Q Theatre, The Vault, Auckland

16/09/2014 - 27/09/2014

Production Details

Maggie Royal has died. Her three children return home to rural Kihikihi to send her off, but with three vastly different siblings, shit is bound to go down.

Violet is one helluva Kardashian fan, Wolfe is two days sober, and Pats would like – just once, please, for everyone to get along. Told with crackling wit and a menacing underbelly, Royals of Kihikihi is a black comedy that rips off the family Band-Aid in an ode to complicated sibling relationships.

With a cast featuring one of New Zealand theatre’s grand-dames and three of Auckland’s hottest young talents, get down to Kihikihi and help the Royals’ pay their disrespects.

Supported by Wallace Arts Trust 

Venue: Q Vault
Tuesday Sep 16 to Saturday Sep 27 2014
Show times: Tues – Sat, 8pm | Wed 17 Sept, 1pm 
$18 – $20
60 mins no interval

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Cast:  Sylvia Rands, Samuel Christopher, Luci Hare, Holly Shervey

Sound and Light Design:  Amber Molloy
Production Manager:  Melissa Ansell-Bridges
Assistant Director:  Lauren Gibson
Set Design:  Jessica Hyunh
Costume Design:  Morgan Albrecht 

A good introduction to a promising young playwright

Review by Janet McAllister 20th Sep 2014

In a great touch, the first light seen in this real-time apres-funeral dramedy is the flickering blue of a television. Semi-comatose, Violet watches the Kardashian sisters fight. Later, she models her communication strategies on the reality TV stars, but Khloe’s scriptwriters would struggle to keep up with the memorable insults that playwright Samuel Christopher gives his family of characters.

Violet says her brother’s ex “smelled like herpes”; their sister Patsy says Violet “graduated from the Lindsay Lohan school of f***ing nothing”. Then comes the worst insult of all: “you’re just like Mum” – the mother they just buried. [More]


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Entertaining and insightful

Review by Johnny Givins 17th Sep 2014

Royals of Kihikihi is a wonderfully vicious Kiwi production that is filled with surprises, great one liners and lots of laughs. It holds the mirror up to families in small town NZ, reflecting all our contradictions suffering, pain and need for love.  

A remarkable piece of theatre, it reveals layer by layer, with truth and humour, the damaged lives of three adult children.  It is set after the funeral of Maggie Royal, the town drunk. Her children return to their mum’s home after long absences.  They all hated their mother. Violet (Holly Shervey) the youngest, most vulnerable and troubled, has avoided going to the funeral.  Wolf Royal (Samuel Christopher) is a writer just returned from a four year exile in London and drug rehab.  Pat (Luci Hare) is the big blond sister with a tongue that lashes and fires. 

All three ran from a mother who was violent and abusive.  Each has scars, deep anger and a need to belong. Fuelled by burning resentment, the three siblings hold little back as the stories of the past are rekindled.  Each character is believable, accurate and powerful. They interact, interweave and abuse each other splendidly.  Up close this is a messy family!

The delightful arrival of mum’s friend (Sylvia Rands) is a tour de force of excellent comedy acting and writing.  Rands works at the TAB and was Maggie’s drinking and party buddy. With a Kiwi accent of profound accuracy and vocal colour, Rands brings a real NZ icon to the stage.  She is large, filled with common sense, and a natural mother.  Down to earth and full of straight-talking down home truths, she inadvertently becomes the catalyst for the truth to be revealed.

It is my first time down the stairs to the basement area of Q Vault.  A great acting space with room for about 100 in comfy seats, it is a creative space for exploration.  With set and costumes by Kat Stephens, the space is transformed into a familiar NZ rental home covered with the detritus of uncared for and messy lives.  Even the laundry drying on the clothes racks has the sadness of neglect.

In NZ Election week, with lots of media talk about the underprivileged, poor and the need for a more caring society, Royals of Kihikihi reflects the real story.  However it doesn’t preach, doesn’t try to explain or rationalize.  Writer Samuel Christopher lets these characters deal with their messy lives… nothing is resolved.  It is entertaining and insightful show with excellent skilled performers and tight direction by Zinnie Selwyn and Lauren Gibson.


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