Category Archives: Event

Plays, lectures & other outings

Boy + Dog

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Based on the novel by Mark Haddon
Adapted by Simon Stephens
Directed by Lara Macgregor
Featuring Tim Earl

Fifteen-year old mathematical genius Christopher Boone sees the world differently to everyone else. He knows all the countries of the world and their capital cities, every prime number up to 7,507, he doesn’t tell lies and his favourite colours are not yellow and brown.

When the neighbour’s dog is murdered, Christopher takes the investigation into his own hands and uncovers secrets that lead him far from home and change his life forever.

All the reviews rave about this:

A white stage reveals the inner-workings of a beautiful mind in this flawless piece of modern theatre.

If this was a movie, it would be nominated for an award.

In fact it’s won many….

It won the 2015 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, 2015 Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding New Broadway Play, the 2015 Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play, and the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play.

Given my experience with awards, it’s unlikely I would like it. Certainly the performance of Tim Earl is notable, if only for the amount of dialogue he has to remember.


It’s got a very ‘look-at-me, I’m a modern innovative piece of theatre’ tone to it. It certainly has humour and pathos, but I’m a cold hearted bastard and wasn’t taken in by the Boy’s story.  It could have done with more plot and less silly acrobatics.


The 2017 Armageddon event, at Horncastle Arena.

Miltos Yerolemou

This guy I didn’t know. He is in Game of Thrones playing a character I had forgotten from the books. Mildly entertaining fellow with little experience at these type of events.

Chad Coleman

Another unknown, although I had heard of ‘The Wire’  and ‘The Walking Dead’. Currently in The Expanse a series based on the James S. A. Corey novels.

Billy Boyd

Everyone’s favorite Hobbit and the most experienced conference talker, indulging in an  impromptu walking completion with the audience.


Ivana Baquero

Currently filming the second series of The Shannara Chronicles in NZ. Turns out she played the girl in Pan’s Labyrinth.

The least experienced presenter, but with an outgoing personality she spend most of the time talking with the host and swapping geekish stories.





By Ross Gumbley & Allison Horsley
Featuring Lara Macgregor & Eilish Moran
Weddings can be murder…

Prudence has come to the Hitchcock-themed MacGuffin Hotel for her niece Eden’s wedding to Montgomery Parker (yes, the Montgomery Parker). But when Eden’s disapproving mother Constance arrives, everyone finds themselves embroiled in a case of dangerous lies, suspicion and murder!

Cut off by a landslide, run by an amorous Austrian and filled with family secrets and homicidal tendencies, the MacGuffin is about to become home for a twisted story that even the Master of Suspense couldn’t have imagined…

It’s a black comedy Agatha Christie/Hitchcock story set in modern times (despite a very old-fashioned set). Eilish Moran is always good as the mother and Kathleen Burns brings out a familiar German accent.

It’s generally a fun romp, however the ending attempts to change the tone. I would have preferred an ending where the baddie gets away with evil doings. It may be unfashionable, but more fun and dramatic.

PM English

Simon William “Bill” English
(born 30 December 1961)

became Prime Minister-designate of New Zealand and leader of the National Party on 12 December 2016. Since 2008, he has been the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

PM Quits

John Phillip Key
(born 9 August 1961)

The 38th Prime Minister of New Zealand, in office since 2008. He led the New Zealand National Party from 2006 and has announced his resignation on 5 December 2016, effective from 12 December 2016.

Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde The Musical

Music & lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe & Nell Benjamin
Book by Heather Hach
Based on a novel by Amanda Brownand the Metro Goldwyn Mayer motion picture

Directed by Stephen Robertson
Musical Direction by Richard Marrett

The hit comedy film becomes a fresh, fun and upbeat musical that explodes on stage.

Perky, blonde college student Elle Woods has her life all planned out – but when her boyfriend dumps her for someone more “serious”, Elle follows him to Harvard Law School to prove she’s capable of much more than anyone thought…

It’s a vivacious heady mix of pink, pop music and prancing about. What I liked was the consistantly good music score throughout. Everyone was good, from the lead to minor characters.


