Marital comedies get the laughs

By Laurel Stowell

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The Repertory stage crew managed flawless scene changes, spotlights and sound effects.
The Repertory stage crew managed flawless scene changes, spotlights and sound effects.

Punctuated with screams and laughter, two one-act plays by April Phillips went down well with the audience on their opening night at Whanganui's Repertory Theatre on Thursday.

Both were marital comedies, with a bed centre stage in each. They pulled out classic lines and characters - the dog that bit the mother-in-law, the battle over the toilet seat, an urbane James Bond and a gruff Don Corleone.

In Snip, directed by Beverley Pearce, wife Jenny wants hubby Frank to have a vasectomy. Don Corleone tells him to stand up to her - but then the doctor turns out to be a woman, the Fairy Godmother no less, with terrifying results.

In Bonking James Bond, directed by Kerry Girdwood, Betty discovers her husband is having an affair. She thinks about responding with violence, despair or seduction - but settles on making him jealous by having an imaginary affair with James Bond.

Each play has four actors, and three of them were in both plays. Phil Hudson was two different husbands, with Jessica Alder his two wives - an especilly assertive one in Snip and an increasingly confident "kiss kiss bang bang Betty" in Bonking James Bond.

Carey Knapp played the fantasy character in each - and was especially glorious as a suave James Bond shooting himself in the foot.

Annie Gilroy was the scary doctor in Snip, and Bridget Hurley the silent and seductive Bond girl in Bonking James Bond.

Both plays used darkness during scene changes. Bonking James Bond was more successful, faster paced and its device of having everyone on stage with a spotlight only the action worked beautifully.

Playwright April Phillips spent time working in Whanganui's Four Seasons professional theatre in the 1980s. She went on to write some of the most frequently performed plays in New Zealand - Stiff and Death & Taxes especially.

The double bill has two more performances - September 17 at 7.30pm and the next day at 2pm.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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