The Royal New Zealand Navy is set to visit Hawke's Bay in colourful and entertaining style this month - although they will arrive by land and not sea.

They will be led by a familiar face in the form of Lieutenant Commander Mark Hadlow, who has an extensive acting and direction background, and the naval "display" he and the service are bringing to Napier is titled The Complete History of the Royal New Zealand Navy (Abridged) - which creative director Lieutenant Commander Hadlow described as "song, satire and silliness".

It has been written by Gregory Cooper as part of the navy's Operation Neptune celebrations which are being staged this year to commemorate the service's 75th birthday and there will be three performances staged in Napier at the Municipal Theatre and the MTG Hawke's Bay Century Theatre.

"It's great to get it here," the region's navy liaison officer, Lieutenant Commander Neville Smith, said.


The show is described as an educational comedy which takes the audience on a fast-paced and interactive journey telling the story of the navy through the decades.

Napier mayor Bill Dalton said the city was proud to be able to do its bit to help celebrate the Royal New Zealand Navy's 75 years, had waived the theatre-hire fee and would commit resources to the production when it was in town.

Lieutenant Commander Hadlow said the show was similar to theatresports - moving at pace, never having a dull moment and involving the audience. It will be staged for three nights from August 24. All proceeds go to charities.

Seimens, which has a long association with the navy, is sponsoring the show's tour. While in Napier the navy players will perform a free pantomime for primary and intermediate school children, called Commander Claire and the Pirates of Provence.

■Tickets to The Complete History of the Royal New Zealand Navy (Abridged) are $20, available from the Napier Municipal Theatre or by phoning 06 835 1059.