Circa Two, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

29/08/2014 - 20/09/2014

Production Details


Pinky Agnew and Lorae Parry are back at Circa with Destination Beehive – the capital’s answer to the silly questions this election is honour-bound to deliver. 

From the comedic writing partners who brought you The Candidates and Sex Drive comes a brand new, up-to-the-minute political satire, live on stage with a host of new and familiar faces and more laughs than you could accidentally deliver as a low tier wannabe political party leader.

“It’s occurred to me that we should sue the politicians,” Agnew comments. “They seem to be making themselves so ridiculous. We’re the comedy writers – that should be our job!” 

Despite this, Agnew says the seasoned duo are relishing turning election campaign bloopers, blunders and bad tweets into comedy fodder. “We’re writing a new show at a time when the country needs it most. We’re sharpening our wits on some quite frankly blunt objects that seem to be passing as politicians.” 

The pair play a variety of roles in their self-penned show, set in a television studio broadcasting a live election special in the fictional electorate of Port Nicholson. Dame Kate Harcourt also stars as a Gold Carded Winston Peters’ supporter. Carrie Green (No Naughty Bits, I Could Live Here), and Jack Buchanan (Mr McGee and The Biting Flea) also feature, playing a variety of roles. 

Parry says the show will be fast-paced fun. “We’re mixing parodies of real political figures with fictional characters, and having them all interacting, vying for the audience’s vote – just like X-Factor, but with more laughs!” 

Agnew adds, “Our director, Jan Bolwell (Crows’ Feet, Bill Massey’s Tourists), is also a fantastic choreographer, and we’ve got the amazingly talented Michael Nicholas Williams (Grease, Dead Tragic) as our musical director, so we’ve got some great song and dance numbers. Kim Dotcom should take note…”

This sharp political satire will be updated nightly as the election campaign unfolds, with music, dance, and beloved impressions aplenty – what’s not to love? And, it finishes on election night.

Who will be the powerbroker? Who will be the jobless joker? You’ll meet the flip-floppers and the name droppers. The backsliders and the backstabbers. The naggers, the knockers, the pleasers and the sleazes, as they hurtle towards… DESTINATION BEEHIVE!

Destination Beehive
Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Wellington
29 August – 20 September 2014
Tuesday to Saturday 7.30pm; Sunday 4.30pm
Book now at or call 04 801 7992
Adult $46; Concession $38
Friends of Circa (until 21 September) $33 
Groups 6+ $39, 20+ $36; Under 25s $25


Lorae Parry:
TERRY WHITE, National Candidate
‘J G’, Labour Candidate
GAYE CUMBERBATCH, Conservative Party
‘H C’, Legend 

Pinky Agnew:
JOY HARRISON-HANCOCK, Conservative Candidate
MELODY HARPER, Green Party Candidate
JUDITH COLLINS, National Party minister

Kate Harcourt:
MAUDE HORNBY, NZ First Candidate 

Carrie Green:
JUDY SMALL, United Future Candidate
PAULA BENNETT, National Party minister
METIRIA TUREI, Green Party co-leader
TEAGAN, Image Consultant 

Jack Buchanan:
MERLIN GALAXY, Legalise Cannabis Candidate
COLIN RODNEY CRAIG, Conservative Party leader
KIM DOTCOM, Internet Party founder
ROWAN, Image Consultant

Jonathan Morgan:
TAMA T, Weatherman
GEORGE HEMI ARAPETA, Maori Party Candidate

Pernille Osborne:
HEIDI DOTCODOTNZ, Internet-Mana Candidate

Grace Morgan-Riddell:
STEVIE HOOD, Floor Manager
MADDY THE CADDY, Terry White’s golf caddy 

Director/Choreographer - Jan Bolwell
Musical Director - Michael Nicholas Williams
Set/AV Design - Kate JasonSmith
Lighting Design - Lisa Maule
Costume - Pinky Agnew
Stage Manager - Grace Morgan-Riddell
Technical Operator - Deb McGuire
Filming - Sina Leasuasu
Film Editing - Carrie Green
AV System Design - Laurie Dean
Set Construction - John Calvert
Photography - Stephen A'Court
Producer/Publicist - Jennifer O’Sullivan

Parody breaks up political stodge

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 02nd Sep 2014

It was pre-millennium when Lorae Parry and Pink Agnew successfully brought their alter-egos Helen Clarke and Jenny Shipley to the screen. 

