Station to Station

Theatre Royal, TSB Showplace, New Plymouth

23/06/2011 - 24/06/2011

Clarence Street Theatre, Hamilton

01/07/2011 - 02/07/2011

Theatre Royal, 78 Rutherford Street, Nelson

12/09/2011 - 13/09/2011

Hawkes Bay Opera House, Hastings

16/06/2011 - 17/06/2011

Production Details


Writer and actor Michael Gavin is heading out on the road this June for the first time in more than a decade, to perform his darkly funny play, STATION TO STATION at the Hawke’s Bay Opera House, the TSB Showplace in New Plymouth, and Hamilton’s Clarence Street Theatre. The Bruce Mason Award winning playwright – best known for his long-running television role as Chris Warner (Shortland Streets perennially popular Dr Love) – is part of a stellar cast that includes former fellow Shortland Streeter Donogh Rees (Nurse Judy Brownlee) and Outrageous Fortune star Antonia Prebble (Loretta West).

Directed by Cameron Rhodes and features original music by Geoff Maddock, the songwriting talent behind Goldenhorse, STATION TO STATION won audience acclaim and critical plaudits when it premiered in Auckland in 2009. It will be the first of Michael’s four plays to be performed outside of Auckland. He is looking forward to meeting audiences throughout the country and hearing their response to the story and production. 

“I’m really looking forward to revisiting STATION TO STATION and taking it out on the road,” he says. “I was so pleased with what we achieved with the Auckland season, in terms of the critical and audience response, that I’ve always felt it deserved a few good runs outside Auckland. So cheers to all those venues who felt the same and decided to host us!

“On a personal level, it’s also a great chance to visit some of my favourite New Zealand centres, something that is a rare pleasure given my commitments at Shortland Street.”

Praised for its “thriller-like verve” (NZ Herald) and “[clever balance of] drama, humour and shrewd insights into contemporary society” (National Business Review), STATION TO STATION tells the story of a charismatic television presenter turned religious zealot (Galvin), and his beautiful sidekick (Prebble), who take a mother (Rees) and son on a rollercoaster ride from Kiwi suburbia to Jerusalem. Caught in a thrilling, dream-like journey, the foursome negotiate a bewildering world in which nothing is quite what it seems – and the most innocent actions can have explosive consequences.

At the heart of Galvin’s play is the premise that life cannot be squeezed in to a set of rules (religious, cultural or otherwise) without harm being done. International events collide with personal passions, as the group are caught in an ever-rapidly unfolding nightmare of their own making, like characters trapped in a story, desperate to ‘believe’ in a happy ending “The play is a unique beast – combining love, death, and the End of The World – but at its heart is a fast paced story driven along by impassioned, interesting characters,” Galvin explains.

“Ultimately, this is what people want to see on stage; whether it’s in Auckland, New Plymouth, Hamilton or Hawke’s Bay – people love to see great stories well told.

“Thanks to the great crew who worked on the Auckland season, and the equally brilliant bunch we’ve assembled for the tour, I believe that’s exactly what we’ve got.”

Like his other plays, STATION TO STATION is witty, iconoclastic, moving and absurdly entertaining. Galvin, who was brought up a Catholic, draws parallels between the characters’ journey and the Stations of the Cross, a motif he ‘stole’ from David Bowie; ‘like any idea of value in my life.’

“I read an interview with Bowie a long time ago where the interviewer asked him about the title of his album Station to Station, assuming it was a reference to Bowie’s then transient lifestyle, to which Bowie replied ‘Actually, it’s about the Stations of the Cross’. So that’s one ingredient in the play,” he says.

STATION TO STATION is Galvin’s third full length work for the stage. His second play, The Ocean Star, had a successful 2006 season produced in Auckland Theatre Company, who were involved in the development of STATION TO STATION, and won Galvin the prestigious Bruce Mason Award. He recently finished a fourth play, War Hero, based on the life of Archibald Baxter, father of James K Baxter and a conscientious objector in WWI.

