Tauranga actress Natalie Wright is making her directing debut with her first adult show. Reporter Zoe Hunter shares her experience of opening night.
I'm picking Natalie Wright had fun directing her first adult cast show, especially when her task was to convince four Tauranga men to take their clothes off.
Her cast of Ladies Night includes a tutor at the local polytechnic, a musician, some who have been on stage before and boyfriends who had to agree on principle.
Despite some of her cast being relatively new to the stage, Wright has done a classy job of her directing debut of an adult show.
And her men have embraced the spotlight for the Stage Right performance.
Written by playwrights Stephen Sinclair and Anthony McCarten, the classic Kiwi comedy is about a group of blokes who decide a male strip show is a perfect way to escape from unemployment, child custody issues and depression and make some quick cash.
Suddenly, what was a drunken idea becomes a sell-out show.
As the opening night audience take their seats, Alec Were is already in character as Bernie the sleazy night club owner.
His character offers to take everyone's photos and ushers everyone to their seats, promising them a great night ahead.
He's even got a cocktail on offer at the Baycourt bar called the Bernie Wallbanger, with all proceeds going to prostate cancer awareness.
The show starts and the first act sets the scene and storyline. We see the men audition for their big act and receive advice from the super talented Anna Russo as former exotic dancer Glenda.
John McCarthy as "Graham" provides comedy as he eggs the men along.
Then the lights dim for the second act.
The two women next to me have been sitting quietly until now. They get the giggles as act two ramps up and the men perform their solo strip acts and group numbers.
Choreographer Laura Mansell deserves credit for the way she has tailored each man's dance to their character.
Paul King, Ryan Douglas, Kyle Page and Ryan Wood bring a level of playfulness and vulnerability to the stage as they dance semi-naked in the intimate setting of Baycourt's X-Space.
The group numbers are high energy and full of fun, leaving the audience with no choice but to clap, cheer and laugh along.
With their sneaky hot bodies, it is clear the men have worked incredibly hard behind the scenes for this show.
Plus, I think I have seen a different side to the multi-talented Brendon Weatherly who takes the show to a whole new level.
Overall, Ladies Night is a hilarious adult comedy about taking risks, friendships and a good dose of Kiwi 'can-do' spirit. It's a must-see in my books.
What: Ladies Night
When: November 27 to December 7
Where: Baycourt X-Space