Auckland Theatre Company's production of Last Legs features a star-studded cast of New Zealand talent including Catherine Wilkin, Mark Hadlow, Alison Quigan, Louise Wallace, Ray Henwood ONZM and Jude Gibson. The play opens at Baycourt in October but Jaden McLeod went to Auckland to get a taste of what we have to look forward to.
"So, we can have driverless cars but we can't land a plane in f**king fog?"
This gem is from the latest Roger Hall play, Last Legs, staged at the ASB Waterfront Theatre.
The same production, produced by the Auckland Theatre Company, will tour New Zealand and appear at Baycourt from October 13-15.
Directed by Colin McColl, the play is set in a wealthy retirement home on the North Shore of Auckland.
The cast and characterisation was strong - Alison Quigan, in particular, stood out as Edna, a feminist revolutionary with a wry humour and easy relatability. And that is the thing about the characters, though you may not like them all, you can relate to them.
Edna (Quigan) discussed poverty and homelessness, a topical issue in New Zealand. She also discussed mortality, as did many of the characters, including Garry - played by Mark Hadlow - who refused to discuss 'the D word'.
Again, immediate relatability, because as humans, if we are truly honest with ourselves, we are seldom capable of coming to terms with one of the only inevitabilities of life - death.
The set design was contemporary and modern. It almost looked like a chess-set, with sparse chairs, two indoor plants and several playing pieces - a knight, two rooks and a queen centred in the middle of the set. The lighting was simple but utilised effectively.
Roger Hall, one of our country's most prolific playwrights, can be given a bad rap by critics. I have been one in the past.
Yet, without fail, he writes to his own experiences as he ages, and somehow still allows it to feel applicable to people of all ages.
The use of vignettes along with small skits breaking up the main plotline were met with raucous laughter.
People said 'I shouldn't be laughing at this' as older female characters played by Louise Wallace, Catherine Wilkin, Margaret-Mary Hollins and Quigan struggled with each other's disabilities and illnesses. Yet it is a reminder that sometimes, making light of difficult situations is a necessary coping mechanism in life.
Though the chaotic ending plot seemed slightly farcical and had an air of going over old ground, the production was polished, intelligent and included some political commentary through dialogue that I thoroughly enjoyed. An enjoyable evening!