Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, SW10 9ED, London

07/09/2019 - 28/09/2019

Production Details

“Our children do as they’re told. That’s our family dynamic”  

A European debut for an exciting new voice from New Zealand. 

11-year-old Harry Hunter is missing.

While they wait for news, Anahera – a newly qualified Māori social worker – supports Harry’s distraught parents. 

But as the hours pass and the situation pushes everyone to their limits, Anahera is forced to take a stand.

Anahera returns to the Finborough Theatre where it was originally given a staged reading in Vibrant 2018 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights. In New Zealand, it was chosen for Auckland Theatre Company’s workshop Next Stage in 2015 and was a finalist in the Adam NZ Play Awards in 2016. It premiered in September 2017 at Circa Theatre in Wellington, receiving rave reviews, and won Most Outstanding New New Zealand Play at the Wellington Theatre Awards 2017

Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London, SW10 9ED
Tuesday, 3 September – Saturday, 28 September 2019
Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Saturday and Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Full booking information

WEEK 1-2:
Prices until 15 September 2019
Tickets £18, £16 concessions
except Tuesday Evenings £16 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats.
Previews (3 and 4 September) £14 all seats.
£10 tickets for Under 30’s for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.
£14 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 7 September 2019 when booked online only.

WEEK 3-4:
Prices from 17 September 2019
Tickets £20, £18 concessions
except Tuesday Evenings £18 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £20 all seats.

Liz:  Caroline Faber
Anahera:  Acushla-Tara Kupe
Peter:  Rupert Wickham
Imogen:  Jessica O’Toole
Harry:  Paul Waggott

Director:  Alice Kornitzer
Designer:  Emily Bestow
Lighting Designer:  Gregory Jordan
Composer:  Kate Marlais
Sound Assistant:  Gwithian Evans
Sound Programmer:  Nicola Chang
Movement Director:  Natasha Warder
Deputy Stage Managers:  Maria Markewska, Alexandra Schneider
Social Media Marketing:  Laura Wijsmuller
Producer:  Claire Evans
Associate Producer:  CJ Bailey 

Theatre ,

2 hrs incl. interval

Subverts expectations and challenges the audience

Review by Michael Davis 12th Sep 2019

“You’re not a saint and I’m past redemption.” 

One could argue that the worst thing a parent could possibly go through is for one of their children to go missing. But what if as a parent you found out that someone had reported your ‘parenting’ to the authorities? Written by Emma Kinane and directed by Alice Kornitzer, Anahera takes place in New Zealand, where 11-year-old Harry Hunter has gone missing. Waiting at home, his parents Peter (Rupert Wickham) and Liz (Caroline Faber) are understandably distraught. Instead of ‘Janet’ from social services visiting, Anahera (Acushia-Tara Kupe) a newly qualified Maori social worker arrives.

Anahera initially tries to be helpful, but also keep a professional distance. However, the Hunters’ have an insatiable appetite to know everything about her – her heritage, her religious beliefs and how that might bring ‘comfort’ at a time like this. But once there are indications that all is well, the parents’ demeanour radically changes and we’re left to wonder why Harry disappeared in the first place… [More


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Interesting exploration of modern child-rearing, class and denial

Review by Ciara Mulholland 10th Sep 2019

Following a staged reading in Vibrant 2018 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, the European premiere of Emma Kinane’s multi-award-winning new play Anahera opened at the Finborough Theatre for a four week limited season on Tuesday 3 September 2019.

Anahera premiered in 2017 at Circa Theatre, Wellington, New Zealand, after receiving Next Stage workshop support from the Auckland Theatre Company in 2015, and won Most Outstanding New New Zealand Play at the Wellington Theatre Awards 2017. 

11-year-old Harry Hunter is missing and a young Maori social worker, Anahera (Acushla-Tara Kupe), is left uncomfortably alone with the parents, waiting, while her supervisor is rushed off to another emergency.  We are introduced to the characters in a stylised flurry of activity in the opening sequence which leaves us anxiously waiting for news of the missing boy with the Mother Liz (Caroline Faber) and Father Peter (Rupert Wickham), as the young rookie social worker looks on. 

I say Mother with a capital M as this is one of the main themes running throughout the play: middle class modern parenting; the sometimes extreme scheduling of young children and disregard for their delightful randomness; too little, too much, too late – tu meke! 

Finborough Theatre in Earl’s Court is a very intimate space and the play, directed by Alice Komitzer, is performed almost in the round.  The staging is slightly clunky in this intimate space.  The play is set over a twenty year period, when the missing boy is 11 and later in his thirties.  The issues with actualising a filmic script that jumps around in time and place (INT/EXT) are apparent in the staging. Some scene changes are quite dramatic and time-consuming only to switch back again all too soon.  

While the plot anticipates some horrible tragic family mystery, this is solved quickly in order to get on with the business of the play which is the ‘change’ in one of the characters, therefore allowing other characters to move on.  A family hui or Armageddon acts as a pivotal point in the play where the now adult Harry (Paul Waggott) and his sister Imogen (Jessica O’Toole) confront their mother and try to work through their historical issues together. 

The Pinteresque dialogue at times flows well and is picked up skilfully by the cast throughout the challenging time jumps.  I have to say the Kiwi accents are well executed and a pleasure to hear, especially Caroline Faber’s mastery of our unusual vowels.

I agree with a lot of the sentiment in the play and I know that an adult has to fight hard not to drag their baggage and recycle unresolved hurt into their parenting. But I think this play and production tries to address too much and gets tied down in real time emotion, albeit played very convincingly – especially by Caroline Faber. Yet it misses an opportunity to comment more on the cultural difference it hints at, and the sky high risk of getting it wrong.

Most of the actors do well to create the life of this play, especially Acushla-Tara Kupe and Faber.  Kupe has a gravitas which holds the space and is a pleasure to watch.

I would encourage people to see Anahera as it covers some interesting elements and judgements of modern child-rearing, class and denial.  I would have liked to see this work in the hands of a more competent director. 


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Deft satire of class, race and family values

Review by Arifa Akbar 10th Sep 2019

A young Māori social worker is sent to a family whose 11-year-old son has run away. Trying to determine what has gone wrong, she asks the mother, Liz, to describe her parenting style. “Tactical warfare,” is the jokey reply, which turns out to have a dark truth to it.

Anahera (Acushla-Tara Kupe), the social worker, is the dramatic interloper who exposes the family dysfunction in Emma Kinane’s play. She refuses to leave this middle-class, New Zealand home after order has seemingly been restored, troubled by the rules and punishments set out by the parents for their two children. [More


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Taut, thrilling and impressively intelligent

Review by Sally Hales 10th Sep 2019

Emma Kinane’s taut new play explores how physical and emotional trauma can seep down through the generations. 

The playwright carefully grafts themes of patriarchy, race, class, gender and identity on to a family drama with chilling effect.

An 11-year-old boy, Harry (Paul Waggott), has run away and a young Maori social worker, Anahera (Acushla-Tara Kupe), has been sent to support his seemingly successful, affluent parents, Liz (Caroline Faber) and Peter (Rupert Wickham). But she senses all is not well behind the family’s veneer of respectability and sets about interrogating the strange dynamic. [More]


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