ETS logo
Auckland logo
 

Newsletter

Contents


Latest newsletter

Download the latest newsletter as a PDF.

Call for Directors 2020 and 2021

Call for Directors 2020 and 2021

Applications are invited from Directors who would like to present a play, or selection of plays, to be considered for the Ellerslie Theatrical Society 2019 and 2020 seasons.  Applications close on Saturday 21 June 2019.  Expressions of interest are also invited to direct the Christmas Float in 2020 and the first play of 2021.

Tentative dates are:

Main Bill 1 - 2020
Season 12 to 21 March
Audition Saturday 9 November 2019
Rehearsals start Sunday 5 January 2020

Main Bill 2 - 2020
Season 4 to 13 June
Audition Saturday 14 March 2020
Rehearsals start Sunday 29 March 2020

Main Bill 3 - 2020
Season 20 to 29 August
Auditions Saturday 6 June 2020
Rehearsals start Tuesday 16 June 2020

Main Bill 4 - 2020
Season 5 to 14 November
Audition Saturday 22 August 2020
Rehearsals start Tuesday 1 September 2020

Christmas Float 2020
Sunday 6 December

Main Bill 1 - 2021
Season 11 to 20 March 2021
Audition Saturday 7 November 2020
Rehearsals start Sunday 4 January 2021

If you wish to direct a play at ETS, please download our application form. Or for more information email info@ellerslietheatre.co.nz.





Membership Renewal 2019

image for Membership Renewal 2019

ETS needs your support which you can give by renewing or by becoming a new financial member, attending the shows and participating in our productions in the areas of activity outlined on the membership form. The membership year runs from 1 January to 31 December each year.

As a member you will:
receive regular newsletters and audition notices;
be able to participate in ETS plays and social functions;
receive a discount on ticket purchases;
support your local, non-profit, theatrical society.

Membership Fees:
Student $10.00
Adult $20.00
Senior Citizen $10.00

You can pay via internet banking (instructions in membership form) or post a cheque to Treasurer, ETS, 40 Michaels Ave, Ellerslie, Auckland 1051. If you are interested or willing to participate in any aspect of the theatre, please let us know by ticking or adding your interest on the membership form.

You can download our membership form here.

Volunteers Required

image for Hospitality Opportunities

ETS volunteers play a vital part in the life of the theatre – assisting with a variety of tasks and bringing their own enthusiasm, knowledge and skills to add to the theatre experience.

Can you offer any talents and time with any of the following:
. Being part of the team making ‘finger foods’ for Gala nights,
. Helping serve teas and coffees and with general hospitality during shows,
. Creative ideas and skills for Front of House Displays,
. Helping with catering, serving and clearing up during our Double Dress rehearsal?

Please contact Ros Stewart on 021 182 8109 or email hospitality@ellerslietheatre.co.nz

For more details please contact Ros Stewart on 021 182 8109 or by email to hospitality@ellerslietheatre.co.nz

Ticket discounts

We give a discount to members, to bookings of 10 or more, to Community Services card-holders and to Superannuants. Please note that only one of these discounts can be claimed on any ticket.


ETS AGM - 15 April 2019

The Annual General Meeting of the Ellerslie Theatrical Society Inc. was held on MONDAY 15 APRIL 2019 at the STABLES THEATRE.

Committee and officers were elected as follows:

Executive:
President—Anna Adam 
Vice President—Bruce Brown
Secretary—David Blakey
Treasurer—Rona Colbert

Management Committee:
Charlotte Taylor
Helen Thomas
Lucy Flavell
Carolyn Loader

Appointments:
Patron—Denise Lee MP
Honorary Accountant—Bryan Mott

Extract from the report presented by Anna Adam—President 2018:

Budgets & Expenditure:
Although we were very frugal with production and administration costs it is very hard to see this given the situation with the venue hire costs.
ETS received three grants in 2018. There was a grant of $10,000 towards the costs of the venue hire from the Ōrākei Local Board of Auckland Council. A grant of $500 from the Auckland Council Orakei Quick Response fund, facilitated by Ōrākei Local Board towards publicity costs. The third grant was from the Creative Communities Scheme facilitated by Auckland Council on behalf of Creative NZ which is from the New Zealand Arts Council for $1000 also towards developing new forms of publicity.