The STATION TO STATION tour is being presented by the Central North Island Consortium (Hamilton, Hawkes Bay and Taranaki) supported by the Regional Arts Presenter fund that was set up by Creative New Zealand in 2010 to enable regional venues to tour New Zealand work.

STATION TO STATION is produced by Passenger, a partnership between Rachel Lorimer and Felicity Letcher. It premiered in Auckland in 2009 in association with STAMP at THE EDGE.

“[Station to Station] cleverly balances drama, humour and shrewd insights into contemporary society and the place of religion….” – John Daly-Peoples, Review of STATION TO STATION (The National Business Review)

“Michael Galvin’s pithy, fast paced script holds the audience in the palm of its hand, delivering a combination of subtlety and blatancy, with provocative ideas that tease the emotions and intellect. Scenes are carefully sequenced to wrench the audience this way and that. Credit also goes to director Cameron Rhodes for eliciting vivid and carefully paced performances from his strong cast of four.” – Sian Robertson, Review of STATION TO STATION (Theatreview)

“It’s the sudden changes of mood and the cat-and-mouse game played both with characters and audience that give Station to Station its thriller-like verve. As befits a play cut into 12 divisions (named for Stations of the Cross), single scenes stand alone, and director Cameron Rhodes creates some memorable, theatrically powerful moments… Elena Doyle’s faux-painting projections and snippets of Geoff Maddock’s epic music increase the intensity.” – Janet McAllister, Review of STATION TO STATION (NZ Herald)


HAWKE’S BAY – 16 & 17 June 2011
Thursday 16 June 7.30pm
Friday 17 June 7.30pm
Ticket Direct 0800 4ticket

NEW PLYMOUTH – 23 & 24 June 2011
Thursday 23 June 7.30pm
Friday 24 June 7.30pm
Ticketmaster ph 0800 111 999 

HAMILTON – 1 & 2 July 2011
Friday 1 July 7.30pm
Saturday 2 July 7.30pm
Ticketek ph 0800 TICKETEK

THE TOP OF THE SOUTH ARTS TOURING in association with PASSENGER presents

NELSON – 12 & 13 September 2011
Monday 12 Sept 7.30pm
Tuesday 13 Seot 7.30pm
Tickets available at Everyman Records
03 548 3083

Starring Michael Galvin, Karl Drinkwater, Antonia Prebble, Donogh Rees,

Designed by Simon Coleman, Nik Janiurek, Elena Doyle 

Produced by Rachel Lorimer and Felicity Letcher 

Pushes boundaries with strong message

Review by Gail Tresidder 13th Sep 2011

Although this plot has more holes in it than the proverbial sieve, taken as an allegory it works very well.  

Lead and author, Michael Galvin is impressive and smooth as Simon, the silky-tongued evangelist turned zealot – smooth enough not to get his hands dirty when it comes to the messy business of killing. 

Antonia Prebble, the other cast member who has been there from the beginning and plays Veronica, I found less than totally convincing as a femme-fatale honey-pot but she does enough for Karl Drinkwater, as the damaged-soul soldier Son, to fall for her hook line and sinker.   

Laughs come mainly from the lines written for Mother, Donogh Rees, and she puts them over superbly with a true comic’s sense of timing. Her death, accompanied by a lovely starry night sky and the gentle sound of breaking waves, is what we might all aspire to.  She deserved it!

Elena Doyle, multimedia designer, is to be congratulated for her amazing picture-framed interpretations of the Stations of the Cross. At times they are frightening, at others beautiful, even breath-taking, and Geoff Maddock’s mood music adds much to the production.   

The costume designer, Tania Klouwens – decking out Mother in florals, Veronica in skimpy gear, the soldier Son in tired denims and Simon in Destiny-like black smarts – subtly let us know quite a lot about the characters personalities.

There are some fantastic moments: Simon, having given a passionate harangue directly to the audience – his congregation – and introduced a new convert, talking in tongues; Son comparing Jesus Christ to Superman, the Apostles to X-Men; Mother’s description of the crucifixion of Simon, “All his Easters have come at once.” Just a few of them.

