Hurst lets rip with bard

Last updated 08:01 16/04/2013

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Shakespeare will be unleashed on to the TSB Showplace stage of the Theatre Royal when No Holds Bard is performed on May 9 at 7.30pm.

Accomplished stage and screen actor and director Michael Hurst is the solo star of No Holds Bard which focuses on Hamlet, an insomniac who returns home to discover a script documenting the end of his life and begins some serious late- night soul searching.

In this one-man show, Hurst switches effortlessly between characters and melds his mastery of the Shakespearian form, building to a battle sequence where Hamlet unleashes 30 years of stage combat experience - on himself.

The show is over, the audience has left and Hamlet comes home to his dingy flat to face the final curtain.

But can he make up his mind to do it?

Hilarity ensues when Macbeth, King Lear and Othello arrive to help the hapless prince decide whether or not to be or not to be . . . or not.

The performance sees Hurst join forces with two of New Zealand's freshest writing talents, Natalie Medlock and Dan Musgrove, for an outrageous and, at times, profound view into one actor's attempt at self destruction with an irreverent comic edge.

Hurst is New Zealand's premier performer of Shakespeare and is best known by international audiences as Iolaus, Hercules' sidekick in the cult series, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and as a director of the television series, Spartacus.

His contribution to New Zealand arts was acknowledged in 2003 with a laureate award from the Arts Foundation of New Zealand.

Then in 2005 he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

No Holds Bard is the seventh play that Medlock and Musgrove have written together since graduating from Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School in 2007.

They are a young writing team specialising in eccentric, offbeat comedies and their writing talent has already been recognised nationally.

They both also write for the popular New Zealand television show, Shortland Street.

No Holds Bard is being presented by the Central North Island Arts Consortium, a collective including the TSB Showplace in New Plymouth and also theatres in Hamilton and Hastings.

Supported by funding from Creative New Zealand, it will be the first performance presented by the consortium this year.

"No Holds Bard is an exciting production from Royale Productions who specialise in new works that push theatrical boundaries, excite audiences, and challenge the status quo," says Megan Brown, venue manager at the TSB Showplace.

"We're thrilled to be bringing such a high-quality performance to New Plymouth and giving local Taranaki audiences the opportunity to see Shakespeare in a new light."

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The performance is recommended for ages 14-plus and tickets are $35 for adults, groups of six+/seniors $30 and students $15 (limited number) from TSB Showplace Box Office or Ticketmaster 0800 111 999, ticketmaster.co.nz

Service fees apply.

- Taranaki Daily News

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