The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

14/03/2015 - 18/04/2015

Production Details

The Court Theatre will host for the first time bilateral talks between the governments of Le Sud and North Zealand from the 14 March to 18 April 2015.

The Prime Minister of North Zealand Jim Petersen will be leading a delegation of coalition partners to the Chateau du Cardrona Summit to be held in Christchurch. The delegation will commence talks with the Le Sud Government lead by Prime Minister Francois Duvauchelle.

North Zealand Prime Minister Petersen will be accompanied by Te Ika a Maui Party coalition partner Moana Maree Matakana and Lydsey Marsland of the Federation of United Consumers and Taxpayers. They will also meet with Le Sud Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy Dominique Le Bons, and Minister of Affairs L’Aboriginal Tama Te Tonga.

Prime Minister Petersen is scheduled to deliberate on the priority of lower power prices for his country. The delegation will also explore new and innovative ways to further enhance relationships with the Le Sud government.

Le Sud Deputy Prime Minister Le Bons will hold several bilateral meetings with her counterparts at the margins of the Summit, to discuss issues of mutual interest. 

The Court Theatre Chief Executive Philip Aldridge says, “We are very proud to play host to the two governments in what has to be a critical time for North Zealand. The country has struggled with spiralling debt and we hope that these talks will lead to a greater understanding between the two countries.”

In a controversial move timed to coincide with the Chateau du Cardrona Summit, Mr Aldridge is expected to announce that The Court Theatre will be breaking away from the British Commonwealth and will become an independent French Colony for the duration of the Summit.

A new official flag will be unveiled in a ceremony on 14 March 2015 at The Court Theatre to be attended by dignitaries including the Honorary French Consul.

What if the French didn’t stop at Akaroa?

Le Sud is a prosperous, independent French-speaking country to the south of North Zealand. Mon Dieu!

Sparks fly, passions are ignited and political correctness is flambéed, as French, English and Māori sensitivities clash in this sharp, hilarious, sexy comedy from Dave Armstrong. Ooh la la!

Renowned womaniser Francois Duvauchelle is the Leader of Le Sud where the people live contentedly, work just 30 hours a week and enjoy long wine-fuelled lunches. The country also has huge hydro-electric resources.

To the north, a free-market experiment has landed the English speaking country of North Zealand in recession. They eye their French socialist neighbours jealously.

In desperation North Zealand send a delegation south. Led by conservative PM Jim Petersen, they limp, pimp and pawn their way through negotiations with Le Sud in an attempt to pull their country out of economic meltdown.

Mark Hadlow, Bruce Phillips, Luanne Gordon, Rob Mokaraka, Andrew Ford and Kim Garrett feature in this delectably provocative Kiwi comedy, rewritten for post-quake Christchurch audiences.

Vive Le Sud!

Please note: Contains adult content and coarse language.

Show Sponsor: Canterbury 92.1 MoreFM 

COURT THEATRE, Christchurch
14 March to 18 April 2015
Show Times:

6:30pm Mon & Thu;
7:30pm Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat;
2:00pm Matinée Saturday 11 April 2015.
Tickets:  $56-$22
To Book phone 03 963 0870 or visit www.courttheatre.org.nz

Show website: http://www.courttheatre.org.nz/shows/le-sud

Bruce Phillips:  Francois Duvauchelle
Luanne Gordon:  Dominique Le Bon
Kim Garrett:  Moana Maree Matakana
Mark Hadlow:  Jim Petersen
Andrew Ford:  Lyndsey Marsland
Rob Mokaraka:  Tama Te Tonga 

Creatives and Crew:
Dave Armstrong - Playwright;
Ross Gumbley - Director;
Julian Southgate - Set Design;
Giles Tanner - Lighting Design;
Sean Hawkins - Sound Design;
Anneke Bester - Properties;
Pam Jones and Pauline Laws - Costume Design;
Ashlyn Smith - Stage Manager;
Sean Hawkins – Operator;
Mandy Perry - Production Manager.

Theatre ,

A hugely entertaining struggle

Review by Lindsay Clark 15th Mar 2015

The playful supposition which frames this play provides one of Dave Armstrong’s most effective springboards for his exuberant and insightful brand of humour. What if the South Island, Te Wai Pounamu, had been colonised by France rather than England? How would English and French cultures seem to each other and what role would tangata whenua have in a tri-cultural country? 

The prospect is an engaging excuse for harvesting the humour of contrasting social mores, language and aspirations as well as some sharply observed satire about political power. Wide ranging in its scope, Armstrong’s magic if allows some inspired lunacy in the plotting and intensely coloured characters covering a kaleidoscope of satirical angles.

It is laughter all the way, with an occasional ‘oooh’ as decorum is broached before the funny side of things inevitably reasserts itself. Thus we enjoy the slightly distanced perspective of comedy, while chortling at absorbingly familiar absurdities, for the 2015 version of the play has been significantly updated from its 2008 beginnings. 

Pre-show ambience is jaunty and undeniably Gallic, thanks to the chanson styling of ‘I See Red’ rendered smoothly as ‘Je vois rouge’ and Julian Southgate’s set, the sumptuous presidential palace of South Zealand, in Wanaka. Le Chateau du Cardrona has all the rich detail of a Belle Epoque restoration, overlaying traces of its original Empire period, complete with a commanding portrait of Napoleon III, whose dignity contrasts marvellously with the antics going on beneath his frozen gaze. 

The opening scene is in French, but with meaning made very clear. François Duvauchelle (Bruce Phillips) together with his second in command, Dominique Le Bons (Luanne Gordon) and Tama Te Tonga (Rob Mokaraka), prepares to receive a delegation from North Zealand. The immediate problem is their powhiri planning. Into this elegance bursts further hilarity in the persons of coalition partners Prime Minister Jim Petersen (Mark Hadlow), Moana Maree Matakana (Kim Garrett) and Lyndsey Marsland (Andrew Ford). 

Gloriously inept powhiri behind them, they get down to the business of the day: negotiations over the power supply which keeps northerners going. What follows is a hugely entertaining struggle with all the devious contrivances one could wish for as well as a plentiful supply of farce.

Ross Gumbley’s direction strikes a shrewd balance between the humour which loads the dialogue and the action of the play. His cast is a dream one, with each role defining a cultural position in high definition and colour. 

For Le Sud, smooth sophistication is the key. Bruce Phillips’ hooded gaze and slinky physicality are matched by the stylish severity of Luanne Gordon and Rob Mokaraka’s assured profiteering.

For the visitors, Mark Hadlow, leading with his famous chin, epitomises the macho approach at the same time revealing its vulnerability. Kim Garrett and Andrew Ford mark their political ground to the left and right respectively with much flair and for us, much joy.

The design team support it all effectively. Pamela Jones and Pauline Laws bring to the production costumes which speak for the character. Giles Tanner (lighting)and Sean Hawkins (sound) complete illusion and allusion neatly, as of course does the grand set from Julian Southgate, already mentioned.

The whole is an astute metaphor for the putting on of an impressive front, ultimately an exercise in absurdity. A standing ovation for all involved warmly applauded the insight and its spirited enactment on opening night.


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