Theatre Review: Hen's Teeth
Produced by Kate Jason-Smith
Circa Theatre, Wellington, 6.30pm, until March 25.
More than 30 years ago, a group of women performers got together to put on a variety show consisting of a series of comedy sketches prompted by the notion that female comedians were as scarce as hens teeth.
Hence the name of that original show and the current Hens' Teeth, playing at Circa Theatre, which follows the same format.
And what is so great about the show, both then and now, is that the women performers not only confidently laugh about themselves, but often about the world around them.
Getting the show underway and dressed in a gorgeous red-and-black feathered outfit is the wonderfully witty and effusive Pinky Agnew who, as MC for the evening, keeps the momentum flowing throughout.
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Those from the original show of all those years ago include Dame Kate Harcourt, reprising her Maud Hornby role, doing an advert for retirement homes, and Helen Moulder as Cynthia Fortitude, performing her own renditions of Italian opera with the wonderfully versatile Rose Beauchamp on piano as accompanist.
These two also combine for a duet at the end – one of the show's highlights – giving a hilarious rendition of Mozart's Papagano/Papagana from his opera The Magic Flute.
Other musical numbers are provided by Jane Keller, performing a delightful and witty couple of songs about her new vocation as a Life Coach, one on dieting and one on relationships, and Darien Takle as Melania Trump being a political refugee seeking asylum in Aotearoa and singing a very original version of Don't Cry For Me Argentina.
Donald Trump also gets a mention in Susan Gordon's funny recitation of being on the ground in America in the lead up to last year's elections.
Another skit from the original show. and a crowd favourite, is Prue Langbein's Utensil-free Cooking, better known as "Cooking with Condoms", still as fresh and original as when it was first seen.
Along with these seasoned performers there are several new and younger artists. Although most of them delivered stand-up comedy style pieces, there was nevertheless some interesting items, including April Phillips and Tracey Savage's double act about mammograms, Sarah Harpur's parenting routine and Cathie Sheat's bawdy Tony Al Dente number.
These, along with a number of other performers, added up to the new Hens' Teeth being just as much fun as the original. For an evening of light, bright entertainment, this is one well worth watching.