Rest homes cultivate comedy
Rest homes are proving to be fertile ground for playwright Roger Hall as he glides past 40 something years of delivering box office gold to New Zealand theatre.
Last Legs has all the elements of Hall’s inimitable brand arranged with the cosy convenience of a welldesigned retirement unit. The sharply drawn characters canvas a range of recognisable Kiwi types and grant audiences the pleasure of seeing their own stories presented on stage.
Vivid observations of personal foibles generate plenty of humour and a hint of pathos as characters reflect on the disappointments that occasionally bring them to the brink of despair. A smattering of gentle satire on political follies and pop- feisty and engaging as the longsuffering wife of a dodgy real-estate agent with an electrifying stage presence thanks to Mark Hadlow’s bravado performance.
Ray Henwood finds an appropriately laconic tone for a retired university professor, rejuvenated by an affair with a flirtatious actress and Catherine Wilkins brings an appealingly independent spirit to her nuanced portrayal of a woman of ill-repute.
Alison Quigan displays faultless comic timing as a Forest & Bird stalwart who once made herself selfsufficient in cucumbers while Margaret Mary Hollins captures the aloof snobbery of an academic wife trying to fill the void of a loveless marriage.