And although they have moved on from these their prowess as writers of political satire hasn’t waned, as evidenced in their latest show Destination Beehive.

Their writing is as astute and funny as ever and under director Jan Bolwell, and joined by six very versatile and competent actors, they have produced a slick, highly polished and very entertaining show.

The basic premise is simple but effective; a new electorate of Port Nicholson has been created and in this election TV special reporters Tina Fisher (Pinky Agnew) and Katrina Coleman (Lorae Parry) are going to introduce the candidates.

Each presents their case and what their campaign platform is, often with the help of their party leader and ending with a well known song that has had the lyrics changed to parody their party to great effect.  Between each is Tama T (Jonathan Morgan) giving weather updates on how campaigning is going around the rest of the country.

While every character presented is a delight and most are on the button with their interpretations some of the stand out ones are Dame Kate Harcourt’s NZ Fist Candidate Maude Hornby with her devotion to Winston in the song Winston Makes My Clothes Fall Off while Carrie Green makes a wonderful Paula Bennett, the “go to chick” in cabinet who tells everyone to get a job and her Metiria Turei, “we’re not a joint party any more” is spot on.

Jack Buchanan does a wonderful impersonation of Labour’s Jacinda Ardern, and his pro smacking, anti-gay Colin call-me-crazy Craig sends up the Conservative Party to great effect. 

Agnew and Parry also take many roles including Parry’s Terry White, the National candidate whose main campaign slogan is changing the flag and Agnew having great fun in her role as Judith ‘Crusher’ Collins.

There are a number of surprises in the show, including the Labour candidate and the finale where all the candidates are presented in a very creative and funny song-and-dance routine. It all makes a great break from the seriousness of the election campaign.


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The hottest ticket in town

Review by John Smythe 30th Aug 2014

‘Simply the Best’ is the tune that hums in my head long after the last of many wonderfully executed numbers ends the show. Destination Beehive is cleverly crafted, wittily written, dynamically directed and choreographed, sublimely sung and ebulliently performed.

What is especially impressive is its topicality, despite the necessarily long gestation and rehearsal period having started long before Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics exposé derailed everyone’s election campaign plans. “As some of the characters involved in the real campaign seem increasingly bizarre,” writers Pinky Agnew and Lorae Parry note in the programme, “and as more dirt is dished daily, keeping up has sometimes been challenging.” But they have a clever strategy for not missing a beat.

The over-arching premise is simple: Port Nicholson is a brand new electorate with a slew of unknown candidates ready to be introduced to us by their better known seniors on a TV special being hosted by Tina Fisher (Agnew) and Katrina Coleman (Parry). Kate JasonSmith’s set and AV Design includes a series of superbly odd actual images of our political leaders to set the satirical tone.

Along with the fantastic songs (Musical Director and live musician, Michael Nicholas Williams), proceedings are punctuated with brief weather reports, presented by Tama T (Jonathan Morgan), that track the ever-changing political temperature. Each candidate gets their moment in the spotlight – except, I think, for Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party candidate Merlin Galaxy (Jack Buchanan) who goes AWOL after a promising start. And the latest in digital technology is eventually employed to gauge the outcome.

In lively chorus each candidate collectively yet independently declares they are ‘Simply the Best’, better than all the rest and – yes – they want it so bad. The lyrics throughout, mostly written by Agnew and Parry, are rich with satirical gems and director Jan Bolwell’s non-taxing yet high-value choreography sees all eight cast-members grace Circa Two’s limited space with dexterity and panache.

Allan Henry (concurrently appearing in PSA Election Special at Bats) has pre-recorded his Winston Peters to introduce our NZ First Golden Oldie candidate, Maude Hornby. What a delight to see Dame Kate Harcourt back in this role, winning our hearts before Maude’s bigotry engages our brains. Her song, ‘Winston Makes My Clothes Fall Off!’ is unforgettable.

