’s Seed is winner of the 2014 Adam New Zealand Play Award, which recognises and celebrates the best in new writing for the theatre. It’s a multi-narrative play about the mysterious business of fertility, with all of its challenges, heartaches and hormones.

Seed is a drama that’ll have you laughing ‘til the tears are running down your face, and it’s a comedy that’ll make you cry.

“Highly entertaining, funny and sophisticated” - Adam Play Award Judges

“[A] sophisticated, witty and very contemporary meditation on the timeless processes of procreation.” - NZ Herald

STARRING: Tess Jamieson-Karaha, Jamie McCaskill, Emily Regtien, Holly Shanahan and Amy Tarleton

Warning: Adult themes and strong language.

Demolition of the Century
Based on the novel by Duncan Sarkies
Created by Duncan Sarkies and Sean O’Brien
31 January – 21 February
Circa Two

Welcome to the world of Tom Spotswood, an insurance investigator who has lost his socks, his suitcase, his ex-wife and his son, Frank.
Fresh from performances in the New Zealand Festival, Auckland Writers Festival, Tauranga Arts Festival and Nelson Arts Festival, Demolition of the Century sees author/performer Duncan Sarkies (Two Little Boys/Scarfies/Flight of the Conchords) stage a humorous and sometimes heartbreaking look at families, memories and the fragility of the human mind. He is accompanied by musician Joe Blossom, who plays a soundtrack that is both haunting and invigorating.

“A series of brilliant vignettes, delivered in an inspired cabaret-style reading by the multi-talented Sarkies, and outstanding musician Joe Blossom… Blossom not only creates fluid and essential musical transitions, but his beautiful vocals, self-accompanied on piano and guitar, imbue this work with a powerful pathos that allow glimpses of the inner landscape of these characters. Demolition is a fast-paced, darkly captivating cabaret-comedy, which leaves us fully entertained and tantalizingly close to solving a puzzle.” –Bay of Plenty Times

Wake Up Tomorrow
Presented by Everybody Cool Lives Here
In association with Active
Directed by Isobel MacKinnon
21-28 February
Circa One

Welcome aboard Active Airlines!

Join the eccentric passengers during this compelling, surreal and funny flight.

Made under the guidance of Wellington theatre makers in collaboration with Active, a service for youth with an intellectual impairment, Wake Up Tomorrow was created from the minds of these incredible young people.

Audiences will be transported from the mundane moments on a long haul flight to bizarre and hilarious scenarios. 

Please fasten your seat belts, make sure you are in the upright position and enjoy the journey. We may or may not arrive at the expected destination.

“In a work of this kind there is always a delicate balance to be held between presenting a polished product at the same time as allowing for a playful improvised quality to emerge that allows the actors to perform to their strengths. This was very evident in the final few scenes …” – Madeline McNamara

Yep, Still Got It!
By Jane Keller and Sandy Brewer
Directed by Alan Palmer
Musical Director Michael Nicholas Williams
28 February – 21 March
Circa Two


Following the huge success of BOOMERS BEHAVING BADLY, Jane Keller returns with another hilarious show.

A little older, a little wiser, a lot sassier, and even more confused.

Whatever happened to the days when a cloud was a cloud, when face time was over a G&T, and we punctuated our sentences with full stops - not smiley faces?

From senior sex and those pesky STDs to shopping sprees and colonoscopies, Jane shares stories of abject embarrassment, medical (mis)adventures, empowerment, and acceptance.

In YEP, STILL GOT IT!  she embraces the power of an older woman with no FOMO.

Together with the brilliant Michael Nicholas Williams on the piano Jane brings a brand-new show to Circa Two combining her special style of storytelling with her virtuoso Broadway voice.

Capital E National Arts Festival
Circa One

By Kallo Collective
Directed by Thomas Monckton
Produced by Show Pony
7 March 10 am & 11.30am

A tale of two puppeteers’ failed attempts at beautification.

In the magical world of flitting butterflies, jumping eggs and giant swaying flowers, two lycra-clad puppeteers try their hardest to remain unseen and at service to their puppets: two enormous plump caterpillars.

Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, with nothing but their wits to cover up their escalating blunders, two appealingly hopeless clown puppeteers bring upbeat absurdity, slapstick silliness, and a good dose of reality to their hilarious and unpredictable antics.

Beards! Beards! Beards!
By Trick of the Light Theatre
Directed by Hannah Smith
Written by Ralph McCubbin Howell
Produced by Show Pony
21 March 10am & 1pm

Beatrix didn’t want a tiara. Beatrix wanted a BEARD!

From Charles Darwin to Abraham Lincoln, Karl Marx to Mr Twit, it is said the secret to power and greatness is all in the size and shape of the beard.

This is a tale of one young girl’s increasingly inventive efforts to grow the world’s most magnificent beard. Join a madcap and hilarious musical romp of physical comedy and clowning, as our plucky young heroine shakes up social rules and attempts to answer the questions that have puzzled mankind since the dawn of the beard. Suitable for  children 5+.

The Pianist
By Circo Aereo (Fin) and Thomas Monckton (NZ)
In conjunction with Show Pony (NZ)
Directed by Sanna Silvennoinen and Thomas Monckton
7-22 March
Circa One

Direct from Edinburgh Fringe and the London Mime Festival, last year’s hit returns to Circa!

“It would be no exaggeration to declare Thomas Monckton nothing short of a genius.” – Broadway Baby (UK)

“I doubt very much that you’ll see, in fact I am prepared to bet on it, a funnier show this year…miss him at your peril”  – The Dominion Post (NZ)

Fresh from a five-star reviewed season at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and a sell-out season at Circa Two last year, award-winning performer Thomas Monckton returns with his smash hit The Pianist, this time at Circa One!

The Pianist is a solo comic contemporary circus piece by Thomas Monckton (NZ) and Circo Aereo (Finland). The show is centered on, in, under, and around the magnificent grand piano. Accompanying this elegant apparatus is the poised pianist himself. Only he is so focused on impressing everyone that before he realises it, his show has transformed from the highbrow concert he hoped for, into a spectacularly amusing catastrophe.

Suitable for all ages.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood
A musical by Rupert Holmes
Directed by Lyndee-Jane Rutherford
28 March – 25 April
Circa One

Who the Dickens did the deed? You decide!

A non-stop ride of mystery, murder, and musical delight! Based on Charles Dickens’ final, unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood is filled with clues, red herrings, villainy, and debauchery. Everyone on stage is a suspect – and it's up to you to decide how this mystery ends!

Hot off Broadway, this Tony Award-winning theatrical genius is led by director Lyndee-Jane Rutherford (Midsummer (a play with songs)), who reunites with the artistic team that brought Grease and Mamma Mia to the Wellington stage. The cast includes beloved actor of stage, screen and radio, Lloyd Scott, and internationally renowned soprano, Barbara Graham (Christine, Phantom of the Opera). The Mystery of Edwin Drood boasts spectacular big dance numbers, rousing showtunes, stunning theatrics, magic, and illusions! https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif

Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Score

“One of the most inventive, inspired and rousing musicals ever devised.”—AM New York
“Infectious fun!”—Time Out New York
“Bawdy fun!”—Associated Press
“Sheer fun!”—The Wall Street Journal

Two Mortals
Directed by Geoff Pinfield
Performed by Rachael Dyson-McGregor & Mike McEvoy
Composed by Beatrice Lewis
1-18 April
Circa Two

'A powerful theatrical experience suffused with humour, beauty and emotional intelligence' – The Melbourne Age

Two Mortals is a delicate, poetic and humorous exploration of life, death and the moment in between. Composed word-for-word from interviews with people who live and work at the ends of life – morticians, cryogenicists, palliative care workers and ministers – Two Mortals weaves these true stories and experiences into a richly theatrical exploration of mortality.

This uplifting work about one of our society's most taboo subjects was directed by Chapman Tripp Director of the Year Geoff Pinfield. Created and performed by Rachael Dyson-MacGregor and Mike McEvoy, Two Mortals sold out two critically-acclaimed seasons at Melbourne's La Mama Theatre.

