Just got back from seeing Le Sud at Downstage. It is a wonderful politically incorrect play that pokes the borax equally at New Zealand, French amd Maori culture.
In this political satire, New Zealand does not exist. North Zealand was colonised by the British and South Zealand by the French. The North Zealand Prime Minister (think Jim Bolger and Fred Dagg combined) is accompanied by his two coalition partners (a female Hone Harawira type Tuhoe activist and a young nerdy fiscally conservative Freedom MP) to negotiate new power prices with South Zealand.
The South Zealand Prime Minister and Deputy are classic Frenchmen and women, with all the traits captured well. Their other Minister reminds me of Tuku Morgan – a likeable pin striped suit wearing, golf playing Maori who uses his culture to rort money whenever possible.
As I said, it is a very politically incorrect play, and the audience was laughing throughout. Not only was French, Kiwi and Maori culture mocked but in one auducious scene the North Zealand PM greets the President of the United States in a unique way.
The play was most topical also. They obviously updated it in the last 24 hours as there was one scene where the Tuku Morgan type character is advising someone down South on how to sell his property to his wife, and then rent it back at double the previous level. Was all in good humour.
Best of all Palmerston North also got mocked, but I can’t say how as that would give away too much of the plot.
The first five minutes I didn’t find very good – mainly because there was a lot of French speaking at first. I was worried I was not going to get most of the jokes and enjoy it, but soon after that it really hit its strides and I was so glad I went along.
It’s a political satire but you don’t need to be a political junkie to enjoy it. Anyone who vaguely follows current affairs will find lots to laugh at.
The cast played their roles well. Nick Dunbar and Heather O’Carroll were more French than the French. O’Carroll especially could have passed for a native Frenchwoman just by the way she walked in, in the opening scene.
The play carries on at Downstage until the 22nd of August. I can thoroughly recommend it as a play you don’t want to miss.
My thanks to Downstage for the tickets, for the purpose of review. Without them, I might not have got around to going, and that would have been my loss.