What: The Pink Hammer
Where: Little Theatre, McGrath St, Napier
When: Currently until-November 21, 7.30pm Tickets at iTicket.co.nz
Reviewed by: Keith Russell
A collision between old school carpentry and modern sexual politics sent the woodchips flying in Napier Repertory Players final 2020 production. Written by NZ playwright Michele Amas, who has won or been nominated for a number of literary awards during her sadly short distinguished theatre, television and radio career.
Director Monique Cowern has assembled a talented cast who seize the comic opportunities in a script that makes good use of the double entendre within the terminology of the building trade.
I must bring to your attention during this two and a half hour performance adult themes are present, along with language which may offend.
The set, construction by Peter Hurley along with Jeff Elkins, immediately provides the background for four women of differing personalities to answer personal challenges and for unlikely friendships to develop.
Linda Welch as Helen did well to convey all the mysteries of a horse breeder struggling to deal with depression. Anybody who enters a set on a bicycle is going to get our attention and Liv Whyte as Siobhan the Irish free spirit with a fondness for saucy phone repartee certainly does.
By contrast Kirsty Daly as Louise the neurotic nurse played her part to perfection, the weight of the world was on her shoulders and we all saw this powerful portrayal.
Making the most of her character Emily Miller-Matcham as Annabelle the acid tongued counsellor who is championing various liberal causes was both over the top and understated, a polished performance.
Quinn Sutherland as Woody made all the right moves to win our sympathy as the sole beleaguered male who finds both his man-cave and his life invaded.
Interestingly this is one play where characters not on stage generate as many laughs as the performers. Why Woody's wife ran off with the money was maybe worth a play in its own right?
Sound and lighting by Hurley contributed to our enjoyment, along with all cast members clearly projected voices and their comic timing was a joy to watch.
While Amas has not written the quintessential NZ comedy, too much seriousness in the second half, some predictability of how the story ends, as we deal with elaborate backstories of abandonment, isolation and broken relationships.
You could almost say she tried to do too much but no mind, it deserves an above average pass mark and all the signs were there that she was well on the way to take her place as another of NZ theatre's best social commentators.
Napier Repertory Players are to be congratulated not only for the excellent production values, but more importantly for bringing this insightful, from the female perspective NZ 'comedy of manners' to the local stage.