Management, Volunteers and Membership:
We are currently looking to fill three management positions; a Hospitality Manager, a Bar Manager and we will be looking at a Publicity and Marketing Manager with an aim to increase our audience numbers.

Summary:
Although there are some concerns with the venue hire costs, Ellerslie Theatrical Society Inc. continues to be very healthy. With Rona’s astute management of funds and the production teams’ abilities to work with a minimal budget, we have maintained good working and contingency capital; productions are on track and we welcome new volunteers with each play. Thank you to everyone involved with the productions, support, and management of the society in 2018, you are the heart beat that makes our local community theatre thrive.

Extract from Venue Hire Report:
One of the committee’s aims in 2017 was to enter discussions with Ōrākei Local Board and Auckland Council to see if we could obtain a Heads of Agreement to be formally recognised as the principal hirer of this venue. The aim for this was to secure better venue branding, negotiate fixed rent increases, becoming a party to venue improvements and changes, and to have a formal acknowledgement of the original offer given by the Mayor of Ellerslie back in 1989 to take up residence in the venue to provide the local community with a theatre.

Unfortunately, this initiative coincided with a change to the way the Auckland Council and Ōrākei Local Board were going to charge for the venue and apply any discounts and financial assistance from the Board towards our rent. We had been paying an agreed annual amount divided into twelve equal monthly payments. We were unable to obtain advance details about how this would affect the society financially.

When the new rates were finally communicated the total figure came to just over $41,300 (July 2018 to June 2019) and this is after the Auckland Council 50% discount. This represents an increase in excess of 300%. Even with an accommodation grant from Ōrākei Local Board (OLB) (a maximum of $10,000 in any one year) this is not an amount the society can accommodate from theatre activities.

When the OLB was asked what the position would be if ETS were unable to meet the rental payments the response was to ask what grants ETS had applied for. It was implied that we need to exhaust all possible avenues before they could answer this question.


The full report can be downloaded here. ETS AGM 2019 - President's Report

The full Venue Hire report can be downloaded here. ETS VENUE HIRE 2019 - President's Report



Review: The Bach

image for







THE BACH
written by Stephen Sinclair
directed by Annie Whittaker

Cast
Simon - Mark Campbell
Michael - AJ Chapman
Sally - Carleen Craig
Hana - Vicky Cairns


Review by Jocelyn McQuaid

The bach – that quintessential New Zealand icon, ranging from the old Army hut to a swep’ up, all mod cons house, transported from Remuera. A family weekend at the bach is often a recipe for disaster, and this particular weekend is no exception.  Simon and his brother Michael meet up for the first time in many years.  Sally, Simon’s highflyer wife, arrives with her colleague Hana.  They plan to have a working weekend, tidying up a film project with which they are involved.

After dinner, al fresco at the borer-ridden outdoor table, skeletons begin to emerge, and many things are said in the heat of the moment.  And, if that wasn’t enough, the family discovers that the local council, in its wisdom, has erected a Public Convenience (the Sunny Dunny) on their property’s boundary.  The two brothers, bruised by career disappointments, and burned by relationship failures, decide that enough is enough and it’s time to make a stand.

Mark Campbell, as Simon, did a lovely job of downtrodden, henpecked and harassed husband.  This was a role with a wide range of emotions and reactions, which he handled extremely well.  As his wife Sally, Carleen Craig was a supreme example of a woman who has it all, but is still discontented and argumentative.  Not an easy role.  You can’t really warm to the strident virago, but Carleen carried it off in style.

Her friend Hana, played by Vicky Cairns, had an easier task as “the foil.”  Her character fitted in with the family, as her role of guest dictated, but she showed another, stronger side when Michael overstepped the mark.  The latter was an interesting role, that of a journalist, “exiled” in London, bitter at lack of promotion and recognition, and rather intolerant of his fellow man. Again, another character to whom it was difficult to warm.  AJ Chapman played him with considerable force.

All in all, an entertaining night.

