Generally when someone stands up and says, "This was nothing to do with me," they are dissociating themselves from something that has gone horribly wrong.

At Switzer Residential Care in Kaitaia last week it came from general manager Jackie Simkins, and it was a compliment.

"This is what happens when you just let people get on with it," she said, as the curtain was about to come down on the Christmas production.

Resident Barbara Sobey confessed to being the instigator and script-writer, but the staff were in it up to their necks too. And while there was no nudity or profanity, there was a fair bit of toilet humour, the occasional flash of innuendo, and several references to flatulence.

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The Andrews Sisters opened with The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B, followed by the rest home initiation of one Mr Lushingham, whose eavesdropping on the conversation between a couple of plumbers, with references to rusty nipples, piles and wind, amongst other things, prompted possibly unwarranted consternation regarding the treatment he was about to receive.

A colourful Indian musical interlude was then followed by a sketch that gradually descended into choreographed confusion as preparations for a Christmas feast were interrupted by Old Mother Hubbard, who couldn't find her dog a bone, and Little Bo Peep, who, again, had lost her sheep.

She might have missed the significance of the chef's aside that her timing wasn't the best, her sheep (and Mrs Hubbard's bone) boiling away merrily on a stove somewhere offstage by that time.

Ms Peep continued to search for her sheep, however, and even though she heard them at one point — clearly taken in by a burst of baaaaing from somewhere down the back — was destined not to find them, while the Knave of Hearts' malfeasance, aided and abetted by Little Jack Horner, paved the way for the arrival of the Queen of Hearts, a suitably imperious Jackie Simkins, who was, of course, demanding her tarts.

Some might have suspected that her rapid descent from regal aloofness to ordering that every head in the room be removed from its owners' shoulders revealed a deep-seated and hitherto well hidden frustration with the Ministry of Health bureaucracy, but she really did seem to be acting.

The Queen of Hearts (Jackie Simkins) orders another crop of heads, from Little Bo Peep (Tash Grylls) and the Knave of Hearts (Shirley Kahi), while chef Evan Wood and Little Jack Horner (Noeline Savage) hope she hasn’t spotted them.
The Queen of Hearts (Jackie Simkins) orders another crop of heads, from Little Bo Peep (Tash Grylls) and the Knave of Hearts (Shirley Kahi), while chef Evan Wood and Little Jack Horner (Noeline Savage) hope she hasn’t spotted them.

To finish, everyone helped sing Barbara Sobey's version of the song telling the story of nine old ladies (as opposed to the original three) who were locked in the lavatory from Monday to Saturday.

Therein lay the toilet humour, Jackie no doubt being relieved to see that Barbara kept her promise that one of the ladies would not remove her knickers, the size of which were "something fantastic", in their entirety.

By that stage the tarts had turned up, and very nice they were too.

The Andrews Sisters, aka Georgie Atkin, Kim Hobson-Warrall and Liz White.
The Andrews Sisters, aka Georgie Atkin, Kim Hobson-Warrall and Liz White.

The audience certainly enjoyed the efforts of those who had gone to great lengths to entertain them.

And although Barbara might not have been alone in wondering if she would ever view the home's doctors, nurses and carers in the same light again.