Bollocks

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

04/08/2009 - 08/08/2009

Production Details



The Cult are pleased to announce the New Zealand premiere season of British playwright Lee Halls play Bollocks at The Basement theatre August 4th-8th

Lee Hall was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1966. Studied English Literature at Cambridge University. He has worked as a writer in theatre, TV, radio and film. He has been writer in residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Live Theatre, Newcastle Upon Tyne. He is probably remembered most for his screenplay Billy Elliot

This is classic cowboy theatre. A group of friends come together with the common goal of putting on a show. No funding or financial support, just make do with what you’ve got. All the performers are experienced actors, between them having appeared in most of the local programs plus some overseas ones. They’re all pretty good. And it’s a second production for Andrew Munro in the role of producer who last year brought the David Mamet plays Reunion and The Woods to the stage.

Bollocks revolves around Peter, a British soldier wounded in the groin in Northern Ireland, and his struggles to return to a normal life with his wife Mary. Peter struggles to find work, partially because of his wounds, and continue a sexual relationship with his wife. The idea of sex now seems distant and pointless. This is in contrast to his friend Ian, for whom sex is never far from his mind, who has problems of his own at home with his partner lisa who is depressed and desperate for a child. With Peter being unresponsive to her advances Mary looks for love in other places and finds affection in Ian while Lisa turns to the seedy world of stripping in order to raise some extra money in the hope of having a child. Peter finally manages to find a job in a giant bunny costume at the local subway station much to his embarrassment. But it is here, in the company of Mr Happy, where Peter discovers he isn’t alone and gains the strength to leave his old life behind in the search for a better one.

Bollocks will be directed by first-time director Daniel Cowley and features the talented cast of Andrew Munro, Lauren Porteous, Simon Ward, Elizabeth McGlinn, Matt MacDougall and Josh Thomson with set design by Zoe Crammond (City of souls)  and  sound and lighting design by Mike Clarkin. 

Bollocks runs from the 4th to the 8th of August
at 8pm
The Basement theatre
Tickets $15 Dollars through www.iticket.co.nz or at the door




Brilliant script convincingly played

Review by Candice Lewis 05th Aug 2009

When you say someone has balls, you’re usually referring to their courage. I have told myself on occasion to just get my big old balls out; the fact that I don’t physically have testicles doesn’t have much to do with the sentiment.

Lee Hall’s Bollocks handles more than sentiment when it comes to these sensitive sacs.  The play is narrated by Peter (Andrew Munro), a young soldier who sustains a nightmarish injury in Belfast.

Right from the opening scene I am struck by the humour that pervades what sounds like a recipe for a miserable night. This dark and beautiful narrative reveals our own fragility, desires, and frustrations.

Peter struggles with his injury, referring to himself as a ‘cripple’, thereby further crippling his relationship with his wife Mary (Lauren Porteous). The portrayal of Peter is quietly stunning; the way he embraces his victimhood and pain is all-pervading.

Mary bounces off Peter’s misery with a mixture of love and desperation, but her need terrifies him. Their relationship is mirrored in that of their close friends, Lisa (Elizabeth McGlinn) and Ian (Simon Ward).

Lisa and Ian are equally miserable, the complaints of both women are almost identical, and the fear these men have of intimacy is apparent. The script is brilliant and Lisa and Ian’s characters are bought to life convincingly.

Matt MacDougall makes an appearance as the kind of man you hope not to meet at the WINZ office (although a cash job would be great), and Josh Thomson is the voice of love and reason in his role as Mr Happy. I thought all the accents were fairly convincing, but when Mr Happy opens his mouth it’s bloody hilarious! I don’t care if his accent is convincing or not, I just love how sweet and funny he is.

Director Daniel Cowley has a sensitive sense of timing which is really important for this play to work. The scene in which the four friends sit down for a few drinks and a revealing discussion sings with energy; without good direction it could easily be awkward.

The set (Zoe Cramond) is very realistic and I keep trying to look at the crockery in the side cabinet. I think my mum used to have a side cabinet like that. I wonder what happened to it. I wonder if that is it, right there, on the stage.

Peter continues to deliver his narrative bathed in a small pool of light. As he finishes his observations the light dies and, during these darkened intervals, we hear the actors scurry about finding their positions before the lights come up on the new scene. Playing with shifting light might be more effective. 

Towards the end of the play the argument between Peter and Mary sustains a tiring level of shrillness and would work better with more variation. During this scene they could possibly be closer to the centre of the stage so that those of us craning our necks at the back can see Peter’s face. I know they are supposed to be in their kitchen when this argument occurs, but it wouldn’t shatter my illusions if they were to move out of that space.

Miniscule criticism over! This is a short run, so my advice is to get your balls into gear and go and see it. 
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