Review: The Lady in the Van

image for







THE LADY IN THE VAN
written by Alan Bennett
directed by David Blakey

Cast
Miss Shepherd - Bronwen Arlington
Alan Bennett - Andrew Gordon
Alan Bennett #2 - Ken Morrison
Rufus - Matt Butler
Pauline - Becky Scoggins
Social Worker - Saree Biddick
Underwood - Alan J. Thomson
Mam - Margaret Ussher
Leo Fairchild - Rex McIntosh
Interviewer - Chantal Haworth
Lout/Doctor - Tharma Prasath Saminathan


Probably! Possibly! Review by Rex Steele

The Misters Bennett (Andrew and Ken) cobble this tale of automotive convolution together with seamless subtlety. Their teamwork and parallel parking skills are without parallel. From an unashamed fan, this play is a tribute to Bennett’s wonderful ability to make so much of so little and record humanity’s full range of … humanity.

Alan’s Mam (Margaret) keeps a cogent but deteriorating eye on proceedings, while the longsuffering neighbours (Becky and Matt) flesh out the story by adding graphic detail and far flung metaphysical conceits. The bedside doctor (Samy) does his best to get down to basics, frustratingly thwarted by the good lady herself. The social worker (Saree) periodically heightened my hostility, and cameos by a snitch (Alan), the lady’s brother (Rex), and the interviewer (Chantal) nicely round out the play.

This show belongs to Bronwen, (The Lady) as she glides through the improbable excoriations of those unique flights of fancy. With beautiful diction she delivers such wonderful lines as “I came across it once in a Catholic motoring magazine under tips on Christian parking.”

A simple but very effective set, with John Charlton’s subtle lighting took us on a pilgrimage encountering the ‘Suzy Wong’, the fluidity of actor movement, and the absorbing delight of an entertaining show. And all of this choreographed to perfection by the director, David Blakey.

A nod of grateful thanks to Des Smith for bringing this play to ETS, even though he was unavailable to direct it.

Review: Beautiful Thing

image for







BEAUTIFUL THING
written by Jonathan Harvey
directed by Bruce Brown

Cast
Jamie - Luca Samios
Leah - Lauren Bartley
Sandra - Katie Fullard
Ste - Matthew J. Smith
Tony - Dominic Gorski


Review by Rex Steele

This is a gutsy, economically written play which captures the realism, the pain and the practical necessity of living in conditions of continual challenge.

Set in a Hardingly photogenic, grimy, plausibly weathered distressed tenement, Austin’s subtle lighting range captures the essence of its grimy realism.

It is effectively inhabited by a disparate collection of characters honestly reflecting the mores of the period and contributing equally to the powerful statement that love comes in an infinite variety of forms. While the young speak a different language and reflect modern mores (Cicero noting this 2000 years ago), love is recognisable in its infinite variety. And yes, it is beautiful. Would that I was still not only young at heart.

Dominic delicately and understatedly moulds the role of Tony into a forlorn and finally transient companion, while Lauren grasps the scared, insecure but overconfident Leah and delivers her with unflagging energy.

Luca and Matthew, as Jamie and Ste gradually enrich their respective roles as they move together, gathering strength, maturity and confidence from each other in their search for understanding and acceptance.

Katie, as brash mother Sandra delivers continuing reserves of quiet strength and wisdom, while holding the lives of all the others together.

Director Bruce has taken a connectedly disconnected handful of individuals, evocatively crafted by the author, and sculptured them all into a memorable, uninhibited, occasionally explosive, but always genuine ‘family’.

Review: The House of Angels

image for








THE HOUSE OF ANGELS
a new play written by Ruth Mayo
directed by Sian Davis

Cast
Helen - Lynn Webster
Ollie - Malcolm Beazley
Wystan - Kerr Inkson
Angela - Lesley Reihana
Gabe - Barrie Graham
Jack - Ferooz Afshar
Gwen - Angela Reading
Binnie - Ruth Flynn


Review by Jocelyn McQuaid


A new play is always a challenge – for both director and actors.  Written by expat New Zealander Ruth Mayo, the play explores the lives of eight former actors, now down on their luck and needing a helping hand.  This is offered by Angela (the Angel) who, through a fortunate bequest, is in a position to invite some of her old theatrical chums to join her in a comfortable house in which to begin a secure retirement.

With a wide range of temperaments, of course, cracks begin to show early on in the seemingly harmonious group.  But common-sense prevails.  A few petty likes and dislikes surface – the typewriter’s clacking is annoying, and a personal hygiene problem is confronted, and quickly resolved.

