Blue Baths, Government Gardens, Queens Drive, Rotorua

22/01/2016 - 26/01/2016

Production Details


The Blue Baths are proud to announce that theatre heavyweight Jennifer Ward-Lealand will be taking the directing seat to premiere a weird and wonderful talent show unlike any other. The Choice will be coming to Rotorua’s Blue Baths from 22nd of Jan – 26th Feb 2016. Forget X-Factor, forget New Zealand’s Got Talent, this summer is all about The Choice.

This immersive new show by 2015 Bruce Mason Award winning playwright Jess Sayer (Elevator, Fix, Dexter’s Deep Sea Discovery) and multi-talented creative Darlene Mohekey (Comedy Cabaret, Dexter’s Deep Sea Discovery) asks you, the live studio audience, to select the winner each night. From rapping to tapping; dog wrangling to boy banding – you’ll be hard pressed to pick a winner from this wacky and wonderful night.

Local born Taiaroa Royal returns to the Blue Baths to choreograph The ChoiceCo-director of Okareka Dance Company, and an incredible and versatile dancer and choreographer, Royal’s work has seen him travelling NZ and the globe. Stepping, dancing and frolicking onto the Blue Bath stage is a multi-talented cast of six including Bronwyn Turei (Go Girls), Aaron Ward (Nothing Trivial) and Rutene Spooner (Whale Rider) alongside Blue Baths favourites Jason Chasland, Darlene Mohekey and Tainui Kuru. The Choice boasts the most eccentric and hilarious oddball talent Rotorua has ever seen as these fearless actors take on all of the characters you love and those you love to hate!

The illustrious Jennifer Ward-Lealand will be steering the helm of this larger than life show. An accomplished actress, singer and director, Ward-Lealand has performed regularly with renound theatre companies Auckland Theatre Company and Silo. She has graced our screens in many films, including Fracture and Desperate Remedies, and television shows Xena: Warrior Princess, Shortland Street, The Almighty Johnsons and Auckland Daze. Ward-Lealand has an eye for combining music with drama and has toured her own Marlene Dietrich cabaret show Falling in Love Again throughout NZ and Australia, transporting audiences with glamour, style and her powerful voice. Ward-Lealand has been keen to return to the lakes and laidback lifestyle of Rotorua since performing in the 2013 lakeside concert Come Together.

Last year’s reviewers were brimming with compliments for the fantastic musical, cabaret style shows that Blue Baths has been winning over audiences with year after year. 

“This show is a delicious melange of everything that makes showbiz showbiz. There’s glamour, there’s glitz, there’s a heady musical mix, laughs by the bucket load, a touch of pathos, colour, outrageous costumes, inspired lighting and an illusionist trickster who has even the most cynical pondering how could this possibly be?” – Rotorua Daily Post 2014 

A stunning art deco venue, originally opened in 1933, Blue Baths offers audiences a decadent night out with a relaxing bar and eatery, cabaret style seating, and a lovely garden surround. The summer shows including 1931 The Show (2012), 1958 The Musical (2013), and Comedy Cabaret (2014) and Comedy Cabaret – it’s a Quack up! (2015) have been major hits, so book now for a night of laughter and fun!

The Choice plays:
Blue Baths, Government Gardens, Rotorua.
8pm, 22nd of Jan – 26th Feb 2016
Cabaret style seating $45-$55, Senior Citizens $35, Grandstands $25, Cheap Tuesday (26th Jan) $25.
Tickets from, phone (07) 350 2119 

Theatre ,

Road-trip to Rotorua!

Review by Sharu Delilkan and Tim Booth 25th Jan 2016

The show’s tagline ‘50 characters, 5 actors’ doesn’t even begin to describe the sheer magnitude of skill, talent and hilarity that the ‘TV talent show’ The Choice dishes out for us.

Wickedly written, slickly performed and cleverly directed to parody the current talent show phenomenon that dominates our airwaves, The Choice is undoubtedly the funniest show I’ve seen for a long, long time.  In fact I can’t remember the last time we laughed so much until we wept.  And yes they were definitely tears of joy watching the brilliant cast on stage at The Choice at the Blue Baths in Rotorua. [More]


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The entire show is absolutely ‘Choice’

Review by Jill Harrington and Kaye Graham 24th Jan 2016

Once again producer Jo Romanes and her team at the beautiful Blue Baths – this time headed by writers Darlene Mohekey and Jess Sayer, and director Jennifer Ward-Lealand – are to be congratulated on their latest project: The Choice, which premiered on Friday 22nd January.  With a cast of 6 talented and versatile performers, this weird and wonderful show is an entertaining winner.

The multi-talented cast includes Darlene Mohekey (currently the Creative and Musical Director for Blue Baths), Bronwyn Turei (Go Girls), Aaron Ward (The Nothing Trivial), Rutene Spooner (Whale Rider), Jason Chasland (The ImpoSTAR; It’s a Quack Up) and Tainui Kuru (Guys and Dolls).  There is also a local student, Liam Dixon, currently at Rotorua Lakes High, who plays the floor manager. 

Choreographer Taiaroa Royal – local Rotorua performer and co-director of Okareka Dance Company – has shown his capabilities as a choreographer with this production; it reinforces how lucky we are to have such talent in our country.

The show is a perfect parody of the current talent shows like X-Factor and New Zealand’s Got Talent.  There are 17 acts (‘entries’) and at the end of the night the audience gets to vote on their favourite.  The compere, Randy Johnson, played by Aaron Ward (the quizmaster in Nothing Trivial), is a class act and the other performers show their versatility with amazing singing and dancing talents. 

It must be hectic behind the scenes with each of the 17 acts requiring rapid costume and make-up changes, but the outcome is lots of laughter at the wide variety of talents they provide – abetted by light and sound designer Matt Eller who also operates the show.

The show opens with the show’s ‘sponsors’ among the audience. When the Floor Manager (Liam Dixon) asks for everyone’s attention it’s just like being at a live broadcast. 

Without giving anything away about the individual acts, we can tell you that this show has a bit of everything you would expect: the ‘warts and all’ pre-show interviews; the prima donna and her stage mother; those who couldn’t and those who really shouldn’t; those who are cheekily clever or absolutely able. 

The Choice of a winner is somewhat irrelevant; the entire show is absolutely ‘Choice’. It is a most entertaining evening and we wish the show every success.


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