Keirunga Homestead Theatre, Keirunga Gardens, Puflett Rd, Havelock North

23/07/2019 - 24/07/2019

Blyth Performing Arts Centre (Iona College), 42 Lucknow Road, Havelock North

04/10/2017 - 04/10/2017


Production Details

‘Vincent’, is a mesmerising piece of theatre, offering an intimate and moving portrayal of Vincent van Gogh, told through the relationship with his brother Theo.

Vincent van Gogh is one of the world’s most recognisable and beloved painters. Leonard Nimoy’s celebrated play Vincent is based on hundreds of letters exchanged between the illustrious painter and his brother, Theo. This beautiful work is an expression of Theo’s view of his brother and is performed as an incredible one-man show by Hawke’s Bay actor Daniel Betty. 

Daniel takes us on a fascinating journey to portray the intimate relationship between the two brothers.  Theo felt, after Vincent’s death, the world was wrong about him. Vincent expressed many outward signs that we would consider as madness. His mental stability was so turbulent that Theo wants to explain to us that Vincent was ‘misunderstood for his differences’.

This play invites us to ponder the meaning behind van Gogh’s work, under the direction of Lisa-Jane Easter, Betty’s performance takes us on this journey. This play explores the relationship between insanity and creative genius, and the demands that society makes on an artist.

Hawke’s Bay actor Daniel Betty takes us on a fascinating journey and invites us to ponder the meaning behind van Gogh’s work. Under the direction of Lisa-Jane Easter, we explore the relationship between insanity and creative genius, and the demands that society makes on an artist.

Vincent van Gogh lives on as a symbol of inspiration, courage, passion, and the lust for life that art kindles in all of us.

The Blyth Performing Arts Centre (Iona College)
Wed Oct 4th: 7.30pm
Adult: $37 | Concession: $32
Family of Four (Each): $32

Vincent was a sell-out show at The Harcourt’s Hawke’s Bay Arts festival in 2017 and is being reworked to be staged in late July across three locations in Hawke’s Bay.

“Real tears close this poignant sharing of a tragic life. Presented so convincingly, with genuine feeling, the audience is moved to a standing ovation, vocal with appreciation of the weight of the work and gratitude for its generous rendering.” The Hook 2017 

Talking to Daniel about his approach to staging a piece of work like Vincent, he says:

“When staging a show I like to connect with experts to ask for their advice and surround myself with people who can influence my character choices. As part of staging this show I have created an IN focUS expert panel of those I engaged with throughout the creation process.  They will be in Hawke’s Bay to discuss Vincent before the final performance in Napier. These guys are amazing  and I can’t wait to see them all in the same room!”

The IN focUS expert panel will include Grahame Sydney, Dr Anthony White and Freeman White. Daniel has spent many hours talking to artist Grahame Sydney. His descriptions have influenced the beginning of the show as audience enter the space. He described the visceral experience he had when entering the van Gogh Museum which captured Daniels imagination.

Dr Anthony White will join the panel, he is a senior Art Historian for Melbourne University. Anthony has curated the Vincent exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria and part of his thesis explored mental health and art.

Freeman White our very own local legend wraps up these three experts. His work continues to receive accolades nationally and he speaks passionately about Vincent and his influence on the art world.

Vincent van Gogh lives on as a symbol of inspiration, courage, passion, and the lust for life that art kindles in all of us. We look forward to seeing you at a venue near you.

2019 Performance and Discussion Dates:

Keirunga Theatre, Havelock North
24th July 7.30pm

CHB Municipal Theatre
26th July at 7.30pm

For further information and tickets:

In Focus Panel Discussion – Century Theatre at MTG Napier
27th July at 4pm
Followed by performance of Vincent
27th July at 7.30pm

For further information and tickets:[1]  

Just broke these up to highlight that they are separate events and they need to go to different places.

