Allen Hall Theatre, University of Otago, Dunedin

13/08/2015 - 14/08/2015

Production Details


Three sisters, separated for the last ten years, reunite to attend the funeral of their late mother – however after they finish with their comical sibling bickering, they are forced to confront their difficult past.

Quinn, Mo and Bambi may share the same genes but these three girls are anything but similar. Eldest sister Quinn is trying to rebuild the family unit she left behind, but how can she while struggling to confront her own past. On the flipside, free-spirited, middle-child Bambi, wants nothing more than to talk about their family history. The baby of the family, Mo, is the sister that was left behind and her search for answers is going open some old wounds, and possibly create some new ones.

This talented cast is a mix of some of the finest current Theatre Studies students. Sinead Fitzgerald (Mo) has just finished a season at the Fortune Theatre as “Lucy” in Punk Rock, and is excited to take on some more challenging material, provided by Wings. Katherine Kennedy plays middle child Bambi. As a third year Theatre/Dance student, she is a regular in Lunchtime Theatre productions; she is looking forward to exploring the freedom and naivety of Bambi. Jennifer Shack is a reasonably new face at Allen Hall. Currently taking part in the Fortune Theatre’s playwright’s initiative, ‘4X4’, she is also studying towards her Bachelor of Performing Arts, and is eager to flex her acting muscles in Wings.

Director Jordan Dickson is in the third year of his Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Theatre. This is his second Lunchtime Theatre production, after directing the premiere performance of Dear Diary in May. Dickson says “I was attracted to the piece because of these three strong, female characters. Each is so unique, and their hilarious familial interplay will ensure you can’t help but connect with each of them, which makes the inevitable fallout even more bitter.” 

Dickson is also thrilled to be presenting this work through a “pay what you think it’s worth” system. Audiences will be asked to pay what they think is an appropriate price for what they have seen, after the show, whether that be $0, $10 or $100. “I think that theatre should be as accessible to as many people as possible, and one of the barriers to attending is price. If you’re not confident the show you’re attending is going to be good, why take the risk? This pricing model eliminates that risk I think,” Dickson said. 

Wings is presented by the Lunchtime Theatre Programme with the generous support of the University of Otago Theatre Studies Programme. Wings opens on August 13th at 1pm. Tickets available from the box office on the day, cash only please.

Dates:  13th & 14th August, 1pm 
Venue:  Allen Hall Theatre, Leith Walk, North Dunedin, Dunedin 
Tickets:  $5 Waged / $3 Unwaged

Theatre ,

Brutal, poignant, revealing

Review by Alison Embleton 15th Aug 2015

A striking set of the inner fixtures of a car (two of the seats already occupied) greets the audience as they arrive, setting the scene for the rest of the play. The car is the constant feature that the action unfolds around, and it is clear that great attention has been paid in order to make it functional as well as visually compelling.

Written by Jess Sayer, Wings follows the story of three estranged sisters reunited after the death of their religious-fanatic mother. Quinn, the eldest (Jennifer Shack), left home a decade ago and hasn’t been heard from since; Bambi, the middle sister (Kathrine Kennedy), has been living in a vegan commune since the age of fifteen; and Mo, the youngest, has been left behind to deal with their dark force of a mother.

Director Jordan Dickson has created a very genuine sibling dynamic between the actors; it is one of the great selling points of this production. They are compelling and believable in their quips and squabbles, as well as in the more sincere moments. While in the beginning some of the dialogue is a little forced, the actors quickly find their rhythm and bring to life the kind of relationships that anyone with siblings will be able to relate to.

Cars are an excellent place to have serious or uncomfortable conversations, and Wings definitely utilises this aspect in its staging. Jordan Dickson’s directorial choices have led to some wonderful moments between the actors, allowing them to explore and develop their characters as the story unfolds.

The lighting is wonderfully atmospheric and definitely sets the mood for the show, however it unfortunately leaves the actors’ faces constantly in shadow. This grows increasingly frustrating as the plot develops and the actors explore deeper emotions. The audience loses the more subtle side of their performance while their faces are in darkness.

Wings is a brutal play. These three sisters have had a bleak childhood, illustrated poignantly by a story about sneaking out to ride calves together, which led to disastrous results. This story goes a long way to highlight the historic solidarity between these women, while also allowing the insight into how miserable and frightening their childhoods were.

One of my few negative criticisms of this production would be the level of hysteria that the actors build to as the climax of the plot unfolds. The information being conveyed by (and to) the characters is intense, as well as essential to the plot. Some of this gets lots amid the shrill screams and piercing crying. While it is wholly appropriate for the characters to react in extreme ways to what is happening, it would perhaps have been more effective to have varying levels of volume through the scene in order to keep the information flowing to the audience.

All in all, Wings is a brilliant production. The ensemble cast play off each other well and have clearly worked very hard with their director at developing their characters’ relationships. They bring to life the nostalgia of a New Zealand childhood, as well as the fear of what losing your family can mean and the darkness which that fear brings into the lives of those left behind.


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