Centrepoint, Palmerston North

27/03/2021 - 24/04/2021

Production Details

Just when things should be slowing down for retirees Baz and Gen, life is Winding Up!

With grandkids to wrangle, a cruise to plan and Barry’s preoccupation with plotting his own funeral, the reality of the so-called ‘golden years’ is explored in this brand new comedy from legendary playwright, Roger Hall (Four Flat Whites in Italy; Middle Aged Spread; Glide Time).

Starring beloved actors Mark Hadlow and Darien Takle, Winding Up is a heart-warming Kiwi comedy that shouldn’t be missed.

Centrepoint Theatre, 280 Church Street, Palmerston North
27 March – 24 April 2021
Wednesday  6.30pm
Thursday  7.30pm
Friday  7.30pm
Saturday  7.30pm
Sunday  4pm
Opening Night: Saturday 27 March 2021
Student $25
Subscription Package $35
Concession* $37; Early Bird $35
Adult Full $45; Early Bird $40
Dinner + Show $80 – $90
*Seniors and Community Services Cardholders. Valid I.D. is required.
Dinner & Show Deal

Theatre ,

Classy slapstick works a treat

Review by Richard Mays 28th Mar 2021

“Old age doesn’t sneak up – it gallops up”.  
Playwright Roger Hall rides back into town aboard a new comedy with a couple of old familiar characters in tow.  

Hall introduced Barry and Gen Masefield to Centrepoint audiences in 1990 in the world premiere of hit play Conjugal Rites. The highly successful local production was reprised in 1991, with the play also scoring  on the Westend stage and becoming a 90s UK TV sit-com.  In 2011, the stage show got a period reboot at Centrepoint from director Kate Louise Elliot [reviewed here].

Now, in what could be seen as something of a 30th anniversary tribute, Elliot brings her accomplished production of Conjugal Rites: the sequel – aka Winding Up – to Palmy fresh from its season at Court in Christchurch.

Having survived the marriage whoopsies of their earlier years, Barry, a former dentist and Gen, a retired lawyer, are comfortably holed up in an inner-city apartment dominated by a magnificent vista that could be the Tararuas. 

Exposition is quickly sorted during the opening scene, courtesy of a one-sided phone conversation arranging travel insurance. It’s pre-Covid 2019, and the pair are planning a European cruise, hoping to catch up with their estranged son and two young grandsons when in London.  

Oh, and there is another “L” word that makes the conversation – Barry has just been diagnosed with leukaemia. Treatment or the trip becomes part of the discussion in this two-hander laden with familiar ‘older folk, golden years’ tropes and preoccupations Hall has made use of many times before.

There are numerous echoes of his plays Four Flat Whites in Italy, You Can Always Hand Them Back, Who Wants to be 100? (Anyone Who’s 99) and Golf – a love story among others.

Barry and Gen may have enjoyed (largely) the good life and a bountiful wine society selection, but now face the inevitable. Darien Takle and Mark Hadlow combine beautifully in this well-heeled middle-class pākehā domestic show-down with mortality.

In an evening of classy slapstick, Takle and Hadlow fully exploit the opportunities provided by the sit-com one-liners and running gags. The banter is enlivened with superb pas-de-deux timing, nuances of expression and gesture, while the pair don’t shy away from physicality. This may be a smooth, well-honed depiction, but the two are skilled enough to prevent it from looking too practised.

Having created an endearing relationship, Takle and Hadlow keep the chuckles coming on Richard Van Den Berg’s eye-catching, fetchingly lit, well-dressed single set, with both actors decorously swaddled by costumier Deborah Moor.

During the past 50 years Hall has cultivated and refined his knack for engaging and galvanising the mainstream boomer audience who have grown up and grown older with his plays. While Winding Up offers them nothing new in genre, theme, tone or style, its warm-fuzzies, fly-on-the-wall variation on the tried and true still works a treat. 


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