The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

11/05/2019 - 01/06/2019

Production Details


Broadway hit and four-time Tony Award winner Hedwig and the Angry Inch is coming to The Court Theatre this May, with leading lady Hedwig bringing her incredible band – and collection of wigs – with her.

Coming to New Zealand for the very first time, this electrifying production, called “the best rock musical ever,” by Rolling Stone, follows ‘international ignored song stylist’ Hedwig as she tells her personal history of sacrifice and struggle – and her botched sex-change operation – against a glam-rock soundtrack reminiscent of David Bowie and Iggy Pop.

“Hedwig is taking over The Court Theatre with her punk/glam-rock cabaret,” says director Michael Lee Porter.

Porter and musical director Luke Di Somma are creating a dynamic, exciting and irreverent musical that offers Canterbury audiences one hell of a night out.

Di Somma, who was one of the co-creators of national musical hit, That Bloody Woman says, “If you liked That Bloody Woman, you’ll be in for a great time with Hedwig!”

New York based Australian actor Adam Rennie is taking on the challenge of portraying Hedwig, known as being one of the toughest musical theatre roles in existence and an opportunity that he calls a dream come true. Rennie is best known for his role in the 2018 Australian production of The Rocky Horror Show, when he saved the day by taking on the role of Frank N Furter after just one day’s notice.  

“Adam is going to blow Christchurch away,” says Di Somma.

Rennie has been preparing for months with accent and dialect coaching, make-up trials and, of course, getting ready to stomp around stage in Hedwig’s iconic high heels! 

“What I find most striking about Hedwig is how relatable she is,” says Rennie. “The show is a high octane, rock concert, led by a punk rock goddess who has had a botched sex change operation, but you also get to spend a very raw evening with a human who is craving connection. Through all the humour and bravado, you fall in love with her. You want to see her win. The explosion of empathy for a character so unlike the audience is what I love the most.”

Joining Rennie on-stage is co-star Phoebe Hurst (That Bloody Woman), playing Hedwig’s husband, Croatian immigrant and ex-drag queen, Yitzhak.

A group of four musicians will be joining the duo to complete the Angry Inch band and bring this renowned story to life.

Audiences can expect a show-stopping production, complete with awe-inspiring costumes and thrilling effects – but Hedwig’s story is what gives the production so much heart.

“It’s not every day a musical comes along that resonates with so many different people on so many different levels,” says Porter. “It’s an honour to be representing the LGBTQIA community with this beautifully tragic, strong willed and talented genderqueer character telling us her story.”

Rennie, in bringing this beloved character to life, feels a real responsibility in his portrayal of Hedwig. “For me, if people leave the theatre thinking about how different & strange a character Hedwig is – even if they love her – I haven’t done my job. I want the audience to see how much they have in common with her and see themselves underneath the glitter and makeup.”  

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
The Court Theatre’s mainstage
11 May – 1 June 2019
Monday & Thursday:  6:30pm
Tue/Wed/Fri/Sat:  7:30pm
Forum :  6:30pm Monday 13 May
Discuss the play with cast & creative team after the performance
Matinee:  2:00pm Saturday 25 May
Adult:  $55 – $63
Senior (65+):  $48 – $56
Child :  $26 – $30
Group (6+):  $48 – $53
Supporter:  $46 – $54
30 Below (limited numbers):  $30
Bookings: phone 03 963 0870 or visit www.courttheatre.org.nz 
Show Sponsor: Harmans Lawyers 

Hedwig:  Adam Rennie
Yitzhak:  Phoebe Hurst 

Drums/Asst. Musical Director:  Cameron Burnett
Guitar 1:  Tim Heeringa
Guitar 2/Keys:  Tyler Robbins
Bass:  Emily Farrell

Director:  :  Michael Lee Porter
Musical Director:  Luke Di Somma
Set Designer:  Julian Southgate
Costume Designer:  Stephen Robertson
Lighting Designer/Operator:  Giles Tanner
Sound Designer/Operator:  Tane Hipango
AV Designer:  Andrew Todd
Stage Manager:  Erica Browne
Assistant Stage Manager:  Scott Leighton

Theatre , Rock Opera , Musical ,

'Mind-blowing' show 'absolutely sizzles'

Review by Patrick Shepherd 16th May 2019

Right from the outset as the eponymous heroine flew in astride a rocket, this was a full-frontal, slap-in-the-face deliciously dark fairground ride that barely let up.

Personifying the confusion and hope of 1990s Berlin in the wake of post-unification Germany, Hedwig reels from a botched gender reassignment operation and failed romances in the search to find her “other half”, rather like that once-fractured city did. [More


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The New Every(wo)man

Review by Nathan Joe 16th May 2019

The legacy of John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch is one of modest beginnings, with Mitchell playing the title character Off-Broadway back in 1998. That it went on to become a cult film and subsequently a Broadway and international success is a testament to the quality and originality of its material. Even now in 2019, with growing queer representation on our stage and screens, Hedwig still feels like a breath of fresh air in a cultural landscape that often regurgitates the same stale narratives. Where else would the story of an androgynous German lad named Hansel who undergoes gender reassignment surgery to become struggling rockstar Hedwig not only exist but be treated with a real dignity and respect?