Theatre , Solo ,

An exceptional performance

Review by Karen Beaumont 24th Jul 2019

Vincent, Leonard Nimoy’s adaptation of Phillip Sydney’s 1979 play, Van Gogh, explores the life of the renowned painter through the eyes of his brother, Theo. Based on over 500 letters, the play not only considers the troubled, darker aspects of Van Gogh’s life, it is also a story for our time: one that challenges us to consider the effects of our own modern-day reactions to those who are different; to those we admire yet decry when they do not behave in a ‘normal’ manner.  

Daniel Betty’s performance is mesmerizing as he skilfully holds his audience from his opening words through to the end. Betty’s pace is measured and controlled, and even in the most passionate moments his diction carries effortlessly; a remarkable feat for a 90-minute solo performance. Through a series of rhetorical addresses and asides, Betty weaves together a eulogy that is both haunting and fascinating. His transitions between character and voice work seamlessly; at no point do we not know who we are listening to. As with any memorial, there are moments of laughter, murmurs of assent from the audience, and tears of joy and despair. In many ways, this is as much Theo’s story as Vincent’s.

Lisa-Jane Easter’s set design is effective in its simplicity, enabling Betty to clearly delineate the brothers’ territory as he smoothly transitions from one to the other. The backdrop slides – images of Van Gogh’s sketches and paintings – neatly connect to the letters we are hearing from. Although a little hard to see at times, given the limitations of the intimate seating in this small theatre, Betty’s voice and command of the stage ensures their effectiveness is not lost on the audience.

Easter’s design even conveys a sense that this is a deliberate choice – wouldn’t we be looking to see around each other at any memorial service whilst listening to a reading? So, while at times not perfect, there is a realism to this staging that makes our connection to Betty’s determination to show us the Vincent that Theo (rather than the world) knew, that much stronger. 

This is an exceptional performance from Daniel Betty, one that needs to be seen and shared. While tonight’s performance at Keirunga is sold out there are still tickets available (at the time of writing) for those at the CHB Municipal Theatre, Waipukarau on Friday 26th and the MTG, Napier on Saturday 27th July. Both performances are from 7.30pm – 9pm. For those planning on seeing Saturday’s performance at the MTG there is the opportunity beforehand to join Glen Pickering and his IN focUS panel guests: Dr Anthony White (Senior Lecturer and Art Historian at Melbourne University), New Zealand artist, Grahame Sydney, and Freeman White for a discussion on Vincent, his life and works and the myths that surround this remarkable man. (Tickets are $20)


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Review by Sonia Mackenzie 05th Oct 2017

Daniel Betty gives a superb performance of the play Vincent, written by Leonard Nimoy from letters exchanged between the two van Gogh brothers, Vincent and Theo.

The simple set on an open stage, with desk to one side and painter’s easel to the other, is an excellent way to define their separate lives. Betty transitions very smoothly from one to the other; his facial expressions, body language and use of voice leave the audience in no doubt which brother he is.

Lisa-Jane Easter must be congratulated not only for her inspired direction but also for the set design, sound and lighting. The latter is subtle yet effective in the beautiful Blyth Centre. Changing images on the screen give insight into Vincent van Gogh’s paintings and state of mind, while enhancing the atmosphere created by Betty.

The play opens our eyes to much of the sad story of Vincent van Gogh’s life. Along with periods of depression, he suffered with epilepsy – a condition not fully understood at the time. From a religious background, uncertain of both his direction and talent, van Gogh began his working life as a minister in a coal mining community. His passion for helping others later led him into a relationship frowned upon by his family. It was not until he was twenty-seven that he began to paint – sometimes finishing several paintings in one day. Betty credibly portrays the internal conflicts Vincent faced in an empathetic manner, clearly conveying that van Gogh’s life was always a search for love.

Although much of the content is serious, humour is interspersed with cleverly delivered, conspiratorial asides to the audience. Given the talent shown by Betty to sustain a solo piece for an hour and a quarter, while holding the audience spellbound for the entire performance, it is a shame there is only a single show. Congratulations to all those involved in this engaging interpretation of the life of van Gogh – consideration must surely be given to present further performances.


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