unHinged Productions, Gisborne

30/11/2013 - 01/12/2013

The Moorings, 31 Glenbervie Tce, Wellington

12/12/2013 - 13/12/2013

Napier Soundshell, Napier

26/11/2013 - 26/11/2013

Gaiety Theatre, Wairoa,

28/11/2013 - 28/11/2013

New Place Theatre, Hamilton

08/12/2013 - 08/12/2013

Aro Valley Community Centre, Wellington

15/12/2013 - 15/12/2013

The Cargo Shed,16 Dive Crescent, Tauranga Waterfront, Tauranga

02/12/2013 - 05/12/2013

St Peter's Village Hall, Beach Road, Paekākāriki

10/12/2013 - 10/12/2013

Production Details

Wellington Theatre Troupe Brings Shakespeare and More on Tour 

The Lord Lackbeards promise to meld the classic with the cutting edge, following in the footsteps of traditional touring players. 

They will be presenting original practice Shakespeare along-side a contemporary work by award winning Victoria University playwright Henrietta Bollinger. 

William Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet, and contemporary work Bedtime Monsters, will comprise the first summer tour by The Lord Lackbeards Theatre Troupe. (See separate listing for Bedtime Stories)

The tour will be touring New Zealand’s North Island from November 26th through December 15th.

The Lord Lackbeards are theatre troupe based at Victoria University of Wellington, aiming to bring original practice Shakespeare to a wider New Zealand audience. The decision to tour more widely has followed their succe.

The troupe always create work which is both entertaining, accessible, and guaranteed to capture any audience. Although they have primarily focussed on Shakespeare, also they also aim to foster the performance of contemporary work, especially that of Victoria University students. Through touring, they hope to give writers and actors exposure on a national level, while giving their audiences a rare look into the world of Elizabethan performance.

Founding company member Chennoah Walford says “opportunities to tour work to smaller towns are few and far between. We’re taking this opportunity and running with it, and that means a really special experience for both New Zealand audiences and our artists.”

Director Ania Upstill says “Since this is primarily a touring production, we’re not focused on costumes or set. Instead, we’re spending time on what we have: allowing the words to take on their full power and keeping the audience in the room. Also, like in Shakespeare’s time, we’re doubling up on the roles. All of the seven actors involved have multiple roles, so costume changes are fast and fun.”

Romeo and Juliet is undoubtedly one of Shakespeare’s best known plays. This production takes a fresh look, aiming to highlight the comic in the play. Music, dancing, bold colour choices and versatile set pieces are at the heart. There is a also strong focus on the diversity of interpretations of ‘love’ within the play, evoking both the physical and the metaphysical to meet this challenge.

Connect with us on Twitter at @LordLackbeards, on Facebook at, or visit our website at  

Performance Dates, Venues and Times

Tues 26 November 6pm Napier Soundshell Romeo and Juliet
[Wed 27 November 6pm Napier Soundshell Bedtime Monsters]

Thurs 28 November 2pm Gaiety Theatre, Wairoa Romeo and Juliet
[Thurs 28 November 6pm Gaiety Theatre, Wairoa Bedtime Monsters]

[Sat 30 November 2pm unHinged Productions, Gisborne Bedtime Monsters
Sat 30 November 7pm unHinged Productions, Gisborne Romeo and Juliet
Sun 1 December 2pm unHinged Productions, Gisborne Romeo and Juliet
[Sun 1 December 7pm unHinged Productions, Gisborne Bedtime Monsters]

Mon 2 December 6pm The Cargo Shed, Tauranga Romeo and Juliet
[Tues 3 December 6pm The Cargo Shed, Tauranga Bedtime Monsters]
Wed 4 December 6pm The Cargo Shed, Tauranga Romeo and Juliet
[Thurs 5 December 6pm The Cargo Shed, Tauranga Bedtime Monsters

[Fri 6 December 7.30pm New Place Theatre, Hamilton Bedtime Monsters
[Sat 7 December 3pm New Place Theatre, Hamilton Bedtime Monsters]
Sat 7 December 7.30pm New Place Theatre, Hamilton Bedtime Monsters]  
Sun 8 December 3pm Medici Court, Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Romeo and Juliet (koha show)
[Sun 8 December 7.30pm New Place Theatre, Hamilton Bedtime Monsters]  

Tues 10 December 7pm St Peters Hall, Paekakariki Romeo and Juliet
[Wed 11 December 7pm St Peters Hall, Paekakariki Bedtime Monsters]  

Thurs 12 December 7pm The Moorings, Wellington Romeo and Juliet 
Fri 13 December 7pm The Moorings, Wellington Romeo and Juliet 

[Sat 14 December 3pm Aro Valley Community Centre, Wellington Bedtime Monsters]
[Sat 14 December 7.30pm Aro Valley Community Centre, Wellington Bedtime Monsters
Sun 15 December 3pm Aro Valley Community Centre, Wellington Romeo and Juliet 

