When you walk into a theatre and There's No Business Like Show Business is playing you know you're there to be entertained.

So it is with Kindly Leave The Stage.

This play within a play brings a wild romp that its cast finds as confusing as their audience.

The lines between "real" theatre and the "pretend" variety become very blurred which is the whole point of the plot.


It's all part of the fun from the comedic pen of John Chapman, whose Emmy-winning career was established writing farce for London's legendary Whitehall Theatre.

The Rotorua Little Theatre's (RLT) eight-person company has transported it well to the local stage.

Under Val Isherwood's direction, each feeds off the others' talents in a complex plot that starts with a dinner party which, true to farcical form, deteriorates into matrimonial disharmony and threats of divorce.

Conveniently the lawyers-to-be for both sides are the warring couple's guests.

As the production unfolds the antics heap up, beginning when one of the faux play's actors misses a prompt.

Tim Eardly and Ian Stabler, who've become regular RLT fixtures, lead the acting charge with excellent support from "wives" Angela Frank and Bobby Love.

Diane Pasco, playing a faded character actress, introduces her own touch of tragi-comedy but it's when her "husband", the inebriated Edward, (Leigh Taylor) stumbles on in the second act that the plot really goes to pot.

A one-time Shakespearean "star", at least in his eyes, his King Lear monologues are pure gold.

Young prompt Angela, played by Kira Lees, mustn't be overlooked. Bit part hers may be but she's one to watch for more demanding future roles.

Rounding off the ensemble is the ever-dependable Wendy Burgess, the make-believe theatre's nurse.

It's a grouping that's gelled to give their audience a hilarious behind-the-scenes peek at what happens when a shot at amateur dramatics goes chaotically wrong, bringing pure shambles to the Shambles.

WHAT: Kindly Leave The Stage
WHERE: Shambles Theatre
WHEN: Until November 18