Ellie Neal: Elle Woods
Damon Grebert-Wade: Warner Huntington III
Cameron Douglas: Emmett Forrest
Ali Harper: Paulette Bonafonté
Roy Snow: Professor Callahan
Jane Leonard: Vivienne Kensington
Lucy Porter: Enid Hoopes
Kira Josephson: Brooke Wyndham/Ensemble
Nomi Cohen: Serena
Erin Wells: Margot
Monique Clementson: Pilar
Emily Burns: D.A. Joyce Riley/Ensemble/Understudy Elle
Holly Stokes: Kate/Chutney/Ensemble
Kim Garrett: Judge/Store Manager/Ensemble
Ben Freeth: Aaron/Ensemble
Olly Humphries: Kyle/Ensemble
Greta Casey-Solly: Mom/Whitney/Ensemble
Nick Purdie: Dad/Winthrop/Dewey/Ensemble
Emiliano Pereyra: Nikos/Grandmaster Chad/Padamadan/Ensemble
Brylee Lockhart: Courtney/Cashier/Ensemble
Isaac Pawson: Carlos/Pforzheimer/Ensemble
Jack Marshall: Lowell/Reporter/Ensemble
Jeremy Hinman: Ensemble
Hayden Joseph Withers: Kiki/Ensemble
Julia Bell: Bookish Client/Ensemble
Gemma Kearney: Dance Captain/Ensemble/Stenographer


Richard Marrett: Conductor / Keyboard
Ben Eldridge: Guitar
Tim Sellars: Drums
Chris Wethey: Bass
Matthew Everingham: Assistant Conductor / Keyboard
Hamish Oliver: Alternate Keyboard


Ron Hewlett’s lost his job, his mortgage is overdue and his family’s on the brink of revolt. So when a Christchurch radio station offers a million dollars to anyone willing to streak naked at the Super Rugby final, Ron’s got nothing left to lose – except his pants.

How far will Ron go for his family? And how far will he get?

This a comedy is very specific to Christchurch, it features local radio hosts Simon & Gary and references local beaches and sports grounds. The family is very middle-lower class with a sullen teenage son and exuberant daughter who is an expert on military history.

The comedy is very broad and at times you can see the setup coming for the jokes. All done in the best possible taste and with lots of enthusiasm.

There isn’t any show parts for ‘character development’, the story moves at a good pace to it’s surprising end. This is a good laugh throughout and highly recommended. There is even ‘possible nudity’ .

Another Review



Evita is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. It concentrates on the life of Argentine political leader Eva Perón, the second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón. The story follows Evita’s early life, rise to power, charity work, and eventual death.


One of his shows was described as ‘Andrew Lloyd Weber’s latest re-arrangements of Mendelssohn’s greatest hits’. If correct, it means that Mendelssohn didn’t have that many hits. In fact there are many themes and melody’s that re-occur throughout this musical. Most of the songs are not that memorable. Everyone knows ‘Don’t cry for me’, but I have always preferred ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’.

And it’s not until this song comes along that the music really picks up. Near the eand I’m sure I heard a few bars of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ at the start of the song.

In retrospect, the story has some problems. Firstly it starts with Eva’s death, why I’m not sure as it robs the play of any dramatic narrative. But the main problem is the character of Eva. The play portrays her as an ambitious woman sleeping her way to the top of Argentine society, becoming aloof and a bit power mad before dying at 33. The play does not explain to my satisfaction why she was so loved by her people.

Wikipedia explains her better:
Eva Perón became powerful within the pro-Peronist trade unions, primarily for speaking on behalf of labor rights. She also ran the Ministries of Labor and Health, founded and ran the charitable Eva Perón Foundation, championed women’s suffrage in Argentina, and founded and ran the nation’s first large-scale female political party, the Female Peronist Party.
In 1951, Eva Perón announced her candidacy for the Peronist nomination for the office of Vice President of Argentina, receiving great support from the Peronist political base, low-income and working-class Argentines who were referred to as descamisados or “shirtless ones”. However, opposition from the nation’s military and bourgeoisie, coupled with her declining health, ultimately forced her to withdraw her candidacy. In 1952, shortly before her death from cancer at 33, Eva Perón was given the title of “Spiritual Leader of the Nation” by the Argentine Congress.

