Com­edy the blokes will en­joy


A com­i­cal con­ver­sa­tion over­heard on a bus about a way­ward bach­e­lor party was the in­spi­ra­tion for Stag Week­end, which plays at Cen­tre­point Theatre from April 1 for an ex­tended six-week sea­son.

Di­rected by Cen­tre­point’s artis­tic di­rec­tor Jeff Kings­ford-Brown, Stag Week­end was writ­ten by Cantabri­ans Dan Bain and Bren­don Ben­netts and had its world pre­miere in Christchurch in 2014.

Stag Week­end ex­poses the world of male shenani­gans and the inevitable clashes that re­sult when mates with vary­ing ideas about what makes for a good time reunite in the Tararuas. The show prom­ises a trail of car­nage slammed to­gether with loads of laughs when the four very dif­fer­ent friends set out to bag a stag.

Si­mon (Kieran Fos­ter), the groom, is your av­er­age guy who is des­per­ately in search of what it means to be a real man in today’s mod­ern world. He’s look­ing to his best mates for guid­ance.

Andrew (Andrew Ford) is the one who seems to have it all – he’s set­tled, with a good job and plans for the fu­ture, but all is not what it seems. Pro­fes­sional, pol­ished and in his el­e­ment in a met­ro­sex­ual city en­vi­ron­ment, his ve­neer starts to slip when con­fronted by the re­al­ity of the Tararuas.

‘‘ Stag Week­end man­ages to com­bine big, broad laughs,’’ says Ford, who reprises his role as Andrew hav­ing ap­peared in the orig­i­nal pro­duc­tion at The Court Theatre. ‘‘It’s also a thought­ful and heart­felt ex­am­i­na­tion of what it means to be a man in New Zealand – an im­por­tant topic.’’

Charis­matic, al­ter­na­tive lifestyler Tim (Ben van Lier) is put out when he re­alises that not all things in life are as easy to ob­tain as they have been in the past. There are some sit­u­a­tions that a win­ning grin and and in­stant gui­tar melody just can’t fix.

‘‘I’m thor­oughly look­ing for­ward to per­form­ing Stag Week­end,’’ says van Lier. ‘‘Com­edy is prob­a­bly my favourite genre to per­form and it’s been a while since I’ve had the op­por­tu­nity to do so. A lot of laughs with a bit of drama sprin­kled over the top – what more could you ask for?’’

Fi­nally, tra­di­tional Kiwi bloke Gary (Thomas Knowles) can­not un­der­stand why his boy­hood mate wants to do any­thing other than hunt, drink, vomit and build stuff be­cause that’s what real blokes do… don’t they?

Per­son­al­i­ties clash and the jokes tum­ble out as the four de­bate the mer­its of glad-wrap­ping the naked groom to a pole ver­sus an af­ter­noon at the driv­ing range fol­lowed by wine tast­ing. One thing the four­some can agree on are the in­di­vid­ual changes that each has un­der­gone since high school days.

Play­wrights Bren­don Ben­netts and Dan Bain have worked to­gether for over 10 years. With this play they wanted to re­place the short­lived na­ture of im­pro­vi­sa­tion that they are known for in Christchurch with a script that would last. ‘‘We started Stag Week­end over five years ago pre-earth­quakes. Ev­ery place that we started writ­ing has now fallen down! It shows the de­struc­tive power of our writ­ing, no build­ing can with­stand it!’’ says Bain.

Dur­ing the writ­ing process, Bain was one of Ben­nett’s grooms­men but there, they in­sist, any sim­i­lar­ity to the play ends.

To win a dou­ble pass to Stag Week­end, post your stag/hen night hor­ror story to Cen­tre­point Theatre’s Face­book page. Win­ners will be drawn weekly through­out the sea­son.

Stag Week­end runs at Cen­tre­point from April 1 to May 14. Tick­ets: Adults $40, un­der 30/com­mu­nity ser­vices card/se­nior $32, ter­tiary $20, high school $18, group 10+ $36 pp. Book­ings 06-354-5740 or www.cen­tre­

Cast of Cen­tre­point’s Stag Week­end (from left) Thomas Knowles, Kieran Fos­ter, Andrew Ford and Ben van Lier.

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