Hannah Playhouse, Cnr Courtenay Place & Cambridge Terrace, Wellington

15/03/2016 - 20/03/2016

New Zealand Festival of the Arts 2016

Production Details

Charge your glass for this booze-soaked rock ‘n’ roll cabaret in which Hawksley Workman celebrates the god of wine and ecstasy.  

In a city governed by greed and ruled by an oppressive leader, find out what happens when the people flee the city and stage a debauched revolution.

Part play, part concert, all Bacchanalian, this is a sexy one-man show overflowing with “deft wit and razor sharp humour” (Calgary Sun, Canada).

Unleash your inner animal and don’t forget the Bloody Mary for the morning after. 

Hannah Playhouse  
Tuesday 15 Mar – Sunday 20 Mar
Adult A $59.00
Adult B $39.00
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Theatre , Solo , Cabaret ,

1 hr 15 mins - no interval

Insight, flamboyant innovation, whip-smart comedy, a wonderful musical talent

Review by Lena Fransham 16th Mar 2016

As we wait for the lights to go up on the Hannah Playhouse stage, the show’s director Christian Barry greets us with a wine in his hand and invites us to go back downstairs for more wine ourselves. The God That Comes is after all a revisioning of Euripides’ debauched tragedy The Bacchae, the story of King Pentheus’ undoing at the hands of Dionysus, the god of wine and ecstasy.

In these intervening minutes the light and shadow onstage slowly intensifies. A headless manikin and several pale, skewered polystyrene heads, variously adorned, hint at violence and dismemberment. Lights pulsate like a heartbeat. It’s a slow induction into a trance-like state, and when we are suitably primed, Hawksley Workman appears to introduce us to the tale.

More than a prologue, it is an entire plot synopsis. And far from being an unwelcome spoiler, this upfront lowdown is necessary as a frame within which the ensuing visual and musical maelstrom gains a discernible narrative shape.

The original plot has been modified to focus on the ‘King’ and his attempt to stop his people’s wild behaviour and insubordination inspired by the ‘God’, who, it seems, has corrupted even the King’s own mother. The King’s mission to retrieve his mother leads to an encounter with a force that threatens to dismantle his world of hierarchical power and repressive order, but there is far worse in store.

Hawksley’s presence and spoken delivery is laconic; the opening monologue has a lulling cadence, a musical rise and fall. The first thundering, drum-driven song is a hypnotic entrance into the story. There follows an array of quite brilliant musical sequences, lyrical wordplay – ‘Ukeladyboy’ is a treasure – and wrap-around sensory enchantment.

There is insight, flamboyant innovation – the thumb piano and soldier-mobile scene is a winner in its depiction of the King’s relationship with his mother – and an elegantly economical deployment of props, lighting and space.

While the tension and suspense is brilliantly established and maintained, with Hawksley’s voice the captivating star of the show, the pace slackens with the drawn-out sameness of some of the latter sequences. While musically, much of it is entrancing, its dramatic function falls somewhat to the wayside. The climactic sequence, however, is transporting.

That a solo performer can deliver intensity on such a level for most of these 75 minutes is pretty extraordinary. Hawksley carries the epic, millennia-old tragedy into a contemporised medium with full-bodied charisma, whip-smart comedy and a wonderful musical talent. 


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Modern spin on story of wine, women and sex

Review by Ewen Coleman 16th Mar 2016

Shows with solo performers have been making an impact this year, both in the Fringe Festival and NZ festival and award-winning Canadian musician Hawksley Workman in his show The God That Comes, currently playing at the Hannah Playhouse, is no exception. 

In a cross between cabaret, a rock concert and straight out storytelling writers Hawksley Workman and Christian Barry, artistic director of Canada’s 2b Theatre Company, have taken Euripides’ classic Bacchanalian story of wine, women and sex and given it an incredibly modern and inventive twist. [More


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