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THE TITLE TELLS YOU ALL

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 James Wenley, 23 Nov 2012


The ‘awkward' brand of humour is one well known to audiences. Popularised in modern times by the Ricky Gervais School of comedy, it employs cringe, painful pauses, and a whiff of nastiness to sell its humour. Thomas Sainsbury has long done his own successful spin on the genre, and is a great match working for the first time with the Outfit Theatre Company with Director Benjamin Henson for their annual Christmas show. The title is a very good clue as to whether you'll enjoy this play. Believe me; this family Christmas is awkward indeed.

We open on a suspiciously happy couple Polly (Jacqui Nauman) and Percy (Andrew Ford): he's reading the newspaper, she's creaming a Pavlova, and both send adoring smiles across the John Parker designed room. It's the one moment of relative calm the play affords us; then (this reviewer attempting to remain sensitive, which the play does not do), Polly awkwardly walks, feet inward, across the room and we realise she is a few kiwifruit short of a pav (Nauman making a late play for the ‘The GAIL COWAN MANAGEMENT Award for Best Actress/Actor Playing a Character with a Disability/Medical Condition of the Year' Hackman Theatre Award). Percy launches into a foul rant. Whenever anyone else is around, Percy pretends to be mentally impaired for his own perverse reasons, Ford channeling his Tweedle Dum character from Alice earlier this year. Those are only the first two characters we meet. [More
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