Improv for Kids
By The Improvisors
7-18 April
Circa Two

Kids love theatre that’s interactive. So do the Improvisors. Kids (and their grown-ups) loved the 2014 season of Improv For Kids, so we’re bringing it back. It’s a great opportunity to introduce your kids to the world of live theatre. We may not have millions of dollars worth of computer-generated effects, but we do listen to kids and we make their ideas central to what happens on stage. In Improv For Kids, imagination is the best special effect of them all!

Don Juan
Based on Don Juan by Moliere
Created by A Slightly Isolated Dog
Directed by Leo Gene Peters
25 April – 23 May
Circa Two

World Premiere

A sexy, fierce, raucous celebration. 

Don Juan explodes with the energy of a music gig or a club.  It’s a cabaret.  It’s chaos.  It’s a furious adrenalized romp through the games of attraction and sexuality.  It’s the BEST… PARTY… EVER. 

Five mad performers use a variety of theatrical forms and styles to bring an adaptation of Moliere’s classic play to life.  Loaded with pop songs and flirting, this imaginative work will continually intrigue, delight and surprise.

While the bar keeps serving drinks.  All night long.  

Created by A Slightly Isolated Dog, one of Wellington’s most innovative and exciting companies.  Critically acclaimed and award winning shows include:  Death and the Dreamlife of Elephants (2009, 2011), Perfectly Wasted (2012 - in partnership with Long Cloud Youth Theatre) and Settling (2007).

A Servant to Two Masters
By Carlo Goldoni
A new adaptation by Lee Hall
Directed by Ross Jolly
2-30 May
Circa One

NZ Premiere

Love, passion and pandemonium

Goldoni’s much-loved comic classic is a masterpiece starring a wily servant whose cheeky, inventive trickery gets the best of his masters, in a merry mix-up of mayhem and mistaken identity.

Truffaldino, the scheming and perpetually hungry servant, concocts a zany scheme to double his wages (and his meals) by simultaneously serving two masters – the lovelorn Beatrice (disguised as a man) and her lost lover Florindo.

Hilarity abounds In this sharp, new, rapid-fire adaptation by award winning dramatist Lee Hall (The Pitmen Painters, Billy Elliot).  

A delicious, madcap Italian comedy of lovers, disguises, tricks, traps, mishaps and meatballs!

“A sparkling, wonder filled new version by Lee Hall... An evening to cherish” – Daily Mail

“A hugely enjoyable night out" – Covent Garden Life

By The Improvisors
3 May – 14 June
Circa Two

Part of NZ International Comedy Festival

The Improvisors are back at Circa with another season of this very popular show. Each night two teams of Improvisors take suggestions from the audience and spin them into short scenes, songs, poems or whatever else takes their fancy. Each show is completely different – what does stay the same is that Theatresports is always a great night’s entertainment for the whole family. We don’t know what ideas you are going to throw at us – we do know that our kind of improv magic has been keeping audiences laughing over many years. Theatresports – putting the “make up” on stage.

Second Afterlife
By Ralph McCubbin Howell
Directed by Kerryn Palmer
29 May – 13 June
Circa Two

Return Season of the 2014 Young and Hungry sensation!
Dan was an internet junkie – now he’s calling it quits. But in order to forge a new profile, he must face up to his online history and it’s not going down without a fight.
When Dan finds himself sucked into the Second Afterlife – a dark underworld of the internet, a very real and dangerous landscape of broken memes, deleted pages, and the ghosts of profiles past.
 Second Afterlife is a dark comedy about life (and death) in the digital age. Inspired by Dante's Inferno, and in the tradition of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, it is a twisted allegory for the Facebook generation – a poetic, ass-kicking romp to the darkest corners of the web.
“Ralph McCubbin Howell cements his status as one of NZ's best young playwrights with Second Afterlife and director Kerryn Palmer, her designers and crew, and her exemplary cast of six do him proud.” - Theatreview
By arrangement with Playmarket.
Edge/Turning Page
Broadway Star, ANGELICA PAGE
“An actress of the highest possible voltage” – Wall Street Journal
Performing two shows, alternate nights, two weeks only
6-20 June
Circa One

