Court Theatre Pub Charity Studio, Christchurch

19/07/2014 - 09/08/2014

Production Details

Love doesn’t run to a timetable

Summer. A wedding. The smokers’ deck.
He’s trapped in a modern day malaise.
She’s deciding whether to go back to London.  

So begins the relationship of two twenty-somethings, trying to keep their heads above water as they transition between life phases.

Fate throws them together but timing conspires to keep them apart. Fate versus timing – who will win? 

A contemporary romantic comedy, Ache is told through a series of vignettes and follows the lives of two urban professionals as they desperately navigate their way through their ever-changing relationship and the world around them. Both achingly funny and heart-breakingly sad, the play is a modern love story about timing and seizing the day. 

Featuring Amy Straker, Jono Kenyon (from Step Dave), Alice Canton, Owen Black. 

Heartache is So Hot Right Now 

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Please note: If you have Gift Vouchers or Complimentary Vouchers to redeem, please call the box office on 963-0870. 
Latecomers will not be admitted. 

Free parking at The Court Theatre during show times.

19 Jul – 9 Aug, 2014

Show Times: 7:00pm Mon & Thu; 8:00pm Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat;
Tickets $45-$23 

Adult: FROM $35 | Under 25: FROM $23 | Child: $23
Senior 65yrs+: FROM $30 | Group 10+: FROM $30 | Child: $18
Supporter: FROM $30 | Girls Night Out!: FROM $45 

To Book phone 03 963 0870 or visit  
Contains mature content and themes.

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Amy Straker: Woman
Jono Kenyon: Man
Alice Canton: Actor One
Owen Black: Actor Two

Creatives and Crew:
Daniel Pengelly: Director
David Thornley: Set Designer
Luke Di-Somma: Sound Designer
Tina Hutchison-Thomas: Costume Designer
Giles Tanner: Lighting Designer
Tim Bain: Stage Manager/Operator

Supported by Pub Charity. By Arrangement with Playmarket

Comedy made unique by honesty

Review by Georgina Stylianou 27th Jul 2014

A trendy wedding. Summer. Night. The smoker’s balcony. Words are projected onto the stage’s simple, brilliant set. It’s all you need to know. The rest is every romantic movie you’ve ever seen smashed together with the pithy dialogue of real life.

Two twenty-somethings meet. He’s experiencing ‘‘modern-day malaise’’ and she has just returned from London.

Ache, by Kiwi playwright Pip Hall, is a freshly honest account of the quarter-life crisis, a troublesome phase being experienced by young, ambitious men and women all over the world.

The simple script, and its series of vignettes, navigates the lives of our unnamed twenty-somethings through serendipitous encounters and poor timing. Hall was in the audience for the opening night (and world premiere) and nodded and laughed approvingly throughout. It is clear the small cast of four and director Daniel Pengelly had a lot of fun with this show. The attention to detail is stunning and the whole performance screams ‘‘unique’’.

Amy Straker and Jono Kenyon (the guy from TV2’s Step Dave) have some seriously good chemistry on stage. They seem to know and trust each other as actors and the result is intimate and hilarious. Without wanting to give away too much of the plot, let me just say that Straker conveys an emotional drunk faultlessly and Kenyon is the quintessential good guy with a habit of correcting people’s grammar.

Straker’s character is dealing with some of life’s baggage, but she is strong and fun. Kenyon plays the good ‘‘private school’’ boy scared of creating his own path in life. They both deliver sterling performances, although Straker outshines Kenyon at times.

There’s a hospital scene where Kenyon’s character becomes angry and emotional. The buildup to this snapping point isn’t quite right and, as such, seems to come out of nowhere. However, Kenyon’s portrayal of his twenty-something includes some David Brent (The Office) mannerisms and this ticks all the boxes for me.

Alice Canton, who plays the immature and carefree girlfriend, is a delight to watch. She has boundless energy in her role and provides enough comedy for all four actors.

Owen Black bounces from one character to the next with ease, adding much-needed personalities to the script.

The music is perfectly handpicked throughout the show and the use of Top 40 songs helps to compound the sense of occasion.

I was thoroughly impressed with Ache. It’s a modern-day romantic comedy made effortlessly unique by honesty.

Go and see it.


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Style and a dash of vinegar to relish

Review by Lindsay Clark 20th Jul 2014

It is no surprise to read that this neatly crafted romantic comedy won the 2012 Pumphouse Theatre Award for an Auckland playwright in its fledgling stage, before the workshopping and public reading processes which brought it to the current premier production. Its roots are in middle class contemporary urban culture, where bright young professionals can get away with indecision and ‘malaise’ before the realities of life put the nips in.

Romantic comedy infuses the whole but this is no mere soap stuff, in spite of the tantalising delays before the final clinch. It seems that the luxury of choice and liberty to toss back the bubbly are really not much help when it comes to actually managing life. Saved from a sense of indulgence by engaging characters and briskly evolving situations, the play is generously endowed with humour, nimble wit and assured audience appeal.  

As The Court’s new Associate Director at The Forge (aka The Pub Cjarity Studio), Daniel Pengelly does a fine job. The flip side of single is subtly presented to expand the broadly comic treatment of love and marriage, and for all its sophistication and slickness the play does align with the human heart suggested by the title. It also has a shrewd dig at the passing fad. “So hot right now” is a recurring refrain in the dialogue.

The fun begins on the smoking balcony of a wedding reception where Man’s escape for a quiet puff is interrupted by Woman, teetering tipsily on her glorious high heels. Jono Kenyon and Amy Straker will meet again and again, through that fate/coincidence imperative which shapes the play. He is spoken for, she is on a fleeting visit, but that is not the way things stay.

Their generalised titles invite us to take them and the other two cast members (Alice Canton as Actor One and Owen Black as Actor Two) as typical players in the contemporary scene. Certainly many laughs come from recognisable situations rich in comic potential: the wedding where inhibitions are swept away with the Moet, the pretentious dining experience, the equally pretentious gallery event and the late night adventures with a desk sergeant at the police station.

The efficient transition from one location to another is smoothly enabled by the changing configuration of David Thornley’s clever set pieces and at one point earn delighted response from the audience – but that should not be spoiled. Suffice to say that it all works with clean precision in this minimalist world, supported by lighting from Giles Tanner and sound from Luke Di-Somma. Costume from Tina Hutchison-Thomas is similarly effective.

As the central couple, Jono Kenyon and Amy Straker are well in charge, each working on the fine line between attraction and commitment with well-judged skill.

Owen Black has much fun with a range of clearly defined roles, his versatility and experience meeting the challenges with ease. Alice Canton in the other supporting roles finds comic expression of her own, though with less material to work on .She is usually required to arrive in a dizzy flurry and provides a valuable counterpoint to the cooler assurance of Woman.

A clever treatment, then, of that relationship territory so often explored. In this case there is style and a dash of vinegar to relish.  
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On opening night Artistic Director Ross Gumbley dedicated this premiere performance to Elizabeth O’Connor, who was The Court’s Literary Manager and died unexpectedly in Auckland on Friday night. In a Facebook message, Pip Hall wrote: “A very sad day. Glad I got to spend time with her last month. She was such a great friend of the writer.” – JS


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