The Bard goes Kiwi

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

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,

Photo: STEPHEN A’COURT

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.

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