Set in 1963 on the day of Sylvia Plath’s death, Edge presents the self-told story of the troubled poet and author of The Bell Jar, The Colossus, Ariel and the Pulitzer-Prize winning Collected Poems.
a resurrected Sylvia Plath… the showcase of a lifetime” NEW YORK TIMES

Geraldine Page’s sparkling career earned her a record-breaking eight Academy Award nominations, an Oscar for Best Actress in 1986, and made her one of the most influential American artists of the 20th century. Turning Page is the triumphant and heartbreaking true story of one of the most celebrated actresses of all time, written and performed by the person who knew her best: her own daughter.
“A privilege” Los Angeles Times

Matariki Development Festival
Presented by Tawata Productions
22 June – 4 July
Circa Two
An international indigenous playwrights’ festival boasting an enviable whakapapa of the very best of contemporary Maori & Pasifika theatre.  MDF 2015 features new writing by Natano Keni, James Nokise and Pikihuia Haenga.

the beautiful ones
Written and Directed by Hone Kouke
Produced by Tawata Productions
Movement by Dolina Wehipeihana & Hone Kouka
Design by K*Saba, Tama Waipara, Johnson Witehira, Wai Mihinui, Jaimee Warda, Sopheak Seng, Laurie Dean
27 June – 11 July
Circa One

World Premiere

A hyperreal digital love story. 

the beautiful ones is a story of young love.  A promise Hana made to Ihia – a promise to return.  Will she return?  Will love triumph over temptation?  the beautiful ones bursts from the late night sheen of a city club.  Beautiful bodies & vital vocals.  Defiant dance moves and the meaning of love. 

the beautiful ones features a dance floor for the audience to share the vibe. 

From the company that brought you I, George Nepia, Sunset Road and .

Warning: Contains Big Beats & Dance Music.

The Ugly One
Written by Marius von Mayenburg; translated by Maja Zada
Directed by Giles Burton
11 July – 8 August
Circa Two

A scalpel sharp, absurd comic fantasy about beauty.

Lette thinks he is normal, but when he discovers that he is, in fact, unbelievably ugly he turns to a plastic surgeon for help. Suddenly he is the most beautiful man in the world. Fame and riches follow; women want to sleep with him and men want to look like him. And with surgery they can look like him. Exactly like him.

Received around the world to great acclaim, The Ugly One now receives its NZ premiere. With writer von Mayenburg’s star very much in the ascendant, this show is a must see.  

"A stripped bare satire on the nature of beauty. If you are interested in theatrical story-telling see this show." – The Times (UK)

“Savage social satire … A small but perfectly formed play” – The Guardian (UK)

The concept is simple but the philosophical implications are profound: What if money could buy the perfect face? It’s The Elephant Man meets The Matrix” – Post City (Toronto)

The Hound of the Baskervilles
By Arthur Conan Doyle
Adapted for the stage by Clive Francis
Directed by Ross Jolly
25 July – 29 August
Circa One

Sherlock Holmes vs the Powers of Evil

A bloodcurdling howl is heard across a cold, moonlit moor; the horrifying, spectral hound has claimed another victim …

When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead on his remote estate, in eerie, seemingly supernatural circumstances, Sherlock Holmes, the legendary, world-famous detective and his assistant, the ever-reliable Dr Watson are called upon to unravel the extraordinary mystery of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous and most popular story, in an exhilarating adaptation by Clive Francis (Our Man in Havana), sees four actors playing all the parts in this gripping, classic tale of terror.

A thrilling, ripping good night of fun, drama and suspense!

“A cracking good yarn … Excellent ... Highly enjoyable." - Daily Telegraph

"Chillingly atmospheric... this fun show will really thrill. " - The Observer

Downton Adlib
By The Improvisors
2 August – 27 September
Circa Two

Quality costume drama – only funnier.

An aristocratic English family and their servants face the challenges of life in the early twentieth century. A cast of Wellington’s top improv comedians face the challenge of making up a brand new episode every night. We supply the characters, you supply the key plot ingredients and the result is costume drama as you’ve never seen it before. Love, laughter, passion and a wide range of hats!

