been | Winding Up

The Auckland Theatre Company presents the Giltrap Audi season of ‘Winding Up’  – a sentimental and comedic play about love, family and the inevitable questions about life after death.  It is written by the renowned playwright Sir Roger Hall – a seasoned theatre legend both in N.Z and abroad, and writer behind such shows as Glide TimeMiddle-Age Spread and Four Flat Whites in Italy.

Colin McColl is the acclaimed creative director, and alongside the combined talents of stalwart actors both of stage and on-screen; Mark Hadlow and Alison Quigan, an engaging and bittersweet story is told …

The play, is a follow-up to Sir Roger’s chronicle series Conjugal Rites, which first introduced us to married couple Barry and Genevieve 30 years ago.   They are now, well into their seventies, empty yet comfortable nesters, facing the looming issues that come with age and experience: funerals of close friends, uncommunicative offspring, modern technology and debates about crosswords.

The setting and premise was simple, yet effective.  Classic middle-class white folk, downsizing in a modern yet practical apartment block, with the muted colour palette of soft greys and blues.  The tranquil and aesthetic backdrop of Rangitoto Island yawning through their living room window.

Of course there were the obvious jokes regarding retirement, the debate of travel insurance weighing heavy on their actual potential to travel.  Incessant proclamations of ‘Yes Dear’ and frequent ribbing back and forth between husband to wife, were endearing and instantly relatable, for anyone privy to the trivial banter of any long-married couple.

(Photo Credit – Andi Crown Photography)

The marital ‘In sickness and in health clause’ was a hysterical yet loving moment that played out between the bickering couple, followed by a somewhat overzealous tasting of the latest wine society selection, winding into an awkwardly amorous exchange on the floor, was both entertaining and amusing.

Music played and integral part in the show, through the interchanging of scenes.  Which pared with the use of lighting, (dimming and shadowing) for effect, evoked both nostalgia and the impending fate of the much-beloved Barry …

(Photo Credit – Andi Crown Photography)

The sentimentality of everyday possessions, in particular his prized book collection, particularly resonated with me.  As did the plethora of said books at the end of the show, for open collection.  A very warm and inclusive impart from the creative mind behind this production.

‘Winding Up’  is a touching tribute and send-off to a much-loved and revered character, as well as a monumental salutation for one of New Zealand’s greatest artistic contributors.

Winding Up is now playing at the ASB Theatre.

11th February ~8th March