Skin Tight

Te Karanga Gallery, Auckland

30/09/2009 - 03/10/2009

Production Details

Charged with intensity and passion, Skin Tight is a story that will stay with you for a long time to come.

Tom and Elizabeth share the tale of their lives together through triumph and loss, joy and pain.

In the rustic setting of rural south Canterbury post war, they delight in the trivial things and mourn the greatest losses of all.  The audience is gripped from the outset by a relationship that is at once tempestuous, touching, amusing and utterly engaging.

Elizabeth is played by Sia Trokenheim, who started her acting as a child in her home country of Sweden, while Tom is played by Matt Hudson.

Inspired by Denis Glover’s classic poem, The Magpies, Gary Henderson’s stirring opus of yearning and memory won a Fringe First Award at Edinburgh. 

This production is enhanced by the musical sound scapes of Luke Di Somma, currently on a Fulbright scholarship in New York and directed by Jon Pheloung. 

A masterpiece of New Zealand theatre Skin Tight is humorous, poignant and moving, an experience rich with sensuality and emotion.  The playwright Gary Henderson was born in Geraldine Sth Canterbury, the setting for the play and is now based in Auckland as a writer and director.

Share in a timelessly passionate and powerful love story.  Of the recent Court theatre season in Christchurch the reviewer said :

"The actors inhabit their roles as if they knew no other life.  Sia Trokenheim is lithe and spontaneous as Elizabeth.  Her total conviction is matched by a beautifully judged performance from Matt Hudson as Tom.  Both have the ability and control to refine their roles with telling detail."  Lindsay Clark,

Sat 29  Ashburton Art Gallery 4.30pm 
Sun 30  Primary School Hall Geraldine 4pm


Wed 2 Oamaru Opera House 7.30pm
Thurs 3  Town Hall Roxburgh 7.30pm
Fri 4  Bannockburn Hall Cromwell 7.30pm
Sat 5  Riverton Arts Centre

Tue 8  Chamber Gallery Rangiora Library 8pm
Wed 9  Area School Hall Reefton 7.30pm
Fri 11  Golden Bay Playhouse Takaka 8pm
Sat 12 The Playhouse Cafe Nelson 8pm

Wed 16  Lawson Field Theatre Gisborne 8pm
Thurs 17  Little Theatre Whakatane 7.30pm
Fri 18  Tauranga Art Gallery 8pm

Wed 23  Town Hall Rawene 5.30pm
Fri 25  The Centre Kerikeri 8pm

Wed September30-Sat October 3 Te Karanga Gallery K Rd Auckland 8pm

Arts on Tour New Zealand Trust
Based at the historic Arts Centre of Christchurch, Arts on Tour New Zealand organises tours of outstanding New Zealand performers to rural and smaller centres in New Zealand. The trust receives funding from Creative New Zealand and liaises with local arts councils, repertory theatres and community groups to bring the best of musical and other talent to country districts.


Tom:  Matt Hudson
Elizabeth: Sia Trokenheim
Old Tom: Jim Hudson

Drama, humour, poetry and eroticism

Review by Nik Smythe 01st Oct 2009

Arts on Tour NZ’s production of playwright Gary Henderson’s most celebrated work to date has been on tour for five weeks, predominately playing smaller towns throughout the nation.  However, thanks to the initiative of SmackBang and the most generous accommodation of K Road’s Te Karanga gallery, Aucklanders have the privileged opportunity to catch this classic play for four nights only.

Jon Pheloung directs Matt Hudson and Sia Trokenheim as Tom, southern man, farmer and war veteran, and the willful Elizabeth, whom he married for love in spite of his well-off family protesting her lack of appropriate breeding. 

Hudson believably conveys a proud, vulnerable man of the land who knows the price of wool and the value of true love.  His dry humour and masculine sensitivity combines well with Trockenheim’s feisty Elizabeth, creating a palpable, playful dignity between them that is essential to driving the play.

In a script laden with historical and geographical points of reference for the patriotic Southlander and Kiwis in general to recognize and relate to, the real power of Skin Tight is the pure, honest warts-and-all love story.  Only fragments of their lives are described as they reminisce a life spent together – mostly alone together.  These select few moments combined produce two complete intertwined life stories to reflect on as Elizabeth prepares to leave on some sort of journey …

One of many consequences of the often-tragic events revisited is learning that the biggest deceit of all was thinking love would be easy; the lesson itself is clear evidence of the strength of the love they share.

Michael Craven’s original lighting design gives extra focus to an ingeniously minimalist script.  Musical composer Luke di Somma is found in the programme’s acknowledgements rather than the main credits, which suggests the dramatic music was composed independent of the production?  Nonetheless, the soundtrack fits at a complementary tangent to the play’s elements of drama, humour, poetry and eroticism.

Most of the reasons that everyone should see Skin Tight will be best understood by going to see it, so go on everyone.

[See review of the Court production, with the same actors, here.]
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


nik smythe October 1st, 2009

On reflection, I recognised the refrain of the thematic folk song that Tom and Elizabeth sing repeatedly through the play; evidence the music was in fact composed for this work.

...this in one of a few shows I've seen recently where the sound designer/composer/arranger is absent from the main production credits.  I wonder what reason there may be for regarding sound/music as less important than the other design elements of a play?

Charlie Unwin October 1st, 2009

Please note this production was directed by Jon Pheloung, not Ross Gumbley and Luke Di Somma did compose the soundtrack for this production. [Apologies - fixed now. Thanks - ed]

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