Saturday, October 8, 2016

Last Legs

Blimey, Circa Theatre is putting on a lot of good stuff this year! The latest offering, starring Ray Henwood, is called Last Legs, and is the story about growing old disgracefully…something we have every intention of emulating! Ray Henwood is a grand old man of the Wellington theatre scene – we last saw him as King Lear in…umm…what was that play called?

But first, inevitably, dinner. Pravda CafĂ© has revamped its menu, so I thought we’d better get ourselves down there to see how it’s changed. Yeah, any excuse! Pravda is part of the Nourish group of restaurants, that include Crab Shack and Shed 5 in Wellington, as well as various other restaurants in Auckland and Queenstown. They serve tasty grub and I don’t think we’ve ever been disappointed there. I had a scallop ravioli followed by wagyu bavette steak, whilst Nicola had zucchini fritters and chilli shrimp linguine.

We hurried out of the restaurant and down the road thinking we were cutting it fine; but when we got to Circa, a quick look at the tickets revealed…the show didn’t start until 8:00pm. So we needn’t have rushed away from Pravda and hassled the staff for the bill (they were also hosting a lot of “ladies who dine” for a pre-WoW dinner, so there was a bit of a scrum at the till).

We sat down and had an ice cream and a glass of wine whilst waiting for the show to start, and chatted to a lady down from Auckland to see the show, largely because her sister had a starring role in it. She played Kitty, who is the femme fatale of the piece.

The theatre was packed – a sell-out – which I put down to the Henwood factor. The play is coming to the end of its run, and the remaining nights are completely sold out. As it is, we were up in the back seats, far from the more usual row B or C that we get when I book these things.

The play is set in an upmarket retirement home, and concerns the goings-on of some of the residents, notably those on “ResCom”, the resident’s committee. A new resident is co-opted onto the committee to fight the stranglehold which retired (disgraced) estate agents Gary and Trish seem to have. The four female characters also play a gang of older residents, who meet up and argue over games starting with bridge, with all four of them, and moving through scrabble for three, mah-jong for two, and finally, patience. You’re not allowed to mention the D-word, but you can figure out what’s happened to the participants.

The play is really a series of vignettes and character studies; the plot is a bit thin, and leads more to characters explaining about their pasts, rather than the “incident and example” to illustrate their personalities. It made the whole thing a bit disjointed. Yes, the two estate agents are venal and petty; we needed to see more of their venality and pettiness, not just be told about it.

It was light and fluffy. I doubt they’ll be performing it in 400 years’ time, though.

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