Station to Station has a strong anti-war message and also faces up to incest, sadism for the sake of it, sexual obsession and – touchingly portrayed by Son – the emotional trauma caused by killing sometimes innocent people, just because they are in the wrong place and on the other side. A day after the tenth anniversary of 9/11, its message was even more poignant.

The script pushes boundaries and is none the worse for that.   At this first night in Nelson, in our lovely newly-restored Theatre Royal, the audience lapped it up. Congratulations to the Director, Cameron Rhodes, and to Michael Galvin, both for his vision and his excellent portrayal of someone we all should avoid. I look forward to his next play, perhaps minus a doubly-dying woman performing superhuman and incredible feats of force.  
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.


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Darkly funny thought-provoking journey worth taking

Review by Kirsty van Rijk 17th Jun 2011

International events collide with personal passions as a charismatic television presenter turned religious zealot, Simon, and his beautiful sidekick Veronica, take a mother and son on a rollercoaster ride from Kiwi suburbia to Jerusalem. Caught in a thrilling, dream-like journey, the foursome negotiate a bewildering world in which nothing is quite what it seems – and the most innocent actions can have explosive consequences.

Michael Galvin has scripted a play that, although slightly uneven, is intriguing, at times deeply engaging and delightfully surprising. The play is structured in short scenes and explores the souls of those who pray as they prey on others. Fortunately the characters move beyond the stereotypes we fear they may be in the initial scenes and the plot takes a thoroughly enjoyable turn for the unexpected.

As we move from ‘Station To Station’, however, the plot device of structuring the play in scenes around the fourteen ‘stations of the cross’ reveals its failings. A few scenes feel as if they are there simply to fit the plot’s construction. To employ the wordplay of Simon, there are one or two ‘stations’ we might be better to pass by without stopping.

Galvin’s script opens a number of cans of worms: religion, world politics and the manipulation of one human being by another in the service of those ideologies. These are pretty big cans. His play does not, however, empty them out and rake through the contents, and wisely so. Instead what he delivers is an intriguing exploration of the twisted depths of characters’ hearts. Simon may be a preacher, Galvin is not.

Cameron Rhodes directs and he has drawn some wonderful performances from his cast. As the charismatic ex-television presenter turned fanatical pastor, Michael Galvin oozes smarm and charisma in equal proportions in the role of Simon. Confident on stage as an actor and as the character, Galvin does not quite elicit a “Halleluiah” from the audience, but he’s not far off. Give him one more Sunday and we’ll be converted.

The character of Veronica, played by Antonia Prebble, is a conflicted and manipulative catalyst. Prebble brings Veronica alive in scenes of heightened emotion. Occasional awkward mannerisms are a distraction but Prebble’s power vocally is notable and her ability to carry her character on voice alone is impressive.

Karl Drinkwater is at ease in his role as a mercenary returned home to visit his dying mother, conveying the caring but at odds nature of their relationship and his frustrations with her annoying personality. He employs the Enzed dialect perfectly and brings a reserve to his character that is, especially in the early scenes, effective.

Donogh Rees, playing the ailing mother, an engaging droll character whose lines are witty and sharp – thank you Mr Galvin – is reason enough to see this play. Rees’ performance is natural and nuanced, it may be a cliché to say it but Rees inhabits the role and every one of her scenes is riveting. Rees carries the unlikely turns of the plot making them rich and real – the odd childhood story Mother recounts, which could have become a ‘gag’, is perfectly natural in Rees’ confident performance.

There are some odd choices of music – given the minimal set and short scenes, we need some guidance as to where we are located and yet the opportunity to use music as a cue is not taken. The images referencing the particular Station of the Cross are effective. The lighting design by Nik Janiurek is excellent. 

Station To Station is darkly funny, rich with the strangeness of humanity, thought-provoking and engaging theatre – a journey worth taking. 
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.  


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