Centrepoint, Palmerston North

08/06/2013 - 06/07/2013

Production Details

Two young actors take on sixteen roles between them in Two Fish ‘n’ a Scoop, a love story that’s “as Kiwi as fish’n’chips”.

Set in a Chinese-owned fish and chip shop, Two Fish ‘n’ a Scoop, by Kiwi playwright Carl Nixon, tells the story of the blossoming romance between new employee Jason (Colin Garlick) and the chip-shop owner’s feisty daughter, Rhea (Hweiling Ow).

However, the path of true love rarely runs smoothly, and Jason and Rhea soon find their relationship being threatened by cultural differences, and pressure from their friends and family – the twist being ALL the characters are played by Ow and Garlick.

Two Fish’n’a Scoop began life as a short story by Carl Nixon entitled Fish’n’Chip Shop Song – which appeared in a collection of short stories by the same name in 2006. It was when the author (and playwright) Carl Nixon heard his story read out on Radio NZ National, that he realised the potential for transforming the story into a theatre piece.

The play combines plenty of comic moments, and a dose of young love, with a look at some of the darker aspects of Kiwi culture – cultural clashes, racial intolerance and the question of what it means to be a Kiwi.

Centrepoint Theatre Artistic Director Jeff Kingsford-Brown (who will be directing the play) describes Two Fish ’n’ a Scoop as “a real acting challenge” for the two young performers involved – both of whom make their Centrepoint Theatre debuts. “It’s a lovely piece of theatre, something these two can really sink their teeth into.”

Hweiling Ow is an experienced actor who has appeared in numerous television productions, including Shortland Street, Jacqui Brown Diaries, and Agent Anna. This is not the first time she has tackled the role of Rhea in Two Fish’n’a Scoop – Hweiling appeared in the Fortune Theatre production in Dunedin.

Colin Garlick is a graduate of the Unitec Performing and Screen Arts Bachelor degree, majoring in Acting. He describes himself as an outgoing person who enjoys sports, a.m. radio, most theatre and the talking pictures.  Colin has done the majority of his theatre work in Auckland performing, collaborating, devising and writing with the Outfit Theatre Company.


“There is more than enough in this play and this production to satisfy the most jaded theatre palate. To be sure, the fare on offer is so delicious you may want to come back for a second helping”. – Alan Scott, The Press (on The Forge 2010 production)

“At a time when New Zealanders pride themselves on fair-mindedness and yet rhetoric about ‘real New Zealanders’ and ‘immigration’ often barely conceals outright racism, and when Asian-bashing can and does happen in George Street, Carl Nixon’s socially aware, funny and deeply affecting play couldn’t be more timely”. – Barbara Frame, Otago Daily Times (Fortune Theatre 2012 production).

Two Fish’n’a Scoop
Centrepoint Theatre
Saturday 8 June until Saturday 6 July.

Show Times:
Wednesdays 6:30pm; Thursday – Saturday 8pm; Sundays 5pm
Please note there is no Sunday performance on Sunday 9 June

Special Performances:
$20 Tuesday: Tuesday 11 June, 6:30pm. All tickets $20. Bookings for this performance only open on Monday 10 June at 9am through the box office at 280 Church Street or by phone 354 5740. Tickets are allocated on a first in first served basis and we regret we cannot accept email or answer-phone bookings for this performance.

$38 Adults, $30 Seniors, $30 Under 30s,
$28 Community Service Card Holders,
$18 Students, $68 Dinner & Show.


Hweiling Ow, Colin Garlick 

Jeff Kingsford-Brown – Director;
Ulli Briese – Lighting Designer;
Ian Hammond – Set and Costume Designer 

Heroic effort in interesting, lively production

Review by John C Ross 10th Jun 2013

So what’s it like working in a fish-and-chip shop? We’re told and shown: it’s the same routine, even the same superficially friendly, formulaic chat with customers, with only the rhythm of the life varying, day after day.

Young Kiwi bloke Jason lands an evening job serving in a shop owned by a Mr Chan, in some South Island town or city. His co-worker, Mr Chan’s half-Chinese daughter Rhea, is all set to get away, for a different life, to study law at university, and clearly she’s bright enough. Boy meets girl, gets girl pregnant, offers to marry girl, but instead things turn to crap. 

What’s at stake is the changing nature of the relationship between them, and whether it’s enough to wean Jason away from the peer pressure exerted by his violently racist, sexist hoon of a friend ‘Tug’ (Barry). He is shown as capable of genuine sensitivity, imagination and empathy, yet also too insecure to withstand the demand from ‘Tug’ that he join in his brutal antics knocking Asians about. There’s the ugly racism potential of Kiwi blokery, alongside the capacity for genuine friendliness and decency.

This is a heroic effort for just two actors, with each playing more than one character, and both working away on stage nearly all the time. The show itself does work, though not (or not yet) seamlessly. Hweiling Ow plays Rhea and her bent-over father, no problem. Colin Garlick plays “everybody else”, a big ask. For an audience-member, there’s sometimes a few moments of uncertainty as to whom he is being. The body-language, the dialogue, the tone of voice, all settle the matter, but sometimes only after this brief uncertainty. 

One thinks of comparisons with Jacob Rajan’s one-man show “Krishnan’s Dairy,” with character switches and identities signalled with the use of half-masks. One wonders whether any kind of costume-feature might help, such as a cap for ‘Tug’, or a scarf for Rhea’s mother. Or would the repeated use of any such device be far too distracting, especially when ‘Tug’ (Garlick) has a to-and-fro conversation with Jason (Garlick)? Maybe the actor, and the director, just have to achieve more fine-tuning, and make the best of it? 

Beyond that, the play offers a fascinating insight into unfamiliar sides of life, and a mostly sympathetic understanding of its characters. Nixon has a sound ear for idiomatic dialogue, with differing ideolects, plus a fine grasp of how to build dramatic situations. Jeff Kingsford-Brown as director has coped ably with the challenges the script offers, and the rhythms never flag.

Ian Hammond’s set-design offers a very convincing, albeit basic, replica of the shop’s interior, within which the characters mime the motions of taking orders, serving up deep-fried stuff (“Two fish and a scoop,” “One fish, a hot dog, a do’nut and two scoops”), wrapping it up, handing it over, with customers (real or unreal) coming in, going out, and yet the forestage can also be neutral, anywhere, out in the street. Hammond also copes with the costumes, and Ulli Briese serves the production capably with his lighting design, that enabled such flexibilities. 

Interesting, lively; a very good show.


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council