Theatre review: Polo, SkyCity Theatre

By Paul Simei-Barton

Add a comment
Cast of nine ensure laughs come thick and fast in satire on city’s moneyed classes.
Lisa Chappell and Harry McNaughton star in Auckland Theatre Company's 2016 season-opening production of Dean Parker's play Polo. Photo / Michael Craig
Lisa Chappell and Harry McNaughton star in Auckland Theatre Company's 2016 season-opening production of Dean Parker's play Polo. Photo / Michael Craig

A new work by Dean Parker fizzes with witty one-liners that coalesce into a free-wheeling satire on the shallowness and depravity of Auckland's moneyed classes.

The multi-stranded narrative features a vaguely familiar story about the husband of a National Party MP using political connections to promote shady business deals but most of the action focuses on the increasingly intoxicated shenanigans at the Clevedon Polo Club.

Set against the frenetic debauchery of high society is the easy-going ambience of an inner-city flat shared by a promiscuous waiter and a street philosopher with a quirky take on Auckland's unseen geography.

By avoiding a dominant storyline or an easily identified main character the de-centred structure puts a brake on the audience's emotional engagement - but it is easy to sit back and enjoy the laughs which come thick and fast as director Colin McColl has the actors lined across the stage like a troupe of stand-up comedians.

The nine characters are all clearly delineated and a quality cast delivers high energy performances that often work against expectations.

Lisa Chappell's take on a right wing politician features hilarious put downs on the dreariness of left-wingers. Adam Gardiner exudes a love of life as a crudely acquisitive property developer while Katrina Wesseling brings energy to the frivolities of an aspiring socialite.

James Maeva is a suave, laid-back wine-waiter and his flatmate, played by Kalyani Nagarajan, finds a sense of irony in fragments of information gleaned from the internet.

The most sympathetic character emerges from Taylor Barrett's portrait of an amiable drunk who has rejected his privileged upbringing and clings to a romantic vision forged on an acid trip on Takapuna Beach.

What: Polo
Where: SkyCity Theatre
When: to February 28.
Learn more: www.atc.co.nz/whats-on/2016/polo

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 27 Sep 2016 01:22:40 Processing Time: 278ms