The Travelling Squirrel
By Robert Lord
Directed by Susan Wilson
5 September – 3 October
Circa One

NZ Premiere

“We that live to please must please to live” – Dr Samuel Johnson

From Robert Lord, the author of the award-winning and much loved Joyful & Triumphant, comes The Travelling Squirrel, a romp through the fickle nature of the entertainment industry.

Protagonist Bart compares his struggles as a writer to those of Roger the squirrel, a misunderstood painter. Hilarious and packed with larger-than-life characters, this play is a testament to Lord’s ability to write brilliant comedy. 

A satire tempered with deep affection, The Travelling Squirrel depicts a dangerous world in which fame and fortune are always temptingly just around the corner

“This is surely one of Lord’s funniest plays, just as it is one of the most moving”   – Philip Mann

“For two decades, Robert Lord’s plays astonished and entertained theatre audiences with their sharp satire and flamboyant farce.”  - David O’Donnell

The Bookbinder
Written by Ralph McCubbin Howell
Directed by Hannah Smith
Presented by Trick of the Light Theatre
25 September – 10 October
Circa Two
They say you can get lost in a good book.
But it's worse to get lost in a bad one...
From award-winning company Trick of the Light Theatre (The Road That Wasn’t There) comes a story of mystery, magic and mayhem. The Bookbinder weaves shadowplay, paper art, puppetry, and music into an original dark fairytale in the vein of Coraline and Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrell. An inventive one-man performance for curious children and adventurous adults... suitable for children 8+.

Best Theatre and Best in the Fringe - NZ Fringe 2014
International Excellence Award - Sydney Fringe 2014

"Spell-binding storytelling at its purest and best..." -
"Absorbing and imaginative… a small gem of theatre" - The Dominion Post

"Tuned to perfection... Bookworms of all stripes and ages will adore it." -
The Age, Melbourne

For more information visit

By Patrick Evans
Based on the novel of the same name
Directed by Conrad Newport
10-31 October
Circa One

It is 1955 and beyond the famous hedge something magic is about to happen.

In his beloved garden the “Father of the Nations Fiction” Frank Sargeson is waiting for his old mate Harry to turn up. Instead, he encounters a young woman fresh from a mental institution. Her name is Janet Frame. Their world is about to change forever.

From the director of Rita and Douglas comes this very funny and profoundly moving story. Touring the Arts Festivals in 2013 to incredible reviews and widespread acclaim it’s now Wellington’s chance to experience this celebrated New Zealand production.

“Like an exquisite work of art, the play Gifted is honed to near perfection … go and see this gorgeous production.” – Taranaki

“Superb performances by all … it is thrilling … it makes for astonishingly joyful, mischievous theatre.” – Dunedin

“Sheer quality” – Christchurch

Adventures in Pianoland
Written and performed by JAN PRESTON
15-17 October
Circa Two

How I learned to stop worrying and love the piano

The irrepressible Jan Preston comes clean on her longstanding and sometimes bumpy road to piano stardom.

Jan will spin yarns from dives in Soho to the concert halls of Europe, to stealing a piano in broad daylight from the 1860s Bar in Lambton Quay.

She will accompany herself, of course, on Circa Theatres' lovingly cared for piano. 

You will hear Chopsticks as you have never heard it, with Jan's original songs and compositions providing perfect counterpoint to her story.

By Pip Hall
Directed by Lyndee-Jane Rutherford
24 October – 21 November
Circa Two

Fate, chance and rooftop romance. 

Ache is a fateful comedy about two thirty-somethings trying to find their way through modern love, materialism and the Wellington dating-drought.

At a time when we are promised happiness with the swipe of a card or the swig of a bottle, true joy and connection seems almost impossible.

At crossroads and rooftop gardens, fate decides to surprise them. At last, connection, chemistry, charisma. He’s perfect, she’s gorgeous. Only timing’s not as kind – he’s taken. Is it just not meant to be or will she push timing aside and take fate into her own hands?  

