Review: Details but little drama

By Janet McAllister

Actors Stephen Lovatt (left) and Edwin Wright star in Everest Untold. Photo / Supplied
Actors Stephen Lovatt (left) and Edwin Wright star in Everest Untold. Photo / Supplied

This is more of an illustrated lecture than a play; our presenters are purportedly two members of the first successful Everest expedition, but we don't really get to know them properly. Instead - after we're invited to sing God Save the Queen, indicating that we've travelled back in time to the late 1950s or thereabouts - we're given a slide show and an awfully large number of facts.

They're very interesting facts - about politics getting in the way of earlier ascents ("you just couldn't get at the bally place") and a character called "Bruiser" Bruce being the first to use oxygen back when it "simply wasn't cricket". Such details are backed up by wonderful historic photographs and diagrams, and Stephen Lovatt as expedition leader Sir John Hunt is great - there's a twinkle in his eye as he sizes up the audience - and Edwin Wright as George Lowe makes for a fun New Zealand foil for British Sir John. But the two actors are given very little room to develop character.

Everest Untold is a nice reminder that Sir Ed and Tenzing Norgay couldn't have made it without other team members laying supplies.

Gareth Davies' script makes for good history instruction if you don't know the story, but it's not very dramatic.

What: Everest Untold

When: To June 4

Where: Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre

- NZ Herald

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