Reper­tory con­jures up bawdy briliance

Te Puke Times - - News -

Try this for size or Mous­taches Muffs & Min­strels, di­rected by Di Leach

Don’t miss this naughty, funny, clever play set in an 1800s, rat-in­fested hovel.

As soon as I saw the aus­tere hovel made of ki­wifruit bins with mush­rooms grow­ing through the floor, and sexy bloomers hang­ing up to dry, I knew it would be en­ter­tain­ing.

De­siree, a very at­trac­tive, poor widow with red hair (Brenda Cooke) and her beau­ti­ful young daugh­ter Char­lotte (Tahlia Sin­gle­ton) are about to be evicted into the snow. Sir Jasper the vil­lain (Glenn Ward) is the evil land­lord chas­ing his rent. What a com­mand­ing per­for­mance as he fright­ens us and the ladies. And every time any­one opens the door, the snow blows in.

Roger the Min­strel (Jack Brawn) is a young law stu­dent who has left law to earn money as a mu­si­cian, but he sings like a stran­gled cat in a long drop. “Have you thought about go­ing back to law?” I wanted to ask him as he earnestly tries to help Char­lotte and De­siree.

I re­ally en­joyed this young man, but can see why Molly pays him not to sing.

Roger’s gi­ant cod­piece and 1800s cos­tume were as in­ter­est­ing as his ideas about money — who wants to be a mil­lion­aire with the bother of a coun­try es­tate and a mar­ble swim­ming pool.

John Mid­dle­ton the val­u­a­tion man (Alan Chap­man) ar­rives to value the hovel and the fun con­tin­ues with lots of lo­cal ref­er­ences, which re­ally made the play for me.

Land agents Julie (Stacey Wylie) and Jenny (Mag­gie Mar­riner) try to sell the hovel to Mrs Shut­tle­cock (Pam Chap­man) — com­plete with rats and cob­webs, ar­gu­ing that hov­els are meant to be filthy — it’s part of their charm. And what great in­doorout­door flow, they con­tinue.

Nar­ra­tor Liz Church comes com­plete with vi­olin and an­cient cos­tume.

The show moves along at a per­fect pace and is very pol­ished.

Add in some frilly skirts and a cho­rus (Norma Car­ney was great) and the show comes alive.

It is ex­tremely well cast — Tahlia was bril­liant as the hero­ine.

This is one of the best Te Puke Reper­tory pro­duc­tions I have seen. Full marks for the cos­tumes, which are de­light­ful to study dur­ing this raunchy romp.

— Mary Win­ter­ing­ham

Jack Brawn (Roger the Min­strel), Tahlia Sin­gle­ton (Char­lotte) and Brenda Cooke (the poor mum) from Te Puke Reper­tory Theatre’s pro­duc­tion Try this for size or Mous­taches Muffs & Min­strels.

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