BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington

14/05/2013 - 18/05/2013

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


Time for another round of satire with the award nominated Public Service Announcements. 

This season’s challenge?  How do you make the traditionally most boring year in a political cycle, the year before an election, interesting and engaging?

The Answer: Do what any other country would do and start a war, or in this case, a revolution! And who else could lead that revolution but New Zealand’s loudest public activist, and occasional politician, Hone Harawira.  

2013 is a year of change. Cabinet has been re-shuffled, the Opposition have responded, and now the challenges begin. Have Steven and John picked the right team for the job? Can Hekia fulfill her promise / a promise / any promise? Can Shearer make Labour click? Are the Greens ready to challenge for control of the Left? How many aces is Winston holding? How many politicians can the Maori Party hold? What the hell is John Banks still doing here? And why can’t anyone remember Peter Dunne?  

Then to make things even more interesting, here comes a giant, angry, bespectacled, spanner in the works – Hone…the Barbarian – and he’s had enough of Politicians, Politics, and just being the Lone Wolf of Maoridom. It’s Hone Time – and if he has his way, not only will this revolution be televised, it will be on film, maybe even a TED talk, and will change New Zealand politics forever.

Written again by Billy T and Chapman Tripp Nominee, James Nokise, and Directed by Rachel Henry, Public Service Announcements has built up an enthusiastic local following over the past few years with six popular and critically acclaimed shows consistently highlighting the ridiculous nature of New Zealand politics.   

“The cast brought continual waves of laughter from the audience to make this laugh-a-minute show a great piece of political satire and very entertaining.” – Ewen Coleman, Dominion Post 

Dates:  14 – 18 May, 8:00pm
Venue:  BATS Theatre, cnr Cuba & Dixon Sts, CBD
Tickets:  Adults $20, Conc. $15, groups of 6+ $15
Bookings:  04 802 4175 or 

POLITICIANS                        PLAYERS 
John Key                         David Lawrence
Bill English                       Alex Greig
Paula Bennet                   Johanna Cosgrove
Hekia Parata                   Salesi Le'ota 
Judith Collins                   Hayden Frost
Nikki Kaye                       Jean Sergent
Pita Sharples                   Salesi Le'ota
John Banks                     Hayden Frost
Peter Dunne                    Alex Greig
David Shearer                  Simon Leary
Grant Robertson               Andrew Paterson
Jacinda Ardern                 Anya Tate-Manning
David Parker                   Thom Adams
Russel Norman                Aiden Weekes
Metiria Turei                    Anya Tate-Manning
Hone Harawira                 James Nokise
Colin Craig                      Hayden Frost
Tracy Martin                     Ria Simmons
Winston Peters                 Allan Henry 

Long may Nokise bring it

Review by Maraea Rakuraku 16th May 2013

If I was looking to pitch a political satirical television programme – think Spitting Image (UK: 1984-1996) and Public Eye (NZ: late 80s) without the latex puppetry – I’d head straight to James Nokise and hire him immediately as a writer. He knows his stuff and how to package and deliver it in a mad paced and packed 60 minutes, proven by Public Service Announcements: Revolution

The cast of 14 is based on our current politicians and if you didn’t know they were real there’s no way you could make this stuff up.

Set in parliament on what is budget day, the action unfolds both within and outside the house as politicians rally for the reading of the budget. But not before, Bill English (Alex Greig) has a crisis of confidence that sets off a whole series of events that while highly improbable are hilarious. And it’s through this maelstrom the cast strut.    

Judith Collins (Hayden Frost) is realistically terrifying. Salesi Le’ota rocks Hekia Parata and I stifle giggles when I see his Pita Sharples mumbling toi whakaari, toi whakaari.

Some of the caricatures are more developed then others, Hone Harawira (James Nokise) is a stand-out, though Sole – what’s with that accent?  But it’s Allan Henry’s Winston Peters that is so so hilarious.  I find myself, as I am in real life, magnetically drawn to watching him.  The king of one-liners is nearly eclipsed by the faux king of one-liners. 

I can see why the cast look like they’re having a hoot of a time because … it’s a hoot! The writing is that solid, fun and current (there’s an Aaron Gilmore reference) and the directors Rachel Henry and Anya Tate Manning have made some inspired comic choices (Andrew Paterson’s Grant Robertson – brilliant), though it does take me a while to figure out the purpose of the mini theatre booth, I was relishing the entertainment so much.

There are a few cringe homophobic references and it’s refreshing to see the racism, that usually runs hand-in-hand with this, is kept to a minimum and in the end overwhelmed by the overall tone of the show and some well-judged interventions by Nokise.  Though, of course, there’s a Tame Iti.  There’s always a Tame Iti. 

In some parts Public Service Announcements: Revolution reminds me of The Thick Of It; in others, a kind of mad-cap Enid Blyton adventure. It’s biting, lean on the moral lesson (even better) and well observed, intelligent, political commentary with priceless one liners that I wish I had thought of first. It’s what’s missing in New Zealand Television programming (and no, Seven Days doesn’t count – bet that rarks up all the anonymous haters) and I’m not saying that because its woooo TV but because this kind of political commentary – similar to Radio New Zealand’s weekly, Down the List (Dave Armstrong) – demands and deserves a wider nationwide audience.

Sure, there are some who may say being about politics makes it immediately inaccessible to most folk. Not so, I challenge them to find anyone who can’t relate today, in this country, to Public Service Announcements: Revolution.

How James Nokise managed to squeeze in two works – this one, Public Service Announcements: Revolution and So So Gangsta – into the International Comedy Festival as a writer and performer, is impressive.  Long may he bring it. Long may he continue to write and develop this quality of work.


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council
Waiematā Local Board logo