Ladies a Plate

Stage Door, Doreen Doolan Mall, Jackson St, Petone, Hutt Valley

15/10/2009 - 18/10/2009

Production Details

Ladies a Plate is a collaborative work from playwright, actress Geraldine Brophy and actress daughter, Beatrice Joblin.

It is inspired by a New Zealand nostalgic afternoon tea menu. Meringues and Sausage Rolls, Sponge Cakes and Anzac biscuits all feature in this warm hearted work, written and performed by the real life mother and daughter duo.

The play’s themes are derived from the recipes {and the stories that go with them} that are passed down from generation to generation in families.

Nurture and psychosis lurk in every bowl of creamed butter and sugar, and many laughs and tears line each baking tin.

The piece lasts 65 minutes and is best enjoyed with a glass of wine and a lamington, both of which are available on the night.

The premiere season of four performances will take place
on 15, 16, 17, 18 of October
at the "Stage Door"
a new venue in the Doreen Doolan Mall, Jackson St, Petone. 

Tickets are $25.

Curtain is at 8pm (Thursday – Saturaday), with refreshments available from 7pm.
4pm Sunday
, refreshments from 3pm.  

In keeping with nostalgia, EFT POS is not available.

BOOKINGS through Arthritis NZ ph. 570 5791

Bread of Life               b.joblin
Belgian Biscuits             g.brophy
Sausage Rolls              b.joblin
Anzac Biscuits             b.joblin
Coconut Cake              b.joblin 
Chocolate Sponge             g.brophy
The Tupperware Party    b.joblin 
Meringues                     g.brophy
Apricot Shortcake          b.joblin
Shortbread                         g.brophy
Butterfly Cakes                g.brophy
Ode to Tea                        g.brophy
Lamingtons                   b.joblin
Onion Biscuits             b.joblin

Nutrition for the heart, mind and soul

Review by John Smythe 17th Oct 2009

If baking be an act of love, it comes in many flavours. Geraldine Brophy and her daughter Beatrice Joblin serve up 14 helpings in Ladies a Plate, enjoying a brief 4-show season at Petone’s ‘Stage Door’ (previously a cinema, I believe). 

Mostly monologues, but not entirely, their scripts – 8 by Joblin; 6 by Brophy – range through time and across socio-economic groups to characterise insightful historical vignettes with baking as their common denominator. Sometimes they perform their own scripts, sometimes each other’s and some are done together.

A paean to ‘The Bread of Life’ is the appetiser: "It’s about love …"

The now-aged Phyllis (Brophy), born and bred in Waipukurau – yet with faintly Cockney elements to her accent (or is that the ‘Canterbury Kiwi’ dialect I am detecting?) – regales us with a pretty tale of how a plain girl gets groomed for domestic work by learning to cook and thus invents ‘Belgian Biscuits’, with a little help from a German farm-worker..

In gently rhyming couplets Joblin offers a cautionary tale about a boy who would eat nothing but sausage rolls. They combine over ‘Anzac Biscuits’ to confront the question of our men going to war, Joblin as the proud girlfriend, Brophy as the bitter mother. Written by Joblin, this is an especially powerful piece.  

Their same difference as sisters is celebrated over ‘Coconut Cake’. In ‘Chocolate Sponge’ a long-distance phone call finds a strongly opinionated Mum (Brophy) telling her London-based son Felix how to feed Greeks – the about-to-visit family of his flatmate Alex – while sister Felicity (Joblin) keeps topping up Mum’s pinot gris, knowing what is about to be revealed.

‘Tupperware Party’ gets the couplet treatment from Joblin again as she expands the parameters of passion. In ‘Meringues’ – in which Brophy’s light writing characteristically dissolved to reveal a nutritious kernel – abusive men turn out to be the binding element between two very different women taking refuge in a bus shelter.

Changing tastes in men are explored by Joblin in ‘Apricot Shortcake’, soaked in a delightful Kiwi accent. A poker-faced Brophy offers an hilarious example of child logic in ‘Shortbread’, where the amusing chat about the efficacy of Grandma Pat’s biscuit mixture in curing worms leads to more poignant revelations of what this six year-old girl is having to cope with.

Notions of life support are addressed by Brophy as mother of a supine young woman in ‘Butterfly Cakes’, where another family unit is deftly sketched with insight and compassion. In ‘Ode to Tea’ she also parodies Shakespeare’s 18th sonnet by comparing tea to a bowl of latte.

Adding to a theme of baking’s role in the presence of death, Joblin’s ‘Lamingtons’ plays with the oxymoronic idea that sponges are hard, so jelly crystals need to be on stand-by. Her ‘Onion Biscuits’ segue into an "It’s about love" reprise to bring their 80-minute ‘menu’ to an end.

For a show about biscuits and cakes Ladies a Plate is surprisingly nutritious for the heart, mind and soul. Hopefully this is not the last we will see of this tasty spread, given this first brief season sold out so quickly.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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Humour, sensuousness and empathy

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 17th Oct 2009

Ladies a Plate is an entertaining 65 minute anthology about food, which means, as the prologue and epilogue tell us, it is really about love.

However, most of the food that is mentioned is food that is not good for us. As the title suggests there is much nostalgia (as well as humour and pathos) in this anthology that owes a debt to Edmonds Cook Book with a heavy emphasis on cream cakes, sponges, lamingtons, Anzac biscuits, Butterfly Cakes, cream buns, sausage rolls, and Belgian biscuits.

The performance is made up of vignettes. Some are sad: a mother saying farewell to a her dying daughter, a mother baking Anzac biscuits for her son fighting overseas; and some very funny: a 6 year old boy with worms and his grandma’s biscuit mixture cure, a mother advising her son about cooking for Greeks.

In every one food is central to the moment and the food is cooked and served however inadequately or inappropriately with love whether it be in a coffin or from a paper bag belonging to a bag lady.

Geraldine Brophy and her daughter Beatrice Joblin move easily and gracefully from scene to scene always conveying this anthology’s theme with just the right amount of humour, sensuousness and empathy. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


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