Theatre review: The Pink Hammer, Tadpole Productions, The Pumphouse

By Paul Simei-Barton

Louise Wallace joins (from left) Paul Glover, Lisa Chappell, Annie Whittle and Darien Takle in The Pink Hammer.
Louise Wallace joins (from left) Paul Glover, Lisa Chappell, Annie Whittle and Darien Takle in The Pink Hammer.

An explosive collision between old school carpentry and contemporary sexual politics sends sparks flying in Tadpole Productions' rollicking comedy of manners, The Pink Hammer.

Playwright Michele Amas cleverly engineers a scenario that has an authentic kiwi bloke blackmailed into providing carpentry lessons for a lively quartet of women who are more interested in socialising than acquiring DIY skills.

The chippie, who has managed to remain oblivious to the decades of feminist advancement, finds the sanctuary of his shed turned upside down as the women casually deposit their emotional baggage all over his meticulously ordered work benches.

Director Janice Finn has assembled a dream cast who seize the comic opportunities in a script that makes good use of the abundant sexual innuendo lurking within the terminology of the building trade.

Lisa Chappell is exuberantly bold and brassy as an Irish good-time-girl with a fondness for phone sex. By contrast, Darien Takle is nervous as a mouse playing a put-upon nurse weighed down by the demands of caring for her mother.

Louise Wallace brings an acid tongue to an excruciatingly pretentious therapist who is the passive-aggressive mouthpiece for various liberal causes.

Annie Whittle conveys an aura of mystery as a laconic horse breeder dealing with depression and Paul Glover wins sympathy as the beleaguered male reluctantly getting in touch with his sensitive side.

In the second half, the comedy gives way to a serious meditation on mortality and friendship expressed through elaborate backstories that stretch the show to two-and-half hours including interval.

With a tangle of plot twists confounding expectations, some momentum is lost but the comedy triumphantly reassert itself as Darien Takle sheds her inhibitions during a riotous night on the booze.

What: The Pink Hammer
Where and when: The Pumphouse, Takapuna to October 23.

- NZ Herald

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