A very attractive set depicted the living/dining area, complete with a good-sized dining table, on which sits a jigsaw.  Comfortable chairs, a coffee table, a china cabinet, attractive drapes and good rugs completed the decor.  There was a set of French doors opening onto a garden – a very realistic backdrop showed a truly stunning vista.  Hanging on the back wall was a life-size portrait (we understand he is a well-known actor!).

Sian Davis is to be commended for her choice of play, and her willingness to work with actors of mature years and a range of experience.  Costumes were appropriate for each character, and the cast appeared comfortable with them.

All in all, a pleasant couple of hours.  Well done to Ellerslie Theatrical Society for their support of this new play.

Review: The Witches

image for







THE WITCHES
written by Roald Dahl in an adaption by David Wood 
directed by Daryl Wrightson
Presented by special arrangement with Samuel French Ltd and New Zealand Play Bureau Ltd.

Cast
Boy - Luke Orbell
Grandmother - Pam Browne
Grand High Witch - Dorren Tamihere-Kemeys
Witch 1 - Victoria Poole
Witch 2 - Rose Van Wylich
Bruno Jenkins - Sam Megson
Tree-House Witch/Mrs Jenkins - Jessica Cole
Mr Jenkins/Head Chef - Blair Purkiss
Lawyer/Hotel Doorman/Waiter/Chef - Raj Singh
Witch 1 - Victoria Poole
Witch 1 - Victoria Poole
Company Witch - Ros Stewart
Company Witch - Renee Palmer
Company Witch - Emma Gadd
Company Witch - Natalie Thacker
Company Witch - Ashley Gillard
Musician - Regan Crummer

Review by Rex Steele

WITCHERY

Goodies and baddies ride again! In a series of seamlessly linked vignettes, with memorable cameo moments speckled throughout, it is challenging to pinpoint unique contributors. Director Daryl melded all into a delightful but cogent evening of fluid, faultless entertainment.

Dorren handled fiendishly difficult costume demands and accent challenges to command the stage as dominatrix of the coven, while her spectacularly lurid acolytes provided a background of contrasting, constantly mobile visual treats.

Grandmother Pam, who could be my granny any day, provided delicate wisdom and gravitas throughout.

As W.C.Fields once quipped, “Never work with children or animals.” And Luke and Sam showed us again how that combo, puppetry included, can be utterly scene stealing.

And talking of scene stealing, would I have a meal at Raj and Blair’s café de movealong?

Thanks also to Roald, makeup artists, the plethora of ‘extra’ characters, and to the musical continuity, joining to make this an enchanted evening.

Review: The 39 Steps

image for








THE 39 STEPS
an adaption by Patrick Barlow from the novel by John Buchan and Alfred Hitchcock's film 
directed by James Bell
Presented by arrangement with Play Bureau

Cast
Richard Hannay - Jason Moffatt
Pamela/Margaret/Annabella - Amy Maclaine
Clown 1 - Ken Morrison
Clown 2 - Vincent Feng

Review by Rex Steele

Farcical melodrama, or melodramatic farce? The programme notes seem to have stolen all my bons mots.  Standing the test since 1915 this classic has morphed again into a wonderful two hours of escapism. It is no wonder the principal felt compelled to toughen up in the gym to reprise the role. Oft accoladed director James has extracted every nuance of dynamism from his diverse cast and melded all into a frenetic maelstrom.
 
Jason pushes, drags and hurls the indefatigable character of Richard Hannay on a whirlwind tour, all within a well lit and versatile Blakey set. His crisp swings of emotion and unlikely escapes from all manner of entrapments glue us to the edges of our seats. (A political future?)
 
With finely drawn and subtle elegance Amy extracts the essence of feminine allure (WoW) and yet shocks us with her unexpected worm turning betrayals. Ken leads us through a maze of impossible sidestepping characters, constantly challenging wardrobe and the upper register of his versatile voice  by turn. (Counselling has been booked)  Young, passionate mad hatter Vincent enchants us with his frequent forays into a plethora of plausible persona. (Eat yer heart out Alan Bennett)
 
Fluid swaps of dominance, energetic meshing of switching personalities, and tight sound and light cues gave us an evening of constantly challenging delight, one which I hope none of you allowed to slip by unattended.

