The Mucks : a comedy

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

23/06/2009 - 27/06/2009

Production Details

Come and Meet The Mucks! Who do they think they are?

Shawn and Debbie Muck are destitute, living way below the breadline on a council estate, somewhere in London. Debs fantasizes of becoming a fashion designer and Shawn will do anything for a tin of beans.

A cheeky comedy following two of society’s underdogs as they chase their dreams. What happens when they find them?

The Basement, Auckland Central — Show map

Tuesday 23 June, 8.00pm – 9.00pm
Wednesday 24 June, 8.00pm – 9.00pm
Thursday 25 June, 8.00pm – 9.00pm
Friday 26 June, 8.00pm – 9.00pm
Saturday 27 June, 8.00pm – 9.00pm

General Admission: Tickets $15/$10 concession.
Book at or phone (09) 361 1000

Actors: Renee Lyons, Matt Norton
Technical crew: Stu Phillips
Photos: Jonny Brugh
Producer: John Wenger

Short, bleak and questionable

Review by Nik Smythe 24th Jun 2009

Sean and Debbie Muck are siblings struggling in London’s east end at the lower end of the class spectrum, to say the least.  The play opens with Sean eating baked beans from a fancy dessert dish and mentioning important engagements with Hello! Magazine and the various obligations that beset the fabulous celebrities they fantasize about being.

Sean lives with their decrepit emphysema ridden mother, estranged from Debbie who’s afraid to even visit.  Upon Mum’s demise the hapless pair learn to their confused excitement that they are in fact heirs to the obscenely wealthy Muck estate – that’s right: long dead daddy was the colloquially famous Lord Muck.

There’s a snag to either of them gaining entitlement to this distinguished inheritance, which is the requirement of a subsequent heir, i.e. a baby.  A comical series of attempts by each of them to find an if not worthy, at least a willing partner with whom to effect said baby-making ensues.  If they were only a little better educated and a touch less demented by the notion of real-life wealth they might stand a better chance…

There is no credited director as such, but the programme – consisting mainly of acknowledgements – thanks Natalie Medlock and Dan Musgrove (fellow ensemble projecteers) for their keen eyes and help.  There is a strong reflection of their wholly character driven style in the work.

Renee Lyons and Matt Norton’s performances, in a handful of roles each, are solid, humorous and consistently engaging: reason enough to watch it.

The play runs about half an hour and leaves a number of questions unanswered – like why didn’t their mother tell them they were from an aristocratic bloodline?  How does a young geezer so poor he’s considering doing a contract hit job for five pounds get wireless internet on his laptop?  Perhaps the intention is to highlight these queries, but it feels more like they hadn’t got to working out that part yet.  Five weeks is a tight rehearsal period for almost any theatrical production; compounded when that time includes developing the story and script. 

If it were nothing more than a comedy I’d be less annoyed by the illogical elements in the narrative.  I recall Medlock and Musgrove’s Spurs being loaded with curious mysteries that effectively broadened the conceptual scope of the isolated setting.  In this case though, the grotesquely dark humour and bleak Bleasdale-esque down-and-out setting warrants a deeper examination of these strange unfortunates’ lives. 

Another thing I wonder is why they set it in London, not locally? Is it the absence of aristocratic minor royalty in New Zealand, or perhaps the distancing serves to shift our perspective from recognition to observation?  Or are cockneys just funnier?
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


Dan Musgrove June 27th, 2009

In the interest of keeping credit where it's due, we thought we'd mention that we were an audience to this show once, shortly before it went up on the boards, so we can't claim any creative ownership of the work, nor can we claim credit for the "solid, humorous and engaging performances" that Nik describes, and we also really enjoyed.  Check this show out - tonight's the last night!

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