By all accounts Olive Copperbottom: A Dickensian Tale of Love, Gin and the Pox, by Penny Ashton, is a musical comedy that will have you in fits of laughter.
Ashton is no stranger to one-woman shows with her award-winning show Promise and Promiscuity.
Olive Copperbottom: A Dickensian Tale of Love has also won awards including Best Overall Show Victoria Fringe, in Canada.
The show takes the audience through a "cast" of 15 gin-soaked characters.
Ashton will be on stage at the Toitoi Hawke's Bay Arts and Events Centre on July 15. Linda Hall asked her some questions ahead of her show.
Give us a short spiel on your show.
Olive CuBum is an award-winning Dickensian rollicking, romantic musical journey through 15 gin-soaked characters told with song, dance and questionable personal hygiene. It's Oliver! meets Blackadder with a saucy feminine twist. There's high kicks, drinking songs, prostitution, baddies, good sorts and one or two jokes to go with the Dickens quotes.
You are playing 15 characters — how do you remember who you are?
I mean does any of us truly know who we really are? Muscle memory of performing the script certainly helps. It's amazing how your body remembers things as a matter of habit once you've done the show over 150 times, lol.
Do you have a favourite character in this show?
Mrs Jemima Sourtart. She's a cockney who runs a home for Wayward Waifs and Strays and is a right old bag.
What do you love the most about being on stage?
Giving the audience a good time and an uplifting evening which is measured in the laughter noises that they make. If there are not enough laughs I get all very sad and spiral into depression and too many gins.
Is there anything that scares you about live performances?
You had your first look at the refurbished Opera House when you performed Promise and Promiscuity at Toitoi in December. What did you think?
I mean, has anyone in the history of time ever been disappointed in how goddamn gorgeous that building is. To be able to do my shows on that stage is actually amazing. I feel like I am part of a grand theatre tradition on stages like that. Which I guess I am, but you forget that when you are getting laced into a corset in a fire exit in Wanaka trying to not flash your bits to punters waiting outside who can see through the cracks if they try hard enough.
What are three favourite places you like to visit when you are in Hawke's Bay?
A winery, a winery and a winery. HA, seriously one winery a visit is great. Black Barn is seriously beautiful. I always love a good beach. And I'll be back to Waipawa's delightful theatre in October with my improvised Jane Austen musical, Austen Found.
What's next for you?
What a segue! My Improvised Musical Austen Found: The Undiscovered Musicals of Jane Austen with Lori Dungey and Jason Smith. We are touring with Arts on Tour to 29 towns in October/November.