18/11/2023 - 16/12/2023
Written by Michael Galvin
Directed by Kate-Louise Elliott
Matthew Mann is the greatest songwriter he knows. But the judges on TV ratings phenomenon ‘Kiwi Talent’ are far more interested in the boy- band he fronted 27 years ago. Determined to win the competition, Matthew begrudgingly reforms ‘BoyburNZ’ with his middle-aged bandmates, renames the group ‘Mannbannd’, and sets out to redefine music as we know it.
Centrepoint Theatre, 280 Church Street, Palmerston North
Opening Night • Saturday 18 November 2023
Closing Night • Saturday 16 December 2023
Wednesday • 6.30PM
Thursday • 7.30PM
Friday • 7.30PM
Saturday • 7.30PM
Sunday • 4PM
Adult • $54; Early Bird $49
Concession* • $41; Early Bird $44
Tertiary Student • $34
Secondary Student • $29
Dinner + Show • $100
*Seniors and Community Services Cardholders. Valid I.D. is required.
Starring Blair Strang, Roy Snow, John Wraight and Emma Katene
Voice Over Actors:
Kate Louise Elliott
Director Kate Louise Elliott
Production Manager Marshall Rankin
Lighting Designer Kate Anderson
Set Construction Harvey Taylor
Set Designer Alex Wilson
Stage Manager/Technical Operator Belle Harrison
Costume Designer Ian Harman
Music Producer Jed Parsons
Sound Designer Belle Harrison
A/V, animation Designer Jacob McDonald
Video Production Aja Lethaby and Meg Putze
General Manager/Artistic Director Kate Louise Elliott
Business Manager Martin Carr
Associate Director Alex Wilson
Marketing Manager Jacob McDonald
Outreach Coordinator Leona Revell
Box Office Manager Mikel O’Connell
Theatre , Music ,
2 hours including interval
Cleverly written, tightly directed, stellar acting, well produced and designed
Review by Tania Kopytko 19th Nov 2023
Centrepoint’s 2023 theme is “The year of Fun” and so it finishes off this year with MannBannd, a work of “fantasma-galactical” humour and ideas. The play is written by actor and highly successful playwright Michael Galvin, who also makes a brief appearance in the show via video – as a former member of the boyband who is unfortunately stuck in the Antarctic undertaking scientific research into ice.
The Centrepoint show is a New Zealand and world premiere, as was their previous show Two Guitars. It is great to see Centrepoint supporting new works.
This play really is extraordinary and fantastical. The main character, Matthew Mann, works by day as a postal worker – a job that has been quite convenient for some of New Zealand’s artists. In his other artistic life, he considers himself a great songwriter and aspires to be a famous artist. He enters the top New Zealand Kiwi Talent show and rather than being knocked out, he is challenged to reform a youth boyband called BoyburNZ, which he once starred in. So, he calls up his now middle-aged music mates and convinces them to take part in the competition as MannBannd, for which he has written new songs.
The play opens with some of these great Mann songs, the lyrics of which take you on a hilarious heady tour of weird analogies of inner emotion and cosmic allusion. If that’s not enough, when performed by the group, the songs have the best “worst choreography” I have seen in ages. The unitard costumes, which never worked in their early fashionable time, look simply amazing on middle aged bodies, especially with the ribbons flapping around them. Costume designer Ian Harman came up with some doozeys for this production.
From the first words the audience laughs and chuckles all the way through the show. However, the cleverly written play has light and shade. Each character has their problems and this brings depth to the comedy. It prompts some aws and ahs from the audience who follow the play closely all the way through.
Tightly directed by Kate-Louise Elliott, this is a stellar acting crew with Blair Strang as Matt, a bearded long-haired John Wraight as Vince and Roy Snow as Glen. Emma Katene plays a strong Aia, who brings a twist to the man-band and like all the other characters, strongly conveys her amusing, almost paranormal dialogue, and character foibles.
The music is produced by Jed Parsons who has done a fantastic job of turning the weird lyrics into singable numbers. There is no mention of a choreographer so I am thinking this is a team effort – well done team, the dance is truly up to the highly exacting standards of choreography-by-committee.
In all, this play is slick, well-paced, well produced and designed, and is a wonderful play to end a rather doom and gloom year with. Comedy, musical theatre and great actors – it’s perfect for Palmerston North. Mannbannd is on until 16 December. Don’t miss it – go out and have a good deep laugh.
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