Shakespeare Unbar’d - The Food of Love

Dog's Bollix Irish Pub, Auckland

06/02/2007 - 18/02/2007

Production Details

Devised by Nisha Madhan and Liesha Ward-Knox with a nod to William Shakespeare

Phundmi Productions

Love 101: The lesson of Love. A lesson inspired by none other than the highly qualified Mr William Shakespeare himself. Even the tragically clueless are guaranteed to graduate with honours from this, our school of love!

Phundmi Productions are a group of accomplished and dedicated theatre professionals at the beginnings of their careers. Greatly praised and respected by audiences and industry peers alike, Phundmi are very excited about the encore performance of their debut work: Shakespeare Unbar’d.

Taking theatre to the people, Phundmi attack the subject of love from every angle with an undeniably infectious joy and enthusiasm. The play’s intimate venue (The Dog’s Bollix), along with the cast’s accessible and entertaining approach to Shakespeare, creates an interactive and hilarious experience!

For bookings, email, or phone or text 021 257 9455.

Venue:  The Dog’s Bollix, 582 Karangahape Road, Auckland
This is an R18 venue (unless accompanied by an adult).

Cost:  Adult $20, student $17

Tue 06 Feb 07 – Sun 18 Feb 07, on Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri 7:00pm
Tue 06 Feb 07 – Sun 18 Feb 07, on Sat, Sun 4:00pm

Performance: Liesha Ward Knox, Nisha Madhan, Sarah Gallagher, Hayley Dallimore, Daniel Mainwaring, Sam Berkley, Francis Mountjoy and Daniel Coppersmith.

Theatre ,

Fun with Willy

Review by Nik Smythe 19th Feb 2007

There is something a little extra-twisted about watching young adults dressed as school children exploring matters of the heart, e.g. ‘Love 101’, using the written material of one well known Elizabethan dramatist under the guidance of a saucy French mistress.  ‘Mistress Love’, played with handsome grace by Hayley Dalliomore, supplies narrative links to 3 love-based comedies – As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night, as well as providing her own deconstructive analysis of what it all means and how this wisdom can be of any use.

Devised by Nisha Madhan and Liesha Ward-Knox, both of whom also perform and produce with Anna Francino and fellow actor Daniel Mainwaring, Shakespeare Unbar’d expresses the necessary kind of spirit for a show like this to work.  The cast consisting primarily, if not entirely, of Unitec grads, whose mission is “…to have a s*%t load of fun doing what we do best and make you laugh while we do it!”.

As each story is introduced in turns the structure is established, so that later on it can be messed around with. A number of characters are introduced somewhat hurriedly, presumably in order to get right to the action – for example, first Shakespeare ‘clip’: the wrestling match from As You Like It.  The result is a fun show with many clever ideas which doesn’t always breathe quite perfectly, albeit performed dedicatedly by a spunky young cast.

Messing with Shakespeare in this way can run the risk of being excessively in-jokey and self-indulgent, but the balance seems quite good between classic Shakespeare, original comedy and self-referential gags and gimmicks.  Generally the actors play their main character roles with panache, notably Madhan’s feisty Maria to  Mainwaring’s pious Malvolio, and Francis Mountjoy’s well contrasted roles of Orlando and Puck.  Some of the more incidental characters don’t seem to be owned as much by the actors, but mostly they appear having the fun that is their mission statement.

The education motif extends to the programme, presented like an english assignment with notes and corrections and a grade of A+ (just!).  Nice touch.  The show itself I would give about a B+ or NCEA equivalent.  Not so much Could Try Harder, rather there is some room for further application, which I think is entirely possible given the energy and drive of Phundmi Productions’ cast and company.

As for the apparently rising popularity of the phenomenon that is Pub Theatre, I’m all for it.  It’s a refreshing return to old world art forms in this increasingly virtual world of technological media, in a venue which bridges some of the gap between us theatre-literate ponces and more normal kinds of people.  Special ups to the Dog’s Bollix, in my opinion the finest pub in Auckland.


Stuart Bradbury February 20th, 2007

Right on the money! Saw this last year at the same venue and was gutted to miss it this time around. Wanted to take friends along to share the love! The season seems to have finished now - a rather unfortunate timing for the review methinks - is a return planned? Or possibly a new work in the making?

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