The Bard goes Kiwi
Will Cinderella get her man? Will the ugly stepsisters get a date with a local? Will the fairy godmother’s i- wand work?
Roger Hall’s Cinderella the Pantomime was originally performed in Auckland in 1978. It was re-written for its first season at Circa in 2005.
Now the pantomime has been redeveloped further and has a modern twist complete with i-wands, princely walkabouts and up-to-date political satire.
Lyndee-Jane Rutherford, who plays the fairy godmother, said pantomimes were a popular form of theatre in Wellington.
‘‘ They come knowing the running gags, like they will have to scream out, ‘ He’s behind you’. They also know we’ve developed the local gags that we do every year. So they’re expecting things like there will be a poor, lonely widow.’’
In the past five years more then 43,000 people have gone to the 240-seat theatre to watch Hall’s pantomimes.
Lyndee- Jane said the new Cinderella script was very different to the 2005 season version.
‘‘It’s a really great script. The actors are just thrilled with it. It just zips along,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s really modern, even though it’s a classic. I mean, I have an i-wand.’’
Gavin Rutherford, who plays ugly stepsister Bertha Hardup, said his favourite part was talking directly to the audience.
‘‘ There’s none of this pretending that they’re [the audience] not there,’’ he said.
‘‘If you’re in a scene where you’re sitting in a cafe in Cuba St and somebody in the audience says something, then they’re sitting there with you.’’ A feature of Hall’s pantomimes is the political satire.
‘‘There are a lot of generic political gags, which people have come to know and love,’’ Gavin said. Cinderella the Pantomime, Circa Theatre, on now till January 12. William Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It gets a Kiwiana twist in Stagecraft’s final production for 2012.
Classic Kiwi songs replace the Bard’s ‘ hey nonny, nonny’ efforts, the hero’s wrestling match becomes a sheep-shearing competition and the forest of Arden is transformed into a country pub of the same name.
Director Benjamin Haddock says the intent was to capture the fun in the way Shakespeare might have done himself if he visited modern, rural New Zealand.
Twelve- year- old Niamh Vaughan was a last minute re-casting and was word-perfect within a week.
She is very excited about her role.
‘‘I was supposed to be coming to watch the play. My friends are pretty jealous that I’m in it now,’’ she says.
At over 70, veteran local actor Rose Hudson has found line-learning a bit of a challenge.
‘‘Ad-libbing is out. Shakespeare’s famous words must be perfect, as there is bound to be an enthusiast in the audience one night who knows the lot.’’
As You Like It,
Show-stoppers: Lyndee-Jane Rutherford as the fairy godmother and Gavin Rutherford as one of the ugly stepsisters in Roger Hall’s Cinderella the Pantomime.
Milking Shakespeare: Actors Rose Hudson and Niamh Vaughan help inject some Kiwi flavour into the Bard’s As You Like it.