Carrie Green’s motherly Paula “zip it sweetie” Bennett introduces Lorae Parry’s old goatee-bearded Terry White as the National candidate and his caddie (Grace Morgan-Riddell) is on hand to help display his ideas for a new flag: each one making a pertinent point. White’s gleeful song – ‘I’m Gonna Knock On Your Door …’ – is yet another upbeat foot-tapper.

Green also plays Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei with organic charm as she invites us to ‘Dream a Little Dream’ with her, before introducing Melody Harper (Pinky Agnew), who has the good oil on whales and wants the Nats to ‘Hit the Road’.  

Maori Party candidate George Hemi Arapeta (Jonathan Morgan) has a kete-full of policies – but hey … ‘There’s a Hole in my Kete’ tells the lamentable story (additional lyrics by Jack Buchanan).

Tasked with devising a song for young voters, Buchanan, Green, Morgan, Morgan-Riddell and Pernille Osborne have come up with a brilliant ditty called ‘Rocking the Youth Vote’ – and rock it they do! The opening night audience loves it!

It’s at this point that Agnew’s Tina Fisher brings us the Breaking News, via i-Pad, as per TVNZ’s late news, which on opening night allows appropriate serves to be given to Judith Collins, Cameron Slater, Mike Hosking, Murray McCully, Pam Corkery … This the device that will keep the show topical and fresh. And given the material that surfaces daily, this really is a ‘watch this space’ spot.

Hopefully Collin’s resignation from cabinet today – while remaining in denial, an MP and the candidate for Papakura – won’t overshadow the outrageous ACT claim that Kiwis are too lazy to get out of bed and go to work (so importing unregulated ‘slave labour’ is therefore justified?). As I write this I have to suppose the Judith Collins ‘Black Op’ running mate scene is also being hastily updated. (Can she really believe she is the victim of a smear campaign?)

Buchanan in drag gives us Jacinda Adern and rebrands the ‘man ban’ as the ‘chick tick’ in the process of introducing Labour’s secret weapon for Port Nick: a surprise I won’t reveal here except to say Parry plays her – and delivers ‘I Will Survive’ – with appropriate thrust.  

More revealing images allow us to spare a moment for those not returning, starting with Tariana and Peta and ending with Brash with many a tarnished gem between. An audience member gets a 60-second makeover from Teagan (Green) and Rowan (Buchanan), decked out in garments straight off the Fashion Week social pages. Pinky Agnew is credited with getting the costumes together and they are excellent throughout.  

Note to the writers: Kim Dotcom is not a leader of Internet-Mana, he is the founder / funder of the Internet Party. Nevertheless, Buchannan’s Kim, Green’s Mana Party candidate, Pania Dotcodotaotearoa, and Pernille Osborne’s splendidly Germanic Internet Party Candidate, Heidi Dotcodotnz, take their opportunity to tell the occupants of the land of the Long White i-Cloud ‘What You Want, What You Really Really Want’. (I know I’m giving away the odd gag but there are many more where they come from and I want you to get a flavour of it.)  

The Conservative Party’s timid Gaye Cumberbatch (Parry) introduces their candidate, the comically humourless Joy Harrison-Hancock (Agnew) – then blow me down, Buchanan is back as the creepily smiling and eye-balling Colin “call me crazy” Craig: ‘The Great New Leader’. 

When a warm front approaches from the USA we are treated to a special visit from what used to be Lorae Parry’s well-known and much-loved alter-ego. She steps off the international stage to give us a message from David: ‘They Got It Coming’ – another show-stopping full chorus number.

All the songs are brilliantly sung and staged. My only worry is that the electronic keyboard is in danger of overwhelming the un-amplified voices; an issue that can only be resolved, I think, if auxiliary speakers are installed to fold-back to the actors.

A final forecast takes us to the finale: ‘What a Feeling’. And it is a very enthusiastic feeling that permeates the resoundingly applauding audience. Someone mentioned afterwards that this show can never have a return season and it’s only on for three weeks – in the smaller theatre, what’s more – so book quickly to avoid disappointment. It’s the hottest ticket in town.


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