Te Puke Times
Cast do spadework to cultivate laughter
Comedy turns spotlight on keen Kiwi gardeners
It was said of Te Puke in its settler days: “Tickle the Earth with a hoe and it will laugh a harvest”. The same could be said about Te Puke Repertory’s latest production.
Gone to Seed is a Kiwi comedy involving the adventures of a local gardening club.
While taking their roles very seriously, the cast has found time to re-enact them by recently visiting the community garden.
Gone to Seed is in final rehearsals, with director Bernard Holmes delighted with progress.
“We have an excellent cast, and I am particularly pleased to have talented people like Callum Mckenzie back on stage”.
Callum is the creator of Te Puke Fitness. He also has a long history in theatre with many leading roles in the 80s and 90s at Taupo¯’s Centrestage.
He won a Lakes District Best Actor Award for his role as George Bishop in Joyful and Triumphant.
In Te Puke we remember him in Taking Leave and Calendar Girls and now, he says, he is out of retirement and awaiting opening night. Callum loves theatre.
“It is great to get away from work, that daily grind, and have fun with good people,” he says.
These thoughts are shared by Hamish Avery, who plays the role of a bumbling detective. It’s quite a departure from his career as a teacher at Pongakawa School.
Hamish, though, is no stranger to the stage. He appeared in several school productions at Te Puke High School as well as at Litt Park in Nobody`s from Nowhere . He is enjoying rehearsing with some awesome talent.
“My kids and wife Charlie help with lines and advice. It`s a fun escape and I hate gardening,” says Hamish.
By contrast, Kay Aldridge is a creative florist who has been cast as Elizabeth, a retired judge.
Locals may recall her from Calendar Girls and Moustaches, Muffs, and Minstrels. Kay also brings acting experience from Papatoetoe Light Opera and lead roles at Kaitaia College, such as Katerina in The Taming of the Shrew.
Maureen, a rival of Elizabeth, is played by Maggie Marriner, previously head of drama at Aquinas College, with many shows to her credit.
“We have been rehearsing long and hard, but it is worth it when you see the smile on the face of the audience,” she says.
Other cast members are Vince Shaw, Brendan Smith, Brenda Cooke, Colleen Pye and Elizabeth Rose.