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PERFECTLY PITCHED

Print Version

HOME
Written and directed by Jacqueline Coats
Single Malt Collective

at Various venues - on tour, New Zealand wide
From 4 Nov 2012 to 25 Nov 2012

Reviewed by Garth Wilshere, 7 Nov 2012
originally published in Capital Times

Home resonates for local audiences, it's woven from diary entries, letters and songs, the story of Scottish immigrants culminating in the period of WW I.

Jacqueline Coats' spare and elegant text tells the story of the meeting, courtship, marriage and impact of going way to war on Johnnie (Stuart Coats) and Maggie (Rowena Simpson). The story is traced by references to Scottish immigrants within the farming, agriculture and mining industries from 1873's founding of the Mosgiel Woollen Company through to Caledonian Societies, A&P Shows, Waihi gold mines, and miners' strikes in 1912, and WW I and its impact on families and the lives of New Zealanders.

Quotes and humour leaven the tone, and interspersed are apt Scottish song choices, beautifully performed by Stuart Coats and Rowena Simpson each with appropriate accents and clear affecting singing supported by Douglas Mews' piano.

The production is simple and effective: a clothes line of blankets, a few well-chosen props and wonderfully constructed period costumes (Leimomi Oakes) set the scene and the acting and interaction of the two performers, along with excellent singing propels the story along with style.

Gentle and affectionate, it is moving and heart-warming with emotional power from natural, believable performances without unnecessary sentimentality. The story is sentimental but told in a straightforward way and the more telling for that.

This gentle but strong piece of musical theatre, perfectly pitched in length and dramatic tone, made its point most effectively.  
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See also reviews by:
 Michael Gilchrist
 Kirsty van Rijk