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JOLLY GOOD CHRISTMAS ROMP COULD BE MORE

Print Version

AN AWKWARD FAMILY CHRISTMAS
Writer: Thomas Sainsbury
Director: Benjamin Henson

at Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, The Edge, Auckland
From 20 Nov 2012 to 1 Dec 2012

Reviewed by Kathryn van Beek, 22 Nov 2012


If you've been dreading Christmas with your family this show will reassure you that at least your holiday season is unlikely to be marred by aliens, murder, sexual pottery and hankies in the food.

The play is set in the home of Polly, a pretty young woman who has something terribly wrong with her. Played by the engaging Jacqui Nauman, Polly is the heart and soul of the play and the only likeable member of her family. Polly attempts to please her siblings, her estranged parents and their various hangers-on in her quest to host the perfect Christmas.

At first the kaleidoscope of wacky characters – which include a Celtic Tongan, a troubled next-door neighbour, a beautiful woman with super-human abilities and creepy Aryan twins – is overwhelming but bit by bit each character's story is told.

Unfortunately some of the more interesting stories are glossed over in favour of kinky sex triangles and gratuitous food fights.

That might sound intriguing but further exploration into the idea of the lonely father who's recreated the family home, or into the complex relationship between two stoners (played brilliantly by Brad Johnson and Cole Jenkins) would have reaped emotional rewards.

As usual Sainsbury is bursting with ideas and this script is tantalizingly close to becoming a classic. But as it stands, the talented cast and production team have created a jolly good Christmas romp. 
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