Christmas Float 2017 -- A Kiwi Christmas

image for The sun was shining on Sunday the 6th of December creating the perfect backdrop for our Kiwi Christmas float. The cheery scene complete with pavlova, sausages and ‘delicate’ decorations was complimented by a cast of colourful characters including a sleeping grandfather!  Thanks to the Ellerslie Business Association for organising another wonderful parade and congratulations to Renee Palmer and her talented Christmas float elves on your award for best float. Special thanks go to Colin and A.J. Tutill & Son for providing the driver and truck.

If you would like to be involved with the ETS float in 2018 please contact Rona Colbert for more information 09 525 3336 or by email to treasurer@ellerslietheatre.co.nz

Save the date: Sunday 2 December 2018.

Review: Festival of One Act Plays

image for





THE ELLERSLIE FESTIVAL OF ONE ACT PLAYS 2017

GROUP A - Review by Jenny Soden

This was a most interesting night of theatre. If you did not see these performances, you missed a great night at the theatre.

PERFORMING
Written by David Blakey
Directed by Daryl Wrightson
Cast
Doctor ~ John Moloney
Priest ~ Tom Coup
Stage Manager ~ Jo Olsen
Prostitute ~ Lisa Inman
Girl ~ Amy Arnold
Boy ~ Tom Sutherland

Firstly, we had David Blakey’s “Performing” directed by Daryl Wrightson. The wisely chosen cast offered us plenty of laughs as we were entertained with the antics backstage at an “unknown” theatre.

THE PRIVATE WAR OF CORPORAL COOPER
Written by John Broughton
Directed by Jocelyn McQuaid
Cast
Sister Bartholemew ~ Ruth Flynn
Corporal Johnny Cooper ~ Sean Miller

Secondly, we were greatly moved by John Broughton’s “The Private War Of Corporal Cooper” directed by Jocelyn McQuaid. This took us back to France and Dunedin during World War 1, where a young soldier dreams of the girl he will one day marry and a Nun dreams (perhaps) about a son she might have had. The ending was spine chillingly moving.

CHOOK CHOOK
Written by Fiona Farrell
Directed by Chrissy Hodkinson
Cast
Valmai ~ Julia Mitchell
Chrissy ~ Bella-Anne Wheeler
Georgia ~ Rochelle Cowie
Bron ~ Ruth Flynn

Thirdly, we had Fiona Farrell’s “Chook Chook” directed by Chrissy Hodkinson. Whilst being a comedy, there were several moral issues discussed and we were given an insight into the individual reactions of the personalities. The costuming was brilliant and the energy expended a joy to watch. The Directors of these three plays must all be congratulated and, whilst all cast members were excellent, special mention must be made of Ruth Flynn’s tour de force in playing two such diverse characters one after the other.

GROUP B - Review by Rex Steele

HER STORY
Written and Directed by Mary Granfors
Cast
Nurse ~ Emily Woodall
Hazel ~ Linda Pudney
Maddie ~ Liz Philipp
Mr Holden ~ Rex McIntosh
Kai ~ Raj Singh

In a delicately handled snippet of plausible reality, reflecting a scenario all too common amongst a few of the vulnerable elderly of our society. Hazel languishes, abandoned and lost. As she wallows in her hopelessness, not even an optimistic nurse or a muddle headed friend can stir her from lethargy. Enter a doctor refugee, plausibly reduced to the position of janitor, but with intellect, compassion and judgement intact, as an unlikely catalyst for change. His effect on her is dynamic, and her indifference dissolves, but her focus on bringing an end to her own life indicates that the change is only a means to an end. I was left wishing that this play had been longer, allowing greater development of the fleeting relationship.

SURE THING
Written by David Ives
Directed by Annie Whittaker
Cast
Betty ~ Merrin Cavel
Billie ~ Mandy Clark

Honed down to basics with superb timing, this gimmicky, crisp, pithy and energetic take on an ended relationship was just the right length. Adroit, funny changes of direction were captured precisely by the actors who delivered the results of intense rehearsal beautifully. Gradual muting of the gong through the play might have spared us a little of its relentless dominance.

