If you haven't watched a sheep pole dance before, then I suggest you get yourself some tickets to the Opunake Players Inc's production of Fleeced.

That's only one of many good reasons to go and see this show, but watching Barb the sheep (Michelle Julian) pole dancing was certainly a highlight for this reviewer.

Fleeced has to be one of the best things I have seen this theatre group put on, and full credit must go to Lynelle Kuriger who wrote and directed the show.

Lynelle has shown plenty of talent over the years as a playwrite, with two other plays to her name - Farm Supplies and Other Lies and Jersey Girls.

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While Jersey Girls was focused on (surprise surprise) a herd of cows, and Farm Supplies was all about a rural store, Fleeced puts the limelight on a flock of sheep and a couple of farm dogs.

Combined with some great music - mainly hits from the 70s, as well as an original piece by talented songstress and composer Chloe Danz - the show hits all the right notes.

With Lynelle at the helm, the show was always going to be good, but thanks to the excellent local talent cast in this, the show isn't just good, but flocking brilliant!

The story features a group of Romney ewes objecting the Suffolk rams put in with them, a couple of star-crossed (well, breed crossed anyway) lovers, a gender confused wether and a three legged love guru along with a couple of sheepdogs.

Every single actor in the stage is brilliant, but special mention has to be made of Christine Ryan's portrayal of Meg the dog who loves being told she is a 'good dog".

Christine somehow makes you completely believe she is a sheepdog, as she tilts her head, bounds after a bone and gets excited when she spots fresh dags to chew on.

Chloe Danz plays Juliet, and is perfectly cast. Her acting is excellent, but she really shines when singing. Chloe, who is one half of the international folk duo Unintentional Strangers, has a wonderful mellifluous voice that I could listen to for hours. (The good news is - thanks to her success with Unintentional Strangers, you can buy a CD and do just that!). Chloe didn't just bring her talent to the stage on the night, but also put her hand to composing a new song for the show, when performing rights weren't available for one of the songs Lynelle had in mind for the show.

Steph Mackenzie plays one of Juliet's fellow sheep, Baa, and is superb in her role. Her dancing is excellent and she is great fun to watch.

John McCarty is well cast as Rameo, and he and Chloe have a great chemistry on stage. Michael McCarty as Woolberg is another case of good casting, and his scenes with Michelle Julian (Barb) are among the funniest of the show.

Eric (John Smith) might cough more than he talks in this show, but somehow he still stands out. I don't quite know how an actor can put so much into a cough, but John does - and it pays off!

This show also benefits from some great set design and costume. I didn't know orange flowery tights would make me think of a Romney ewe, but somehow they did!

With this version of Romeo and Juliet featuring a ram called Rameo, my love of puns is such that I wish Lynelle had renamed Juliet to Eweliet! That really is the only criticism I can come up with for this show however - it is such a well put together piece of theatre overall.

This isn't a show for kids - it's got plenty of adult humour in it, but it is a show to make you laugh out loud, sing and dance along and keep you smiling the whole way home.
If you haven't already, book tickets and treat yourself to a great night out in Opunake.