The world premiere of David Tristram's latest play, Lockdown in Little Grimley, took place in Taranaki last week and is set to thrill audiences around Taranaki until the end of the month.
The show is being performed in theatres and rest homes around Taranaki, starting with the premiere on Friday night at the New Plymouth Repertory Society, followed by a Saturday night performance at the Opunake Lakeside Playhouse, the performance on which this review is based.
Directed by Morris West, who also plays the part of Gordon, the chairman of the Little Grimley Amateur Dramatic Society, the play gets the audience laughing from the moment it starts.
While this is doubtless greatly helped by having a fantastic script from the desk of UK playwright David Tristram, it is thanks to the comedic timing of the tight knit and talented cast of four that this production is just quite as funny as it is.
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The premise is simple - a local theatre group are working out what to do after Covid-19 has hit and forced them into lockdown. With equally simple staging and costume requirements, it is really up to the four cast members to turn the story into the memorable show it is.
Morris is certainly a talented actor but he is well matched on stage by his peers in this production. From Lynda West's delightfully snobby Margaret, the diva actress of the Little Grimley Amateur Dramatic Society, to Terry Darby's bumbling yet lovable Bernard and Jenny Lawn's hilariously ditsy Joyce, the society's secretary, each of the actors brought depth to their characters ensuring they were all more than a one dimensional stereotype.
The script is great, and the laughs were therefore always going to be guaranteed at times, but much of the merriment on the night comes from the absolutely brilliant facial expressions and full body acting from each of the performers. Terry Darby's use of a tape measure in some of the earlier moments of the play was pure brilliance for example.
Jokes abut lockdown, toilet rolls and social distancing all help to keep the audience laughing, but the four actors also ensure a strong story is told over the laughter.
Not only will the play have you laughing and feeling better about lockdown than you might have thought possible, but it also serves as a fundraiser for Hearing Dogs NZ, meaning you can have a great night out while supporting a fantastic cause at the same time. Adding to the feel good factor on the second night of the show was the announcement at the start that the audience numbers were large enough that they had hit profit mode, meaning money was now set to start going to Hearing Dogs NZ.
If you haven't already been to one of the performances, make sure you do find yourself a seat at one of the upcoming shows, as you are in for an absolute treat of a production. Local talent, a great script and a good cause all combine for ensuring a night out watching Lockdown in Little Grimley will be packed full of laughs. Just maybe leave the younger folks at home - it's certainly an R13 perhaps, unless you want to find yourself explaining the ins and outs (pun intended) of the sex life of whales and rhinos to your children on the way home.