DOLORES
Written by Edward Allan Baker
Directed by Carl Drake
Cast
Sandra ~ Lyndsey Garner
Dolores ~ Brooke Peterson

With an explosive start quickly capturing the audience’s attention, two voluble actors drew us immediately into the chaos that was the normality of their character’s lives. As they progressed however, it became apparent that they lived on the edge of shallowness and talked frequently past each other. Snippets of sordid life delivered with the energy of empty vessels making the most noise, left me wondering if they ever thought of what they could give to a relationship. Specific incidents were very well handled and the quieter moments were excellent with the suggestion of impropriety of their father subtly implied. A play for selective audiences with excellent hearing, unfazed by the unconvincing handling of a gun, and not deterred by Tom Lehrer’s reflection that, “if people can’t communicate the least they can do is shut up.”


Review: Festen

image for







Festen
written by David Eldridge
directed by David Blakey

Cast
Christian - Kristof Haines
Michael - David Steadman
Mette - Jenevieve Longhurst
Kris - Zach Mole
Helene - Ksenia Khor
Lars - Kashan Preston
Else - Rae Ryan
Helge - Des Smith
Pia - Kate Davison
Poul - Alan J. Thomson
Helmut - David Burchall
Grandfather - Max Golding
Kim - Stephanie Wallis
Gbatokai - Sami (Thamra Prasath) Saminathan


Review by Rex Steele

People to whom nothing has ever happened cannot understand the unimportance of events. T.S.E.


“It’s Daddy’s Birthday!” Your wife and children have gathered to help you celebrate. Christian and Michael set the scene with a brotherly wrestle, while Michael dares everyone to wash his mouth out with soap. Conflicting sibling relationships are quickly established through slick scene changes as skeletons emerge. While the bed plays host to a fluid menage a six we can be a little confused, partly by the time slides, as to who are factotums, and who not.

Clearly disparate characters are well delineated, with Helge and his sons rendered as a powerfully acted trio. I wish I was as thick skinned. The women are not, by their smaller roles, so able to develop their characters, though wives and sister wear, but hide, their inner suffering extremely well.

And so we move on to “Dinner for Twelve”. If we haven’t torn each other quite to pieces yet, let’s do it now. Helmut, valiant M.C. does his best, Poul, human but lamenting his brokenness struggles, Christian, we are told, mixes fact and fantasy, while Else bears it with resignation but bravely escapes in the end. Grandfather delights us with his deftly misplaced enthusiastic observations and Helene delivers her dead sister’s letter with deftly controlled skill.

Throw in an imaginary friend “Snoot” and then an exotic boyfriend Gbatokai and we are challenged by a racist rant. Blaming each other for the tragic suicide of sister Linda, is very revealing…when Daddy takes a bath. The scenes of violence and loathing are particularly well rendered, drawing us in to the fear and disgust.
Great to see a natural and innocent performance by young newcomer Zach.

Director David takes a challenging play and with an excellent cast gives us a tense, vibrant and powerful evening. As Kate Hepburn says in “The Lion in Winter” film, “What family doesn’t have its ups and downs?” And I thought Victor Borge was the epitome of Danishness.



Review: Boys at the Beach

image for








Boys at the Beach
written by Alison Quigan & Ross Gumbley
directed by David Charteris

Cast
Bully - Jono Smith
Coops - Junior Misimoa
Den - Andrew Norman
Skeen - Andrew Craik
Francie - Laurene Dearlove
Julie - Jo Olsen
Jamie Waters - Eva Allan

Review by Rex Steele

Is it easy to envy the boys at the beach for their normal, relaxed, uncomplicated approach to life? Thrown together by chance their loud, opinionated, constantly lubricated commentary softens life’s complexities and reduces it to the few basics that make young men’s lives easier to traverse. Loosely paralleling the era’s cricket ebbs and flows, (on the underarm… “Where’s an Australian? I wanna thump someone”) this play sits easily and happily with audience members who grew up kiwi, but may occasionally bewilder those who did not.

Jono captures the impetuous Bully, Andrew N envelopes the larger than life Den, while Jo places an iron fist around Julie. Junior, as Coop leads by default, Andrew C powerfully controls Skeen, and Laurene fluidly evokes Francie the versatile matriarch. Jamie, through Eva provides a quiet contrast to the relentless uninhibited flow of the others. The scene with the youngsters could put anyone off having children…forever.

An evocative, evenly lit set encloses relentless bluster, beery, and basic one liners, plastering the confidence of youth over a half g quarter acre shagging paradise. With “just a bit more authority round the eyes” Director David has knitted an excellent cast into a dynamically paced, nostalgic, pastiche of an enviable era of our own, alas, not so recent past.



