Globe Theatre, 104 London St, Dunedin

12/07/2012 - 22/07/2012

Production Details

Winkie is a man-child, a forty-year old man with serious learning difficulties who thinks and behaves like a four-year old child. His only carer is his mother, his only environment his small, safe home. Then his mother dies and Winkie’s care becomes the responsibility of his sister and her less than sympathetic fiancé.

Winkie’s story is one of love and neglect, of sacrifices made – and of cynical self-interest. A sad and illuminating, all too relevant tale for our time. 

Globe Theatre, Dunedin
Thursday 12th to 22nd July 2012 
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Cast (in order of appearance)

Mrs Doris Walls                          Yvonne Jessop

Annette Walls, her daughter      Stefany Frost

Wilson Scrimgeour, her fiancé   Emmett Hardie

Gavin Walls, Mrs Walls’ son       Chris Summers

Sharon Stark, a solicitor            Millie Lovelock


Stage Manager                           John Campbell

Asst. Stage Managers               Golda Matthias, John Belville

Set Design                                 Nigel Ensor

Set Construction                       Don Knewstubb, Phill Todd, William Torr,
                                                   Helen Davies, Helen Fearnley, Ray Fleury

Set Finishing                             Rohana Weaver

Lighting Design and Rig            Alex Ross

Lighting/Sound Operator          George Wallace

Wardrobe                                   Sofie Welvaert

Properties                                 Christine Johnstone, Ray Fleury

Photography                             Sofie Welvaert

Publicity                                    Roslyn Nijenhuis, Alex Ross

Front of House                          Ellie Swann  

Dark social issue shown

Review by Barbara Frame 14th Jul 2012

Winkie’s real name is Gavin, and although he’s 40, he needs the kind of attention that a toddler does. In their modest flat, his mother has given him a lifetime of patience, self-denial and love.

When she dies, his welfare is transferred to his sister, whose affection for him was never strong, and her heartless boyfriend. Soon, selfless care is replaced by neglect and abuse. [More


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Dealing with dependence

Review by Kimberley Buchan 14th Jul 2012

Written, directed and designed by Nigel Ensor, Winkie is a slow-paced play which explores attitudes toward disability. The stresses of caring for someone completely dependent are shown through episodes that, like real family life, are centred on mealtimes.

Yvonne Jessop plays Doris Walls, whose 40 year-old son Gavin has a mental age of 4. Stuck in time caring for him, she is a proponent of providing a loving environment for Gavin instead of professional care and she is increasingly unable to handle the situation.

While his total dependence requires her total sacrifice, she is able to quip, “I see you’ve met the family secret.” Her son has endearing traits but also ones that would be extremely difficult to deal with which results in a growing frustration leading to breaking point.

The inevitability of Doris’ sudden death and strange will means that Gavin’s distant sister, Annette, and her calculating and self-serving fiancé, Wilson Scrimgeour (Emmett Hardie), are placed in a situation they would not have chosen for themselves.

Annette, played by Stefany Frost, grows in her new circumstances whereas Wilson reveals a certain ruthlessness in his valuation of money over humanity. His prejudice is divulged as soon as he enters the stage and phrases like “people like that” litter his conversation.

Annette, Doris and Wilson reveal their thought processes through soliloquies that tell the audience rather than show their motivations.

The solicitor, Sharon Stark (Millie Lovelock), is professional and clinical. In her bureaucratic role not much empathy is displayed.

Winkie is the insensitive nickname bestowed upon Gavin by his absent father. In the title role, Chris Summers, with his incongruous tattoo and eye patch, provides the best performance I have seen him produce. 

The set is a ‘ghastly flat’ full of actually working appliances. There is a lot squeezed into a small space and some of the furniture is at an angle that is not always beneficial for the audience.

The pacing is impacted by the frequently empty stage and some scene changes that do not seem to be entirely necessary.

Winkie the play does not presume to provide the answers to the questions it poses. It aims to be thought provoking, as a ‘relevant tale for our time.’ The duration of the play allows a lot of time to think.


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