THE JUDGMENT OF BEN ALDER

Regent Theatre, 2/6 MacKay Street, Greymouth

30/10/2013 - 01/11/2013

Production Details


Written by Dr Paul Maunder


Regent Theatre, Greymouth/Mawhera, Oct 30, 31, Nov 1.

Cast: Jason Johnson, Heather Fletcher, Prue Bowen, Francis Darwen, George Super, Paul Maunder.

Lighting: Paul Kearns.


Cast: Jason Johnson, Heather Fletcher, Prue Bowen, Francis Darwen, George Super, Paul Maunder
Lighting: Paul Kearns.


Theatre ,


Intelligent and punchy

Review by Karen Grant 31st Oct 2013

As with Kiwi/Possum Production’s previous plays, expect something different from the norm when you rock up. If you’ve been to Goodnight Irene or Poison and Purity you will know you are not going for an escapist ride. Written and directed by Paul Maunder this production is topical, satirical, and raw to the hearts of many in our community. 

The opening scene sets the tone as Ben Elder, the Fuelcorp CEO, played by Jason Johnson, sells his soul to the devil. 

The set is simple and effective and pulls the action into an intimate space with the audience. With the Spring Creek Mine closure threatening, the mine workers rally to form a co-operative to keep the mine operating. Clever use of lighting and shadows aids the impression that there’s a large group of miners here with us. Their earnest cries of “Let’s be committed! OK. OK!” juxtapose against the plaintive notes of Heather Fletcher on violin.

Prue Bowen as the fiery Minister of Finance rams home the financial realities to Ben Elder. Seems that the Board of Fuelcorp and the Government are more concerned with feathering their nests and then cutting their losses than with keeping a West Coast community alive: what can be done?

Here we witness the miners taking one controversial strategy that could just work. The times they are a-changing.

This small cast of just six performers put on a great show and deliver the intelligent and punchy dialogue well. The cast: Francis Darwen introduces each scene (does he also promote the cycle trail?), Jason Johnson (Fuelcorp CEO), Prue Bowen (Minister of Finance), Paul Maunder (Sam, Finances-Fuelcorp), George Super (a miner), Heather Fletcher (a stand-out performance as a miner’s wife), and Paul Kearns (lighting).  Note that the play is not suitable for children due to some strong language and violence.

Following the performance, Colin Smith from Development West Coast opens a discussion with thought provoking comments on the lack of accountability and poor leadership of the SOE that resulted in the Spring Creek mine closure. The ensuing discussion is stimulating and with many astute observations made by a well-informed audience. 

This show plays for three nights at the Regent Theatre with discussions led by Mayor Tony Kokshoorn on Thursday, and ex Spring Creek delegate Trevor Bolderson on Friday. 

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