Penalties, Pints and Pirouettes

Centrepoint, Palmerston North

06/11/2010 - 18/12/2010

Production Details

In small-town, rural New Zealand the town of Maungakaka. Their respective rugby clubs mirror this phenomenon. The once successful Maungakaka Rugby Club has been approached by their arch enemies, Hillcrest, to amalgamate and create one very strong club. 

Despite initial reluctance from Maungakaka, the players gradually realize that they must put aside their own personal grievances against Hillcrest in order to do the best for the future of rugby in the area. 

Along this comic and chaotic journey, the guys come to terms with the fact that maybe rugby isn’t the backbone of the community that it once was. They find that community strength and spirit can be found in the least likely place, namely the production of a male ballet in a fundraiser for the local school. 

Centrepoint Theatre
Palmerston North
Saturday 6 November–Saturday 18 December.
Performance Times: Wednesday 6.30pm, Thursday – Saturday 8pm,
Sunday 5pm (no performance Sunday 7 November)
Prices: $35 Adults, $30 Senior Citizen, $20 Super Gold Card Holders, $20 Community Service Card Holders, $12 Students, Group Discunts for 10+ (show only), $60 Dinner & Show. 

Click here to book online 

Production Manager: Brendan Van Den Berg
Set Designer: Nicole Cosgrove
Costume Designer: Nicole Cosgrove
Lighting Designer: Nathan McKendry
Choreographer: Sarah Foster
Set Builder 1: Ian Cooper
Set Builder 2: Harvey Taylor
Stage Manager & Props: Brendan Van Den Berg
Operator: John Lepper
Lighting Rig: Image Group
Renee Sheridan: Fiona Robson
Greg Johnson: Tony Robson
Glen Pickering: Dave Robson
Todd Justin Emerson: Horse
Greg Padoa: Sam
James Kupa: Hemi
Keith Adams: James

Rough-textured play deftly produced

Review by John C Ross 07th Nov 2010

Back in my student days, the male ballet was a regular highlight of annual capping shows, with prop-forward-type blokes in tutus doing the graceful Swan Lake thing (sort of) – and how they must have worked their butts off to get to do it as well as they did! It was wonderfully funny.

The playwright’s programme note indicates that six years ago he was part of a Waipu Rugby Club group that did the same sort of thing, as the finale of a local fundraiser show, and that this play grew out of that. The ballet-plus-add-ons at its climax is just as hilarious, if not more so.

Formula-wise, this is one of those plays in which an unlikely bunch of no-hopers get to work to meet the challenge of putting on some kind of performance, and eventually to a surprising degree succeed. Think Ladies’ Night, where the trainer of the male strippers was a lady. That’s what this set of players from an easy-beat, going-down-the-drain rugby team expect, but what they get is a gay. One who can, really, teach ballet, but only that. And they’re already trapped into having to perform something-or-other …

Meanwhile there’s enough boozing, rough-house, bloody-minded refusals to play ball, personal conflicts, intrigues, power-games, and so forth, going on, to make us think this is highly unlikely to work. We see nothing of serious rehearsals. Hence, the performance when it comes is full of surprises. Here, it is adroitly choreographed by Sarah Foster. 

This production is the play’s first-ever professional outing, following two at amateur level, and Lyndee-Jane Rutherford has once again proved her flair as its director. It’s a rough-textured play, by nature, yet it moves along very deftly. Already, by the first night, everything works. 

The anchor for the cast is the veteran actor Greg Johnson, wryly expressive as Tony Robson, the aging team-captain morosely battling to keep what is left of his team and club and marriage together. How he manages the dancing is a marvel.

Renee Sheridan as his feisty wife Fiona carries off a string of complex interactions with assured skill. Glen Pickering as his brother, Dave, copes well with a shift from being a bolshie boozer and a brutally cynical stud to something less abrasive.

Greg Padoa as Sam, the one remaining class player, also sustains his stroppy character well, as does James Kupa as Hemi, in a well-judged performance. Todd Justin Emerson makes much of his role as Horse, not all that bright or quick, yet cheerily endearing.

Still, the most flair comes from Keith Adams, who doubles as the smoothly obnoxious, hetero James, Tony’s rival in every way, and as Kelly the gay, with every movement and facial expression humorously pitched. 

Nicole Cosgrove’s set design, with a flexible single set, serves the production well, as do her costumes.

This is Centrepoint’s Christmas-season show, for office parties and the like, and it should fill this slot admirably. It is not for the very-easily-shocked, yet manages to be rude at times without being offensive to the rest of us, and to be feel-good enjoyable. 


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