Katie Boyle - Juliet and Lady Montague
Michael Hebenton - Romeo and Abram
Tom Kereama - Prince, Paris and Samspson
Ania Upstill - Benvolio and Friar
Cassandra Tse - Lady Capulet, Mercutio and Friar John
Chennoah Walford - Nurse, Tybalt, Montague and Balthasaar
David Lafferty - Lord Capulet, Sampson, Apothecary

Theatre ,

Amiable, lucid and effortless

Review by John Smythe 13th Dec 2013

In true troubadour style the Lord Lackbeards – 4f, 2m of whom two are hirsute – are singing love songs as we descend to the ‘ballroom’ of The Moorings in Thorndon (but a stone’s throw from premiere House, speaking figuratively of course). Validly setting the variations in tone are The Beatles’ tritest song, ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’, the Sinatras’ ‘Something Stupid’ (“and then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like ‘I Love You’”), and Leigh Nash’s (this is) ‘My Idea of Heaven’ (lying here with you).

The clothes are modern – touches of blue depicting the Montagues; red the Capulets – and the thrust space staging is simply backed by a curtained triangle flanked by masking flats, and here the gallery level is happily utilised for the balcony scene. Director Ania Upstill has ensured a fluid flow to the action.

With fluent ease the seven actors cover twenty characters as they play out the tragic tale of two houses divided by parental strife. And perhaps they are too laid back at times, where the dramatic changes could be more dynamically rung – specifically the moments of death. We may rationalise (spoiler alerts?) that Tybalt doesn’t care when he fatally wounds Mercutio, whose bravado attempts to mask the severity of it. When Romeo reciprocates by knifing Tybalt we do get that he registers the gravity of his action. But the all-important ‘moments of nothing’ when everything changes are not given their due when the Nurse discovers Juliet apparently dead, Romeo discovers it too, and Juliet discovers Romeo dead.

Michael Hebenton truthfully navigates Romeo’s emotional states and marks well his moments of change. Katie Boyle is likewise fully immersed in Juliet as she segues from slightly petulant but obedient teenager to love-struck innocent with tendencies to lust while showing a sharp intelligence with her banter from the balcony. But then she goes and spoils it all by running whole sentences together as one word in ‘interior monologue’ tone, despite the convention of direct address being happily employed elsewhere through the production.   

Tom Kereama wields appropriate authority as the Prince and initially plays a straight hand as Paris then, unaccountably, turns him into a wacky loon when told he’s to marry Juliet on Thursday. If this is not a one-night aberration, the director must share responsibility for this misstep.

Along with an appropriately comical Gregory and a nicely bewildered Apothecary, David Lafferty finds a good emotional range in the role of Lord Capulet, the would-be benign dictator of his household. Cassandra Tse matches him well as Lady Capulet, manifests Mercutio with alacrity and contrasts them well with the Servant (Peter) and Friar John.

Ania Upstill balances an impressively swaggering Benvolio with a suitably studious Friar Laurence. Chennoah Walford accompanies her broad Irish Nurse (who this night tends to Act more than ‘be’) with a well-delineated trio of males: Tybalt, Lord Montague and Balthasar.

While the pathos and tragedy could be mined more deeply, this telling of Romeo and Juliet is amiable, lucid and over in an effortless 100 minutes (no interval).  

(Pedantic note: The ‘o’ in ‘doth’ is pronounced as in ‘does’, not as in moth.)


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Refreshing energy

Review by Gin Mabey 04th Dec 2013

The Cargo Shed on Tauranga’s waterfront hosts Lord Lackbeard’s production of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

In a thrust-stage configuration amongst the local art, crafts and jewellery of the Cargo Shed, the audience sits and listens to the very well sung, melodious songs of romance, sung comfortably and with jovial teamwork by the young cast. My favourite song by The Beatles, ‘I’ve Just Seen a Face’, is a positive (yet biased) start to the show.

A simple, split curtain sits upstage centre, with flower baskets on each corner; this is the entirety of the set. Costumes are simple and changed when necessary, clearly defining multiple roles played by each actor.

The play is delivered with refreshing simplicity, no contextual twists or attempts at making the play contemporary in ‘familiar’ settings; the company is clearly set on letting the story shine through.

A slowing down of the speech, and more savouring over the words would not go amiss, but this could be down to personal preference.  

Particularly effective is the scene in which Lord Capulet (David Lafferty) blows up at Juliet at her refusal to marry Paris. Lafferty’s portrayal of the old man is fantastic, nothing but plain old good acting makes this a stand-out moment.

I must give special mention to Chennoah Walford: her performance as the nurse is whole and committed; her physicality, voice, connection to other actors and inclusion of the audience was done flawlessly. She is the kind of actress you really wish you could see more of, as you can just tell she is versatile.

The energy of the actors brings enough refreshment to this classic, a solid performance by a great company with an admirable goal. 


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