Achingly-funny and heart-breakingly sad, Ache is a modern story of love, timing and seizing the day.
Don’t miss this WELLINGTON PREMIERE, finally on our stage after its SOLD-OUT season at Christchurch’s Court Theatre.

All Our Sons
By Witi Ihimaera
Presented by Taki Rua
5-14 November
Circa One

World Premiere

Courage and loyalty is tested in this new play by Witi Ihimaera

“Once they fought each other, now shoulder to shoulder they fight together”

Two generations go to war while a third fights a battle to keep her family at home. Waru Mataira and his two sons Tai and Rangi volunteer to represent the Maori iwi of Mataira Mountain in the New Zealand Native Contingent to Gallipoli. Under the guidance of their Pakeha leader Alec Campbell, they join the battle on the western front as part of the newly titled Pioneer Battalion where their courage is tested and so too are their loyalties.

Taki Rua Productions presents the World Premiere of All Our Sons, a ground-breaking play by Witi Ihimaera.

Roger Hall’s Robin Hood, the Pantomime
Songs by Paul Jenden and Michael Nicholas Williams
Directed by Susan Wilson
21 November – 20 December
Circa One

There he is! Oh no he isn’t. Oh, yes he is!!

With loaded bow behind a tree
You never know where he will be
He moves like velvet, sleek and svelte
Around the Wellington town belt

His eye is quick, his aim is sure
He robs the rich to feed the poor
He’s always on the side of good
The hero known as Robin Hood

He lies in wait for those who own
A big estate and second home
For millionaires who don’t pay tax  
For bankers who don’t watch their backs

You’ll see them suffer their defeat
In Circa’s brand new summer treat
A pantomime for one and all
It’s Robin Hood by Roger Hall

“fabulously fast and furious ... A treat”  - Capital Times


A Child’s Christmas in Wales (and other memories of childhood)
By Dylan Thomas
Dramatised and performed by Ray Henwood
28 November – 20 December
Circa Two

What has been described as one of the most magical of Christmas stories is brought to the stage by Ray Henwood. It is rounded out by other memories of childhood, first presented by Dylan Thomas in one of his regular talks on the BBC Welsh Home Service.

Thomas had a very happy childhood and so many of his young experiences resonate still with us today.
The town of Swansea which is the locale of his stories had changed little by the time Ray was growing up. While Dylan lived in more salubrious surroundings, Ray was a “Sandfields” boy referred to by Dylan- and played in many of the areas described in the stories.

It is a truly timeless tale and family celebrations have changed little, even in countries that celebrate a summer Christmas. Dylan’s work brings back memories that resonate so well with young and old. it is a true celebration of our experiences growing up.


01 December 2014

"Who would have thought singing old pop songs about people dying could be so entertaining?!"

This week on drama on the waterfront, Dead Tragic cast member Darren Young tells us about his history with this variety show of woe.

Darren Young.
The original Dead Tragic came about following the unexpected demise of the NZ tour of the musical Aunt Daisy. I was one of several cast members to suddenly find themselves back in Wellington unemployed, out of pocket and unimpressed. Michael Williams, the Musical Director of Aunt Daisy told us he had an idea for a musical type show that he’d been kicking around in his head for a few years. So a few of us got together, kicked it around some more and the show Dead Tragic was born. It was an immediate hit! Who would have thought singing old pop songs about people dying could be so entertaining?!

Lyndee-Jane Rutherford and Darren Young.
Yes, of course we take the mickey out of pretty much every song on the play list. You only have to sit and listen to the lyrics to find our motivation. However, while we put the characters of each song into funny situations we always try to sing the songs as musically perfect as we can. We realise that many people may have a particular attachment to one or more of these songs, so we try to do them justice. We just like to have fun with them as well.

It is difficult to come up with a favourite song or moment in the show as there are quite a few. However, I do love the vocal harmony (and sometimes chaos) when we sing “Bohemian Rhapsody”. “Leader of the Pack” is always fun to do and I have a soft spot for “Tell Laura I love her”.