Most of this is skipped over in favour of emphasing her affairs prior to the marriage to Juan Peron.

As for the performance, it’s up the the exellent standards of Showbiz Christchurch. The sets were impressive, with large pieces moved around to great effect. The Cast and chorus delivered with gusto and style. Sound was well done, unlike a previous performance where the sound was so loud there was audible clipping.
Sometimes the tempo and number of voices could overwhelm clarity of the lyrics. So overall, just average.


Summertimes 1996

Summertimes Candlelight Opera (1996)

Sat 20 Jan 1996 8:00

——- Program ————-

1. Overture
William Tell – Rossini
Christchurch Symphony Orchestra

2. Now your days of philandering are over
The Marriage of Figaro – Mozart
Paul Whelan (Figaro)

3. She is gone and gone forever
Orfeo ed Euridice – Gluck
Helen Medlyn – Orfeo

4. Fierce flames are soaring
Il Trovatore – Verdi
Helen Medlyn – Azucena

5. Anvil Chorus
Il Trovatore – Verdi
Canterbury Opera Chorus

6. Well ? I’ll go as far away..
La Wally – Catalini
Dame Malvina Major (Wally)

7. Oh, Mimi, false, fickle-hearted
La Boheme – Puccini
Richard Greager (Rodolfo)
Paul Whelan (Marcello)

8. Easter Hymn
Cavalleria Rusticana – Mascagni
Canterbury Opera Chorus

9. Oh I entreat thee sire
Turandot – Puccini
Dame Malvina Major (Liu)

10. Nessun Dorma (None shall sleep)
Turandot – Puccini
Richard Greager (Rodolfo)
Women of Canterbury Opera Chorus)


11. Torriador Song
Carmen – Bizet
Paul Whelan (Escamillo)
Canterbury Opera Chorus

12. Habanera
Carmen – Bizet
Helen Medlyn (Carmen)

13. Brother come and dance with me
Hansel and Gretel – Humperdinck
Canterbury Children’s Chorus

14. Evening prayer
Hansel and Gretel – Humperdinck
Canterbury Children’s Chorus

15. In the depths of the temple
The Pearl Fishers – Bizet
Richard Greager (Nadir)
Paul Whelan (Zurga)

16. Sweet Doretta had a dream
La Rondine – Puccini
Dame Malvina Major (Magda)

17. Te Duem
Tosca – Puccini
Paul Whelan (Scarpia)
Canterbury Opera Chorus

18. Love and Music
Tosca – Puccini
Dame Malvina Major (Tosca)

19 Sextet
Lucia di Lammermoor – Donizetti
Dame Malvina Major (Lucia)
Richard Greager (Edgardo)
Paul Whelan (Enrico)
Helen Medlyn (Alisa)
Edmund Bohan (Arturo)
Ted Rhodes (Raimondo)
Canterbury Opera Chorus


Richard Greager doesn’t look like an opera singer. Meeting him in the
street you might think that with his short stature, balding head and
glass he was an accountant. His best song was “Nessun Dorma”, which he
sung without trying to go over the top too much. I’m not sure if the
applause was for his excellent singing, or the recognition of the song.

Paul Whelan looks out of place in the ’90s. With a beard and long hair
that was in fashion 20 years ago. At well over 6 foot, he looked like
some wild-eyed gypsy. His singing was best suited to the Torriador Song.

Helen Medlyn’s voice was brilliant in “she is gone and gone forever”,
the best song of the night. For the role Carmen she changed into a
bright red dress. Half-way through the song she attacked the conductor (Brian Law) her neck attire.

The Children’s Chorus had plenty of practice in diction. As a result, we
could hear all the words in their 2 songs.

Dame MM was best singing “Sweet Doretta”, her voice easily reaching the high notes.

Overall the good performances were only marred by the threatening wind, fortunately keeping below an annoying level.

|\|igel Baker 21/1/95