Fun, clean show that's just a little bit cheeky

GWYNETH HYNDMAN
Last updated 07:50 12/12/2012
Southland Amigos
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
Micky Seymour, Josh Keegan and Rowan Barrie are performing in "Southland Amigos" at Repertory House from December 10 to 15.

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A Christmas-themed stripshow comedy is baring nearly all at Repertory House.

Southland Amigos writer director Nathan Kennedy said he hand-picked the SIT fitness and health students from gyms in town to play innocent stripper recruits for his latest play. Loosely based on a Christchurch stage piece he did several years ago, he tweaked the Amigos script to give it an Invercargill angle.

While it may not be a highbrow parlour drama, Kennedy emphasised his original one-hour, 20-minute play was both fun and clean, but peppered with some language, so it was not recommended for children.

"Sneaky" butt cheeks only, he promised.

Amigos took Kennedy about a month to write, and follows the male characters - all in their early 20s - as they discover the stage play they are starring in is a striptease.

It also features a "naughty" gift-bearing Santa Claus, he said.

The five Southland men who take part in Amigos have put in about 60 hours of weightlifting, training and acting instruction in the past six weeks - Kennedy says they will be waxed, buffed and tanned for the performance.

"When they're good-looking it does sell better . . . I always tell them to be themselves. Just have fun, and be excited."

Kennedy said he also wanted the actors to have strong chemistry and camaraderie on stage. "When I was building the show I knew I didn't want three single blokes who didn't know each other up there. I wanted them to be at ease - they know what they can get away with, with each other."

While he had a script prepared, he welcomed their input to make the dialogue more realistic. "They put in their five cents. I'm for freshness - I wanted to make it true to the boys' language."

Kennedy joked that though the plot comes before the torso-baring content, he did see a promising future for the young men as hen's night favourites when the play finished.

Cast member Josh Keegan said it had been hard work getting in shape, but he felt as ready as he would ever be to disrobe. He was a little hesitant when first approached by Kennedy, but was now enthusiastic. Most of his family were planning to attend the performance.

His colleague Micky Seymour was also expecting his family to attend - though he was a little unsure whether his dad knew what he was in for. Both were uncertain whether Amigos would be the first of many acting roles on the horizon.

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Invercargill Repertory Society patron Jonathan Tucker said the performance was separate from the theatre company. The committee rented out the rooms to many groups and didn't censor content.

Kennedy said the performance filled an artistic niche that was missing for Invercargill - he hoped to tour Amigos around Southland if its debut was a hit.

Amigos runs from December 10 to 15 at 7.30pm at Repertory House, on the corner of Jed and Esk streets.

Tickets are $27 plus a booking fee from the Southland Museum and Art Gallery.

Door sales are also available on the night.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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