Christmas Float 2016 -- The Colours of Christmas

image for Christmas Float 2016 -- The Colours of Christmas

Another resounding success by Renee Palmer and her Christmas Float Elves, creating the Colours of Christmas for the Ellerslie Christmas Parade 2016. Congratulations to Renee Palmer and her helpers. Thanks go to Colin and A.J. Tutill & Son for providing the driver and truck, Terry Palmer and Rex Steele for their substantial contributions, Chris Seager, Rona Colbert, Janet Cutting, Lucy Flavell and all those Xmas Elves who helped make it fun on the day.

The Ellerslie Business Association Santa Parade 2017 will be on Sunday the 3rd of December. If you would like to be involved with the ETS Float please contact Rona Colbert on 09 525 3336 to register your interest.

Review: Waiting in the Wings

image for Waiting in the Wings
written by Noel Coward
directed by Rex Steele

Cast
May Davenport - Susan Hargraves
Lotto Bainbridge - Penel Keegan
Almina Clare - Margaret Ussher
Deidre O'Malley - Linda Pudney
Perry Lascoe - Ken Morrison
Cora Clarke - Rae Ryan
Dr Jevons / Alan Bennet - Geoff Gunn
Sylvia Archibald - Julia Leathwick
Osgood Meeker - Chris Seager
Maud Melrose - Renee Palmer
Zelda Fenwick - Elizabeth Gill
Sarita Myrtle - Liz Philipp
Bonita Belgrace - Ruth Hyde
Estelle- Kathy Walker
Dora / Topsy Baskerville - Diane O'Sullivan
Doreen - Jessica Rule

Review by Jocelyn McQuaid

A play about a group of elderly, retired actresses, living out their days in a “charity” home. What a ghastly idea! But when the author is Noël Coward, the Master, the scenario brightens more than somewhat.

Directed by long-time ETS stalwart, Rex Steele, “Waiting in the Wings” is one of those wonderful plays which provides roles for almost everyone in a community theatre group. The menfolk in this play are mostly minor characters, with the exception of “Perry Lascoe,” played by Ken Morrison. He cajoles and persuades the “old dears,” making sure they are comfortable in this delightful home. “Osgood Meeker,” played by Chris Seagar, long-time admirer of one of the very old actresses, gently bumbles along with his bunch of violets, and “Dr Jevons” and “Alan Bennet,” both small roles, were competently played by Geoff Gunn.

And the ladies? “May Davenport” (Susan Hargraves) and “Lotta Bainbridge” (Penel Keegan) are the leading ladies who have been at war with each other for many years, a situation which is resolved after a late-night chat. Both these actresses have performed in many roles over the years, and showed just how it should be done.

It is hard to single out any one performer in a play of this nature, but Julia Leathwick as the Superintendent, “Sylvia Archibald,” stands out. Another is Linda Pudney as the Irish actress “Deidre O’Malley,” who dies on stage (more than slightly theatrically!). And who could forget the delightfully dotty “Sarita Myrtle,” played by Liz Philipp.

All those taking part acquitted themselves well, and were assisted by a comfortable and realistic setting. It all made for a pleasant evening’s entertainment.


Review: The Pin Up Boys

image for The Pin Up Boys
a New Zealand Comedy by Mark Rayner
directed by Linda Pudney

Cast
Doris - Francene McIlroy
Percy - David Lundon
William - Rhys Owen
J.T. - Joshua Bruce
Stacey - Jo Olsen
Ricky - Blair Corbett
Cheryl - Lisa Inman

Review by Rex Steele

The Notquiteso Full Monty

As it is not too inexplicable that despite a vibrant set, the paucity of patrons, where precious little work gets done has resulted in a drop of profits, the challenge that faces these real men is the need to reverse the ill fortunes of a customer deprived emporium and save it from impending closure. So throw in a tad of youth’s eternal optimism and you get a pleasing development of unity amongst the quartet, rising to its zenith.

Blair as the laid back artist’s model, Joshua unsuccessfully parrying cupid’s arrow, Rhys enveloped by young family life’s vicissitudes, and David’s flab to fab carpe diem, delightfully unsure of where his character is leading him, are enthusiastically drawn together by Joanne, and combine in an unlikely melding of hard working Chipperfields.