Darren Young and Jon Pheloung.
Apart from the show being so much fun to perform, what I’m really enjoying about Dead Tragic is being back on stage in Wellington. Best of all, I get to share the experience with three of the “originals” – Michael Williams of course (who makes me sound good), and Emma Kinane and Jon Pheloung (who make me look good). I also finally get to work alongside the very entertaining Lyndee-Jane Rutherford (although disturbingly she cracks up laughing every time we kiss onstage during one of the songs). And up in the booth, the amazing Ashlyn Smith does a brilliant job each night making us all look and sound good.

The cast of Dead Tragic.
The show has changed over the years, with new gags, flasher costumes, and wonderful sets. But the essence of the show has always stayed the same... it’s the songs that are the key to Dead Tragic. And performing them is just downright entertaining. I’m loving it!

Dead Tragic is on in Circa Two until 21 December. To book, visit www.circa.co.nz or call 801-7992.

Photos by Jasmyne Chung

Meet the super talented cast of Red Riding Hood ...

The Dominion Post called it

So who are the super-talented people making this happen?  Meet the cast of Roger Hall’s RED RIDING HOOD The Pantomime ….

Awhimai Fraser (Red Riding Hood)
(Sandy in Grease, Hairspray)

Red Riding Hood is the first Pantomime I have had the privilege to be a part of and it has been such a wonderful experience. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much during a rehearsal process. The actors in this are witty, captivating and extremely polished. I love now doing it before an audience and hopefully inspiring kids to do the right thing, just like Red Riding Hood!

Gavin Rutherford (Grandma Hood – the Dame)
(A View from the Bridge, Equivocation)

This is the fifth year I will be ‘donning the frock’ for a pantomime. Earlier shows were Roger Hall's Robin Hood, Cinderella, and Aladdin, and last year’s Mother Goose. Every time we have so much fun putting these silly shows together. I think making ourselves laugh (and therefore our audience sharing the fun that we are having) is an essential part of these wonderfully fun summer treats.

Carrie Green (Dahlia Hood)
(Destination Beehive, I Could Live Here)

This is my first Circa panto and I'm stoked that for my first time I get to play mother to Awhi and daughter to Gavin - we make an interesting wee 'family'. I love our little company. Acting everyday with a bunch of seriously funny people is my dream job. I hope you guys enjoy the show as much as I enjoy being part of it!

Jane Waddell (Boris)
(August Osage County, Who Wants to be a Hundred?)

It's a great pleasure to be part of the Panto team again - I've had Panto withdrawal since I played Lady Muck in Robin Hood four years ago.  Prior to that I'd been in Jack and the Beanstalk, and Dick WhittingtonThe cast expends a massive amount of energy, but the pay-off is the audience participation - together we raise the roof!

Jonathan Morgan (Morris)
(Destination Beehive, Grease)

Red Riding Hood is my first pantomime experience. The rehearsals were hilariously entertaining, both due to the writing and the cast.  And now that we have an audience, I just love that the show is directed at both children and adults and I really enjoy the great audience reactions.

Patrick Davies (Sir Roger Bounder)
(The Pitmen Painters, The Motor Camp (Fortune))

I’m having a blast in this production as Sir Roger Bounder, the evil property developer with no heart and a lust for profit. Nothing can touch Sir Roger for devilish good looks and a mind like a steel trap. He’s obviously the main role that everyone will admire – or else! It’s always great fun to be booed! "

Simon Leary (Lance)
(The Pitmen Painters, Hound of the Baskervilles)

After doing last year's pantomime Mother Goose, I'm very excited to be returning to the world of panto - this time as Lance - The DOC Worker. What better way to spend a summer than with a bunch of crazy characters making silly jokes while singing and dancing? I just feel sorry for people who only get to see it once! 

Tom Truss (The Wolf)
(The Marvellous Adventures of Jack & Daisy, Immaculate)

Coming from the USA (I arrived in NZ in 2012), this is my first time doing or seeing a panto and it is infinitely more fun and fabulous than I thought it would be. I laugh more each time I see it so I think everybody should see it at least twice - if not thrice ; )

Red Riding Hood runs until 21 December, and then returns in the New Year 2-10 January. Performances before Christmas are already selling out, so book soon! www.circa.co.nz / 801-7992

Photos by Stephen A'Court.