Shop ‘Til You Drop

Centrepoint, Palmerston North

13/04/2013 - 25/05/2013

Production Details

Lizzy and Noeline are heading to Melbourne to shop ‘til they drop –ready to splurge their hard-earned dollars on the girly weekend shopping trip to end all shopping trips. 

Boxer and Swanee are off to the Bledisloe Cup. All they want from their Melbourne weekend is sun, beer, and for New Zealand to win the rugby.

Rose and Clifford are headed to a weekend conference in – you guessed it – Melbourne. That’s if they can catch their flight and find their hotel on time.

Six strangers, heading to Melbourne for the weekend: what could possibly go wrong?

Quite a lot, as it happens! Shop ‘Til You Drop tells the story of the hilariously epic misadventures that await our travellers when they arrive in Oz. From dodgy airline food and double bookings, to dealing with predatory taxi drivers and other colourful local characters, Shop ‘Til You Drop is a guaranteed laugh for anyone who has ever had a dream trip veer slightly off the rails.

Shop ‘Til You Drop premiered at Centrepoint Theatre in 1999 – the first playwriting collaboration between then-Artistic Director Alison Quigan and local actor (and current Artistic Director of Court Theatre in Christchurch) Ross Gumbley. The show, tailored specifically to the tastes of the Manawatu audience was a resounding success.

Now, fifteen years later, Shop ‘Til You Drop is making a comeback, with some updates to bring it into the new millennium. Anyone who saw the show the first time round may remember a life-sized purple Teletubby playing a prominent role. It’s a closely guarded secret just who…or what will be taking Tinky Winky’s place!

Jeff Kingsford-Brown is taking the reins as director of his first production since becoming Centrepoint Theatre’s Artistic Director in 2012. He is looking forward to working with a large and lively cast. The familiar faces returning to the Centrepoint stage include: Lyndee Jane Rutherford (Ladies for Hire), Darlene Mohekey (Well Hung), Craig Geenty (Man of La Mancha), Peter Hawes (Who Wants To Be 100?), Helen Moulder (Vita and Virginia); they will be joined by Andrew Ford, making his Centrepoint debut, and Jared Kirkwood, a performing arts student on placement from Whitireia Community Polytechnic.

Show Times:  
Wednesdays 6:30pm; Thursday – Saturday 8pm; Sundays 5pm 
Please note there is no Sunday performance on Sunday 14 April. 

Special Performances:

$20 Tuesday: Tuesday 16 April, 6:30pm. All tickets $20. Bookings for this performance only open on Monday 15 April at 9am through the box office at 280 Church Street or by phone 3545740. Tickets are allocated on a first in first served basis and we regret we cannot accept email or answer-phone bookings for this performance.

$38 Adults, $30 Seniors, $30 Under 30s, $28 Community Service Card Holders, $18 Students, $68 Dinner & Show.  

Lyndee Jane Rutherford, Darlene Mohekey, Craig Geenty, Andrew Ford, Jared Kirkwood, Peter Hawes, Helen Moulder.

Jeff Kingsford-Brown – Director
Adam Walker – Lighting Designer
John Hodgkins – Set Designer
Ian Harman – Costume Designer   

Murphy’s Law meets Cock-up Theory

Review by John C Ross 15th Apr 2013

As I remember it, which is dimly, this play in its premiere production at Centrepoint back in 1998 was a quite clever, amusing comedy with patches of farce. Contrariwise, this version of it, in this production, is largely farce, often quite full-on, with interludes of character-comedy. As either, it works.

Lizzy and Noelene come through Melbourne Airport’s arrival gate already in a state of manic hype about the thrilling prospect of a shopping orgy. Their logistics have been pre-planned and pre-paid-for – and turn to custard. Still, they get lucky after all.

Boxer and Swanney come across to the West Island to watch the All Blacks wallop the Wallabies – except they don’t – which is diabolical, except that this turns out to be pre-World Cup, so maybe it won’t be such a big deal after all. Professor Clifford Prout and his wife Rose have crossed the Ditch so he can deliver a paper at an academic conference – and Murphy strikes again (and again).

As the end-result of one cock-up or another, they find themselves all in the one hotel suite, with at one moment most of them literally piled on top of each other (then, blackout). The absurdity of it, while remaining marginally credible, all at sustained and varied, pace, is precisely the point, and it is often really amusing, sometimes laugh-out-loud.   

Directing farce is harder than it looks, and Jeff Kingsford-Brown has coped with it well. The play itself, too, offers adequate variety and surprising twists.  

Lyndee-Jane Rutherford as Noeline does a splendidly expressive-faced, wide-eyed rendition of a full-on character who gets chuck-up-and-flake-out stoushed, and next day goes berserk at the lingerie sale counter (there’s a nice line about a bra that’s like two shanghais linked with a shoelace). Still even Noeline has a hard fight with a demented Ocker transvestite queen who wants all the panties. She’s well matched and contrasted by Darlene Mohekey as Lizzy, equally manic at some times yet more level-headed at others.

Craig Geenty’s Boxer remains a straightforwardly rough-and-crude-as-guts hoon, but Andrew Ford’s Swanney is a more nuanced character with a capacity for empathy and growth.

Peter Hawes as Clifford Prout is a fussing, self-centred character who for all his intellect depends on his wife to tie his tie. Helen Moulder’s Rose is surprisingly interesting as a character who grows in ostensible depth and stature as the play goes on.

Jared Kirkwood, as the cast-list puts it, is “Everybody Else” and matches up to the challenge making each of his bit-part characters distinctive.

One set with a bit of dressing, and the moving in or out of hinged panels, designed by John Hodgkins, meets the different locales’ demands with the minimum of interruption.  

Sure, it’s enjoyable. A good night out. 


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