What may well be the quintessential Kiwi love story is brought to life in an utterly charming show that has intimate family history blended with a heartfelt tribute to New Zealand songwriting.

With a very tight band and two actors who are both strong singers, Daffodils delivers stripped-down versions of a brilliantly chosen assortment of great Kiwi love songs.

The performances are stylishly complemented by Garth Badger's superb video capturing the innocence and exuberance of a classic 60s romance.

Playwright Rochelle Bright gives depth to a basic boy-meets-girl story by building a finely balanced tension between male and female perspectives on the same events.


Todd Emerson belts out th' Dudes' paean to alcohol-fuelled escapism in Bliss and throws himself into the wild energy of She's a Mod and the Mint Chicks' Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! while Colleen Davis finds a different kind of buzz in the ethereal lyricism of Bic Runga's Drive and a richly emotional version of the Mutton Birds' Anchor Me.

The relationship comes to an ecstatic climax with Chris Knox's Not Given Lightly accompanied by a compelling real black and white montage of a small-town wedding that blows away the song's association with that Vogel's ad.

At this point the drama takes a surprising turn with Blam Blam Blam's punk anthem No Depression in New Zealand setting the tone for a fast-paced excursion through the tribulations of mortgages, unsatisfying jobs and the anguish of child-rearing with an emotionally absent father.

The slide towards disintegration is perfectly captured in a haunting rendition of Crowded House's Fall At Your Feet and the tragedy of words unspoken is movingly evoked in Dave Dobbyn's Language.

There is no Hollywood happy ending but the Exponents' bittersweet sing-along I'll Say Goodbye (Even Though I'm Blue) ensures this must-see show ends on a high note.

What: Daffodils
Where: Q Theatre, until March 29