Theatre Review: Destination Beehive 2017

Pinky Agnew and Lorae Parry are back with more political satire, in Destination Beehive 2017.

Pinky Agnew and Lorae Parry are back with more political satire, in Destination Beehive 2017.

Destination Beehive 2017
By Lorae Parry and Pinky Agnew, directed by Jan Bolwell
Circa Theatre, until August 5.


Last election, it was the candidates vying to win the seat of Port Nicholson that Lorae Parry and Pinky Agnew so deftly created and presented for the Circa-going audience.

This year, it is Tinakori Heights that is in the spotlight in their election special Destination Beehive 2017.

And the writing and production is just as slick, maybe even more so, than before as the candidates for all the major parties, some with their leaders, are paraded out to espouse their party manifesto.

It is a tried and true formula that works exceptionally well and which Parry and Agnew seem to be able to successfully build on each time they present it.

In Destination Beehive 2017, 90-year-old actor Kate Harcourt, centre with cake, proves she's still a compelling performer.
ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIRFAX NZ

In Destination Beehive 2017, 90-year-old actor Kate Harcourt, centre with cake, proves she's still a compelling performer.

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Set in the studio of Kiwi Media, Parry and Agnew are joined by Tom Knowles as the three presenters bringing this highly charged live special to life. Regulars from previous productions are Dame Kate Harcourt and Carrie Green, who are this year joined by four actors from Whitireia Performance Centre; Shauwn Keil, Charles Masina, Alexandra Taylor and Molly Weaver.

Each takes a turn at portraying one or other of the party candidates, offering their policy byline, all tongue-in-cheek, which they round off with a well-known song-and-dance routine aptly portraying their message with words changed appropriately.

ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Actor Kate Harcourt got a surprise from her fellow thespians at Circa, when they held an impromptu surprise party to celebrate her 90th birthday last month.

The only one not present was the Labour candidate, apparently, they were still arguing about their place on the Labour list.

A highlight of the last show and very much in this one is the NZ First Candidate Maud Hornby and her beloved leader Winston Peters. As Maud, Dame Kate is as sprightly and sharp-witted as ever, amazingly so considering that she has just celebrated her 90th birthday.

As well as the candidates, other well-known political figures appear. Parry's wonderful reprise of Helen Clark, across from Australia for a few days, and Agnew's very creditable Hilary Clinton, here to mentor Jacinda Ahern (Carrie Green). Parry and Agnew also brilliantly parody British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel respectively.

And of course, no political satire would be complete these days without the man of the moment – US President Donald Trump (Tom Knowles).

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His meeting with Bill English (Shauwn Keil) is one of the many highlights that this talented cast have brought together under director Jan Bolwell.  The show is slick, fast, confidently put across and of course hilariously funny and the standing ovation given by the opening night audience was well-deserved.

 - Stuff

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