Tag Archives: circa

An Oak Tree


Am going to see this show tonight. It’s an interesting setup – a two hander but only one of the actors has seen the script before the show.

“A man loses his daughter to a car. Nothing now is what it is. It’s like he’s in a play – but he doesn’t know the words or the moves.

The man who was driving the car is a stage hypnotist. Since the accident, he’s lost the power of suggestion. His act’s a disaster. For him, everything is now exactly what it is.

For the first time since the accident, these two men meet. They meet when the Father volunteers for the Hypnotist’s act. And, this time, he really doesn’t know the words or the moves… “

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Meet the Churchills

This is a new play by NZ playwright Paul Baker. It’s set at a fictional luncheon on the occasion of Mr Winston Churchill’s 88th birthday. The family – mum Clementine, son Randolph and daughter Sarah – are all overshadowed and cowed by the great man. The final character is Dr Jenkins who is originally applying to be Randolph’s research assistant but is lured into acting as man servant for the day. Yes, another dysfunctional, pill popping family with domestic help show themselves at Circa.
The script is witty. Ray Henwood (Winston) drawls all the best lines and gets the laughs. Helen Moulder is suitably exasperated as Clementine. Carmel McGlone (Sarah) staggers around the stage calling for another drink while ignoring the one right in front of her. Jeff Kingsford-Brown (Randolph) doesn’t have the intensity that I was expecting but he makes up for it with a forced brashness highlighting the ‘jolly joker’ aspect of his character. Byron Coll is fun to watch as Dr Jenkins. He dips in and out of the action interacting with characters in unexpected ways. I’m not so keen on how it wraps up. I can see where Baker wants to go with it but I don’t think he quite manages it. I also didn’t understand the design for this show. It’s set to the corner so the audience sits on two sides of the stage. The wallpaper is covered with pictures of the Churchills and pictures of the war. Somehow the set manages to be both expensive and cheap at the same time. I found it quite distracting.
Overall, it’s a clever if slightly strange play that is an entertaining, easy night out.

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Meet the Churchills


Off to see this play. I went to a reading of it – last year? the year before? – in Auckland so it will be interesting to see how it works as a fully realised show.

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Boomers behaving badly


The stage is set with a piano, a stool, a small tall table with flowers and a gorgeous velvet curtain as a back drop. Michael Nicholas Williams enters and sits at the piano. He plays and Jane Keller enters singing. The show is about the expereinces that she has had as a Baby Boomer – education, marriage, divorce, life as a single woman… Most of the story is told through song with monologues to connect them.
Almost-snow-leopard Jane Keller has a fabulous Broadway style voice which she pitches just right for the Circa Two space. She has an amazing ability to tell the story through her voice only – no contortions for this performer. Her rapport with the audience seems effortless. Even when she needed a couple of prompts on opening night it felt like it drew us in rather than pushing us away.
Apparently it”s a revised reprise of a show she did last year upstairs at the Saint James.  I didn’t see that one so I don’t know what’s changed but I can tell you that it’s funny, uplifting and you may need a hanky in a couple of places.

Boomers Behaving Badly at Circa
Performed by Jane Keller with Michael Nicholas Williams on piano.
On to Saturday 11th June 2011

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