The Secret Life of a Bellydancer

The Pumphouse Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland

17/11/2011 - 27/11/2011

Maidment Theatre - Musgrove Studio, Auckland

14/12/2011 - 17/12/2011

Production Details

One night of the most exotic dancing you will ever see – the costumes, the music. Be transported to another world. In New Zealand thousands of Kiwi women secretly go to Bellydance classes every week.   
This is their story.

Returning from a failed marriage to an Egyptian man, Jamila has to work stacking shelves in her father’s supermarket. When the check-out girls witness her Belly dancing in the aisles they persuade her to teach them – secretly. After a challenge from a rival the girls have two months before they face the best Bellydancers in New Zealand. 

From writer Geoff Allen (Speed-daters, Sexy Buddha,) Director Elena Stejko (Russian Snark, The Bear) and Russian National Bellydance Champion – Tais.

‘An up-beat, entertaining night out with something for everyone. Good theatre should entertain and leave the viewer thinking about it for a while after the curtains come down. This show did both.’      Craccum review 2009 

After Miraj Films in London did not take up the option, Galatea Theatre becomes Galatea productions and are now seeking investors in what could become the next Full Monty – The movie version of The Secret Life of a Bellydancer

The Pumphouse Theatre: 
Nov 17th – 27th
Tues-Sat, 8pm
Sun, 2pm

The Musgrove Studio:  
Dec  14 – 17th

Galatea: Geoff Allen & Gina Timbrerlake:   
0212624907  or 09 445 0042 
193 Victoria Rd, Devonport, Auckland NZ   

Gina Timberlake        Jamila Said
Marina Volkova         Delilah Delight
Anjula Prakash         Tellus McDougall
Johna Parmar           Farid Said
Carol Seay                Carol Barker
David Berresford       Rex Barker
Andy Mopp                Bloke  (Multiple Parts)
Denise Snoad           Sandra Wood

Sophie Kaiser           Design
Nadia Borovikova     Costume
Natalie Beran           Technical/Galatea
Sue Gross                 F.O.H / Galatea
Jordan Griffiths         Tech
Natalia Galvin           Stage Manager    

Feel-good fun

Review by Joanna Page 18th Nov 2011

By the time I’d fought my way through the madness of Auckland’s road works I was seriously ready for some escapism last night, but I wasn’t sure if bellydancing checkout chicks would cut it. Fortunately, it did.

Directed by Elena Stejko, The Secret Life of a Bellydancer isn’t a new story – grown girl returns home feeling as though she has failed in her parents’ eyes, a secret skill is revealed, colleagues demand to be taught and become unlikely friends, and they all learn something empowering about themselves along the way.

With this production the story is told refreshingly thanks to Geoff Allen’s masterfully written script. Allen has nailed his characters and their banter is fast-paced, colloquial and utterly believable.

The simplicity of the set and effects keeps the focus on the story and performers, which brings us to the cast. 

To be honest, it took me a long time to warm up to them – almost a quarter of the show. Part of me just wasn’t convinced by Jumilla’s (Gina Timberlake) reasons for returning, nor by her part-meek-part-rebellious response to her father, Rex (David Berresford). Their interactions seemed stilted, and that impacted on the way I responded to the rest of the cast. (A bit more work-shopping would do wonders.) 

Once we were half-an-hour in, I felt as though I really was watching people through the open door of a supermarket loading dock. And that’s largely due to Tellus (Anjula Prakash) and Sandra (Denise Snoad), the two fairly dodgy staff members who beg Jumilla for lessons (and commandeer the supermarket tannoy between scenes). 

Despite their energy, the moment of stage magic is shared by Rex and his wife, Carol (Carol Seay).

Andy Mopp possibly clocks up the most stage time playing Sandra’s ex, a psychiatrist, and MC Genie among other characters; he’s unrecognisable in each incarnation.

Delilah Delight (Marina Volkova) and Farid Said (Johna Parmar) are the scene-stealers. Delilah could easily become an over-the-top character, yet Volkova gets the balance just right, and Johna Parmar has true presence. 

What about the dancing? Oh, the dancing! Tais Derbasova choreographed the show and performs as Delilah’s star pupil, Veruska. It’s fair to say every woman in the audience wanted to be her (yes, I went home and looked up classes), or at least move one part of their body as gracefully as she.  

Check out The Secret Life of a Bellydancer if you get chance (and get up and dance at the end if you’re brave). It’s a great feel-good play and a whole lot of fun. 


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