Though Francene establishes embittered dominance early, poor Doris certainly gets her share of adjectives: homophobic, miserable, flabby, old, cow, but retorts with acerbic rejoinders aplenty. “How can you go on strike? You don’t get paid to work here!”

We relished the irony of the resident kleptomaniac Lisa, adding extra layers as the montyites took theirs off. And though I had hoped for a little interconnection amongst the shoplifter, the Harry Potter, and the break in, it was not to be.

Substituting valiantly, Director Linda achieves an audience’s delight, who gloss happily over repetitive scene changes, but we are left quizzically wondering if new management would actually save the shop. The playwright Mark Rayner, gracing us with his presence on closing night, pronounced himself very well pleased with the production.

Review: The Graduate

image for The Graduate
a play adapted by Terry Johnson based on the novel by Charles Webb
directed by Bruce Brown

Cast
Benjamin Braddock - Josh Fleury
Mr. Braddock - Hamish Stevens
Mrs. Braddock - Katie Fullard
Mrs. Robinson - Julia Mitchell
Mr. Robinson - John Palmer
Desk Clerk/Priest - Shannon Lengauer
Stripper/Psychiatrist - Amie Bentall
Elaine Robinson - Rebekkah Farrell

Review by Rex Steele

“She’s young enough to be my age,” says Benjamin of his girlfriend Elaine, daughter of Mrs Robinson while she taunts back with, “I’m twice your age, you’ll never be young again”. So does age become one of several ongoing themes. Written and set in the 60’s, and yes I actually remember the Mona Lisa travelling to New York in its own cabin on the Queen Elizabeth, the film was iconic, but the play also passes the test of time.

Julia Mitchell is as always, a joy to watch, nailing her character with skilled accuracy. Josh Fleury brings a fresh naivety conveying the battle of intelligence versus hormones in a nicely modulated performance. Elaine’s frailty, baggage, and innocence are delicately captured by Rebekkah Farrell. The other five cast members meld seamlessly, delineating the multiple supporting roles convincingly, with my biased preference being the therapist who misses the point in so many delicious ways.

The Hardingesque neutrally blending set contains a fluidly versatile bed, transmogrifying, through its comptrollers into a plethora of lives of its own, and assisted by a subtle lighting plot, does it all brilliantly.

Tension, in various forms is skilfully controlled through several scenes as the nihilists and the grotesques vie for supremacy. Director Bruce Brown has presented a gem in this production, leaving us to decide if it is really a happy or a not so happy ending, and debating whether we would actually like to be related to any of them. “Just tell me to leave and I’ll leave, call me a cab and pour me into it.”

Review: The End of the Golden Weather

image for The End of the Golden Weather
written by Bruce Mason
directed by Julian Harrison

Cast
Narrator - David Charteris
Firpo - Andrew Norman
Ensemble - Helene Holman, Arthur Young, Pam Browne, Brian Keegan, Junior Misimoa, Joshua Bruce, Blair Corbett, Courtney Eggleton

Review by Rex Steele

This show belongs to David. His connection with, and passion for Mason, his evocation of the role making it truly his own, combine seamlessly to bring a not so typical thirteen year old to life. He is in command, and yet often paints himself into the background, switching continuously between sylphlike loner child of limited world experience and wise, questioning adult.

The cast, perfectly selected, meshes lovingly, dynamically crafting a plethora of memorable and believable characters peopling our own individual childhoods. What with Courtney’s mellifluous pedagogue, Junior’s sinuous wahine, Brian’s pontificating cleric, Blair’s rock cracking boxer, Helene’s austere carer, Joshua’s fragile brother, Arthur’s maniac surgeon, Pam’s magic synchronised swimming, and Andrew’s larger than life antiheroic creation of the unforgettable Firpo, we were spoilt for richness and diversity.

Individual imaginations roam free, visualising gorse and rabbits, freezing works depression when an orange is a precious Christmas gift, the long past delineation of traditional roles for Mum and Dad and hints of old England with full dress for the beach. A stylised set, symbolic of bach, beach and creek provided ample opportunity for technical creativity.

Director Julian reflects his own frenetic modus and originality and unifies it all. Whilst the end of the golden weather it may be, dressed as we are in the middle of March for mid summer, our enlivened thoughts could set off in yet another forboding path.