The Legend Returns
09/07/2010 - 10/07/2010
14/07/2010 - 14/07/2010
04/07/2010 - 04/07/2010
03/07/2010 - 03/07/2010
04/12/2011 - 08/12/2011
Cynthia Fortitude and Gertrude Rallentando in The Legend Returns: a heartwarming and wickedly funny look at a fading opera diva and her longsuffering accompanist.
“A comic delight ……. they reduced me to tears of laughter” – Laurie Atkinson, Evening Post
“This is a night out to cherish.” –Evening Standard, Palmerston North
“Whether she is ‘winging it’ through a Rossini aria because she can’t remember the words or being knocked out by a high ‘C’…Miss Cynthia Fortitude is a riot”. -Evening Post, Wellington
“Gertrude Rallentando plays with magnificent eloquence…. Though never saying a word, she conveys a vast world of frustration, deference and resentment through the microscopic inflections of her steely gaze.” – San Francisco Chronicle
“You’ll have to see it! Having spent an evening almost weeping with laughter, we don’t care where they came from, or what they did before they came. That they came is sufficient!” –Metropolis, Christchurch
“One of our most requested recordings.” – Radio New Zealand
Howick Little Theatre
Tel: 534 1406 or email@example.com
Sun 4th July 4pm
Highwic House, 40 Gillies Ave
Tel: 524 5729
Fri 9th & Sat 10th July 7.30pm,
Titirangi Theatre, Lopdell House
(Sat 10th show, will be filmed by the Arts Channel!)
Book at Titirangi Pharmacy Tel: 817 7658
or Iticket – Tel: 361 1000
Wed 14th July 7.30pm
Friends Centre, 115 Mt Eden Rd
Bookings: 623 8232
TICKET PRICES: $25, $20 (Groups of Four)
Dec 4 – 8, 2011
Hagley Park, Christchurch
Sun 4 Dec 2pm & 6pm, Tues 6 Dec 6pm
Wed 7 Dec 8.30pm, Thur 8 Dec 6pm
$30 (Full) $25 (Senior, Unwaged & Groups of 4)
$15 (Under 25’s) Book at 0800 Ticketek
Transaction Fees will apply.
Helen Moulder has been working as an actor and singer for 34 years in NZ, the UK, Australia, Japan and the USA. She trained at the National Theatre Opera School and the Melba Conservatorium in Melbourne and spent one year touring with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in the UK and in various musicals and pantomime. Her recent roles have included Madame Giry in Ken Hills’ Phantom of the Opera, (tour of Japan) Virginia Woolf in Vita and Virginia at Circa, for she won an Accolade for Outstanding Performance in the 1999 Wellington Theatre Awards, Vivian Bearing in Wit, also at Circa, for which she won the Wellington Actress of the Year in 2000, the eccentric opera singer – Cynthia Fortitude in The Legend Returns, Miss Shepherd in Lady in the Van, Mrs Eynesford-Hill in My Fair Lady, Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, Sylvia in Meeting Karpovsky, devised with Sir Jon Trimmer, Gramma and Annie in In Flame, Sister Aloysius in Doubt and Claudia in Playing Miss Havisham, which she has toured extensively around NZ and Queensland.Helen was awarded Actress of the Year 2003 a second time for her rolein Meeting Karpovsky. Her film and television credits include Close to Home, Pictures, Country GP, Erebus – The Aftermath, for she won a best actress nomination for her role as Maria Collins, The Wall, Abberation, The Dark Knight and Sweet As.
Rose Beauchamp is a performer based in Wellington. She played the ukulele and accordion for White Rabbit Puppet Theatre in 1975 with the late Sally Rodwell and Alan Brunton of Red Mole.
Sets the audience rocking and howling with laughter
Review by Margi Vaz Martin 05th Jul 2010
We are sitting in a large lounge. Eighty of us squeeze in cozily and a piano in an alcove acts as stage front. The audience ranges in age, but most are over 50.
An older woman in a long red taffeta frock turns on a CD that blasts us with operatic duets. She seems to be busy setting up the stage. She pours tea and adds spirits (!), waits around and tinkers on the piano. We are intrigued. Will she ever speak? The answer we discover is no. However Gertrude the accompanist still communicates a vast world of information.
Just as we are studying the accompanist, Cynthia makes her grand entrance. With the poise of Coco Chanel she glides up the aisle to Mendelssohn’s Bridal March. She talks to the audience with British Received Pronunciation, shaking hands and beginning to share with us the stories of her illustrious life and adventures singing opera around the globe. She is celebrated opera singer and musical snob, Cynthia Fortitude. She resides in a world of musical mayhem and madness.
Between stories, the diva sings snippets of arias and other vocal meanderings that last a line or two, but it all seems a bit muddled. I am not sure whether I can work out where this is going yet. This is not a usual musical theatre performance. Helen Moulder’s Cynthia – a comic gem, with all the vivacity of a child – is sharing with us, rather than performing for us. We are endeared. We are captivated. Never mind we are lost, I am having so much fun along the way, and it really doesn’t matter.
Meanwhile Rose Beauchamp is playing amazing piano and playing the part of expressively silent and long-suffering companion/accompanist, Gertrude Rallentando. With the changing subtleties of her steely gaze, she swings between co-operation, frustration, deference and resentment. She is brilliant.
Then Cynthia drops it – the punch line that drops us in it: “So many of you have responded to our invitation to workshop our new opera. How many of you have a lot of experience singing opera?” Yes we will be guinea pigs for the rest of the show! We are now an Opera Chorus in training.
We find ourselves singing the Pinus Radiata Chant and the Laughing Chorus. We howl like wolves, beat our chests to sound like an approaching helicopter and lift our arms to make tree shapes. At this point the reader may think that this show is not for them. But do not be mislead. We are almost weeping with laughter. We don’t care what she asks of us in the end, we just do it. As I scan the audience there is 100% participation.
Helen Moulder wrote this double-act, in collaboration with Rose Beauchamp and Michael Wilson, who also directed the piece. The Legend Returns premiered in 1998 and has toured several times over the years. The skill and experience of the actresses allows them to transport us to another place, where we let down our guards and become part of the theatre.
This theatre is not predictable or sober but sets the audience rocking and howling with laughter at the antics of performers who have set out to make a group of strangers one. Helen Moulder and Rose Beauchamp achieve this. The sort of comic theatre we see here from renowned NZ female actresses needs more promotion and audience access. A Comedy Festival that incorporated these girls with the likes of the Topp Twins would be brilliant for Auckland. Is there someone out there who can make it happen?
Opportunity still exists to see the show in Titirangi on the 9th and 10th July. [ The Sat 10th show, will be filmed by the Arts Channel!] If you are a Titirangi local buy your ticket at the pharmacy, otherwise book at iticket. If you absolutely can’t get there, Radio New Zealand has a recording of the show on offer and they say it is “One of our most requested recordings.”
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