Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

16/10/2012 - 20/10/2012

Production Details

A funny, quirky, heart warming musical   

Desperately wanting a date for the upcoming school reunion, a socially awkward, internet loving dog washer, Delaney, embarks on a journey into the world of romantic daydreams, speed dating and online love.

Will she find what she’s looking for? Or is she just doomed to live a solitary life with a house full of scrubbed canines?

Brought to you by Talking Mute Theatre with performances by Adrian Hooke, Hayley Brown and Kieran Foster

Talking Mute Theatre was founded in 2012, after the idea was seeded in Adrian Hooke’s and Hayley Brown’s final year of study in the acting course at Toi Whakaari. ‘The Likes of a Loveless Dogwasher’ will be Talking Mute’s debut show. With a love for comedy, music and a desire to create a new scripted work, they have together written this musical and look forward to debuting it in their October season at The Basement Theatre.

Venue: The Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Avenue
Show Dates: 16th-20th October
Time: 8pm
Booking Details:

Writers: Adrian Hooke, Hayley Brown
Music written and composed by: Adrian Hooke
Designer: Heather Brown
Outside Mentors: Ana Corbett, Leon Wadham, Kate McGill

Piano Player: Joel Stott
Actors: Adrian Hooke, Hayley Brown, Kieran Foster, Leroy Hooke (featured stage hand)

Backstage: Catherine Croft 

Thoroughly enjoyable show enthusiastically received

Review by Penny Dodd 18th Oct 2012

This debut work from Talking Mute Theatre Company is irresistibly engaging. Recent graduates, they perform with energy and commitment. The show is fast, funny, very clever, and yes, I’ll put it in print: quirky! (All musicals need an exclamation mark somewhere.)

The songs are good, the ideas are fresh, the script is economical and clear and it’s right up-to-the-minute techno-contemporary, informed by the social mores of the electronic generation. The performances are a sparkly delight. And it all works together with wry humour and clever minimalistic staging.

The central narrative is the age old quest for acceptance, with the central character – Delaney – trying to secure a date for her school reunion in order to appear successful. The contemporary references, in particular the internet, provide great comic fodder. The Google number is a standout.

Hayley Brown and Adrian Hooke – as co-writers, creative team and lead roles – anchor the work. Although there is no credit for direction and choreography, the piece feels like it has been directed, so full credit to the ensemble for making it happen so coherently.

Hayley’s charming, under-achieving dogwasher is hot on the heels of Romance in all the wrong places before realising that the answer was under her nose the whole time. However, Delaney’s shallowness in pursuing a partner for the purpose of impressing her school friends becomes apparent, making her temporarily the villain of the piece – a nice touch of complexity. 

The support roles are equally strong, with charismatic, scene stealing performances from Kieran Foster and Leroy Lakamu. Kieran’s Mrs Perkins and Knightrider are very strong, very well observed characters. Leroy’s ‘man in blue’ adds an extra inspired comic dimension. Credit too to Catherine Croft as a computer virus, a completely gratuitous bit of fun.

There are some problems. The upright piano is well out of tune, and at times the pianist seemed to belong to the Oscar Wilde school of music: Algernon playing “with wonderful expression”. The music is, on the whole, good – Adrian Hooke’s songs acquitting themselves well, and serving the action well. The Scott Joplin rags, and odd other musical references are less successful.

There is a bit of a sag three quarters of the way through, after the second “Robyn Malcolm” scene, before “the real Delaney” production number. This fantasy number lifts the piece right back up, and onto a new tack where the hitherto unnoticed Sam comes to the fore and we head off to the happy ending.

In all, it is a thoroughly enjoyable show that was enthusiastically received. These performers are all exceptional. I fully hope to see a lot more of them and Talking Mute in the future. I’ll even Like their Facebook page. 


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Give this Dogwasher some love

Review by James Wenley 18th Oct 2012

In the same week that the Mary Poppins juggernaught opens at The Civic, there’s another Musical up the road playing at The Basement. The work of Toi Whakaari acting graduates Adrian Hooke and Hayley Brown, The Likes of a Loveless Dogwasher is a charmingly lo-fi and accessible Musical comedy. What they lack in flying nannies and dancing chimney sweeps, they make up for in pluck, multiple character changes, and literal scene stealing crew members.

Delaney (Hayley Brown) works at a pet shop as a receptionist and dog-washer. Frozen by panic and the need to vomit whenever she goes to talk to someone, her life has been no social walk in the park; she prefers the anonymity of google and wiki-answers. She’s scarred by a high-school humiliation, shown in flashback, where she makes a fool of herself and awarded the ‘most likely to be single at 38’. When the invitation to the reunion arrives, she’s determined to arrive with a date in arm. Only how? [More


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