Theatre Review: Public Services Announcements: Stranger Politics

Allan Henry's portrayal or Winston Peters does not disappoint.

Allan Henry's portrayal or Winston Peters does not disappoint.

Public Services Announcements: Stranger Politics, Written by Thom Adams and James Nokise, Directed by Isobel McKinnon, Bats Theatre until September 16.


The lead up to this year's general election has been quite extraordinary and like no other in the way that various political parties have divested themselves of their senior politicians, changing the political landscape.

This also provides more than enough material for the No Fefe Collective to put together another one of its Public Service Announcements, this time aptly called Stranger Politics.

First there is Gareth Morgan (Michael Trigg) trying to put across his No Policies policies, eventually being distracted by meowing cats then Bill English (Patrick Davies) and his team trying to deal with an agitated Paula Bennett (Bronwyn Turei), obsessed with roads and thinking they will be the significant game breaker.

After that is one of the highlights of the night, the Labour team with Hannah Clarke in a delightful and highly accurate portrayal of Annette King and Salesi Le'ota in a cuddly teddy bear onesie as Grant Robertson. Their leader, Jacinda Ardern, a very creditable Heather O'Carroll, then arrives in an angelic glow causing everyone to go down on their knees, bowing in adulation.

Then of course there are the Greens lead by James Shaw (Michael Trigg) circling around the stage ringing bicycle bells trying to find the meaning of green and while the other minor parties get a mention, including the incarnation of a pink bow tied Peter Dunne (Hayden Frost), it is the kingmaker, Winston Peters, with his obligatory glass of whisky that everyone loves to see and Allan Henry's portrayal, more grey this time, doesn't disappoint.

And as can be expected it is Winston at the end bringing the leaders together to find the one he is going to share political power with for the next three years.

And while the theme running through this year's show was not as strong as in previous shows, the parties being more concerned with their internal wrangling than that of who they are up against, there is still plenty of wit and satire and lots of laughs along the way making this an ideal show to lighten up the run-in to the election.

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 - Stuff


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