While musical theatre is often the domain of sledgehammer-like subtlety, Mitchell’s script and Trask’s lyrics weave Hedwig’s myriad themes of love and survival against the backdrop of the Berlin Wall, immigrant dreams and rock and roll with surprising grace. No matter how far-fetched the story sounds, it is grounded in the reality of a single person baring their soul and self to the audience. [More


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It will leave your heart full and (more importantly) whole

Review by Erin Harrington 12th May 2019

Hedwig and the Angry Inch has been described as one of the greatest rock musicals ever written, and with good reason: more than twenty years on from its conception, it still feels vital and freshly minted, ready to kick you in the teeth with its sparkly platform heels. The Court Theatre’s marvellous, energetic production lives up to the show’s promise.

We’re here to see a gig that’s part rock concert, part confessional, helmed by genderqueer diva Hedwig (Adam Rennie), whose ambitions in love and life have been consistently thwarted. From the beginning, the set offers us a seedy space that gestures equally towards Cold War-era Berlin and the sort of gross, anonymous dive bars that exist in the social margins the world over.  

Hedwig prowls the stage, hassles the audience, cracks jokes, and berates her long-suffering backing band of illegal European immigrants (Cameron Burnett, Tyler Robbins, Emily Farrell and Tim Heeringa). She also whips her way through various iterations of herself, in a crackling demonstration of gender and identity play as self-expression and self-exploration. Massive wigs and spangled frocks go flying faster than Hedwig’s double-entendres. She’s terrifying, gorgeous, funny, sexy and captivating. Throughout, Rennie isn’t a star but an outright supernova: his stunning, virtuoso performance is ferocious in its depth and range.

I’m already very familiar with the show, but am struck again by the intelligence of John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s writing, and the economy of the narrative and musical storytelling. The show is structured around an extended monologue, in which Hedwig tells us the story of her current crash into infamy: her East German origins as Hansel, a femme ‘slip of a ladyboy’, in the years preceding the fall of the Berlin Wall; the botched sex change operation that leaves her with an ‘angry inch’ instead of a new vagina; the sugar daddy US soldier who marries her and takes away; her shitty life in the States; and her tangled relationship with a young Christian boy who first idolises her, then becomes a rock star in his own right. The narrative is interspersed with musical numbers that range from furious, thrashing rock songs to heart-felt ballads. They propel the action forward, and crack open Hedwig’s emotional life until she’s a broken mess on the floor.

Bearing near-silent witness to all this is Hedwig’s Croatian husband and roadie, ex-drag queen Yitzhak, played with weighty sadness and vulnerability by Phoebe Hurst. The relationship between the two, and Yitzhak’s own quiet character arc, is a disturbing but ultimately redemptive counterpoint to Hedwig’s own self-myth-making.

These plot points aren’t really spoilers, but act as the scaffold for a broader story about love, loathing, bitterness and the road to healing and self-acceptance. Hedwig is desperate to find her soulmate: the person who will make her whole. However, she is blind to the way that cruelty can beget cruelty unless the cycle is broken. By the show’s soaring, uplifting conclusion, the hands-in-the-air, heart-in-the-throat anthem ‘Midnight Radio’, we’re left with something truly beautiful. As drag titan RuPaul says: if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else? (Amen.) 

One of the most impressive aspects of the show, led by director Michael Lee Porter, is its coherent, holistic presentation. Too often it’s easy to see how even an excellent show’s production has been prepared in sections and then brought together for performance – here’s the production design, here’s some choreography, here’s the blocking, and so on.

In this production, we step into a fully realised and exquisitely detailed world, and someone else’s space, that feels as if it’s existed long before our entrance. It’s pretty hard to fault. Luke Di Somma’s music direction is impressive. Julian Southgate’s expansive backstage warehouse set design is gorgeous and grubby. Stephen Robertson’s costumes nail a sense of low-rent but aspirational punk glitz. Sound and light hit the balance between intimate cabaret, big-time rock musical and scratchy dive bar experience. Wigs are characters of their own, and the make-up (and its dissolution) is terrific.

Andrew Todd’s AV work, in particular, is a marvel. Projections and animations illustrate historic and emotional context. In a beautiful moment of layered, thoughtful staging, they also bring to life the story of ‘The Origin of Love’, the song that acts as a capsule version of the show’s narrative arc, as well as its spiritual backbone. I can’t express what a pleasure it is to watch a show that feels like a single, living, breathing organism that exists entirely on its own terms. 

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a remarkable production that’s easily one of the best things that the Court Theatre has staged in recent memory. Its programming is also particularly salient given current, often nasty national debates about gender and identity, such as whether or not trans folk should have the right to self ID. It will leave your heart full and (more importantly) whole.


Maryanne Cathro May 13th, 2019

What a fabulous review!! Thank you, I am VERY excited to be coming down to see it later in the month

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