Le Sud

August 5th, 2009 at 11:16 pm by David Farrar

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 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.

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19 Responses to “Le Sud”

  1. ephemera (557 comments) says:

    ” French, Kiwi and Maori culture mocked…”

    Aren’t Maori Kiwis, too, or do they have their own country?

    Unless you are using ‘Kiwi’ as a euphemism for white or Pakeha.

    [ /pendantry ]

    [DPF: No I am not. The Kiwi culture includes Maori NZers of course.]

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  2. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    ?

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  3. Dusky (51 comments) says:

    While I see your point ephemera, it’s pretty nitpicky – and not the way it’s meant.

    Maori culture is maori culture. I don’t think I should bother explaining what it is, because it’s simply undiluted.

    Kiwi culture is a blend of european and maori culture. It’s very different from British culture because it includes things like phrases from the maori language, christmas in the summertime, etc etc. But it’s also different from the maori culture because it includes so much that is borrowed from ancestry overseas just as much as in NZ.

    New Zealander contains many kiwis and many maori – the two aren’t even mutually exclusive. It’s quite easy for people to be both.

    If you’re not aware of this, I kind of wonder if you’re either.

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  4. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    Just think what good fun it would having the French occupying the mainland.

    They could burn sheep at Picton, have a refugee centre handy for benefit chasers wanting to go to North Zealand.

    The EU would pay for most of the running costs of South Zealand, as it does already with all French Departments.

    South Zealand, with a notional capital building in Akaroa. All roads would lead to CHCH, and the rest of the country would hate the inhabitants.

    There would be loads of good points though. Hmmmmm, let me come back to you all on that one!

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  5. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Thanks for the tip DPF. I’m in Wellington for work for a couple of days next week, so will make a point of seeing it while I’m there.

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  6. Rakaia George (313 comments) says:

    Glute – I kind of wonder if Dunedin would have become a reverse-polarity version of Quebec…

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  7. bearhunter (822 comments) says:

    “There would be loads of good points though. Hmmmmm, let me come back to you all on that one!”

    Well for a start there would be a damn sight fewer poms.

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  8. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    French or Poms?

    Made your views clear.

    You must have a lot in common with the Parisians I guess. Lovely Folk. Zut Alors!

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  9. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    RG, Love these “What If’ scenarios. Think it would have been very possible given the Auld Alliance, and Scots Predominance down there.

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  10. bharmer (687 comments) says:

    ephemera wrote: “[ /pendantry ]”
    I wonder if you really wanted to be a pedant like me, or are you just a swinger? :-)

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  11. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    Think he meant Pederast?

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  12. goonix (140 comments) says:

    I was already planning on seeing this, looks very good.

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  13. gravedodger (1,575 comments) says:

    I agree with you summation DPF and as a sometime resident of the ” little bit of French” settlement albeit totally diluted I to found the french dialogue a bit challenging but soon settled in to enjoy the brilliant satirical farce immensely. I felt sorry for the person sitting along from me who either had had her sense of humor removed or due to indoctrination from the politically correct just didn’t get it. As to Akaroa for the capital nah but very suitable for the dachas, hang on mmmm.

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  14. ephemera (557 comments) says:

    @Glutaemus Maximus

    That wasn’t funny, and it wasn’t clever. Would you please retract.

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  15. ISeeRed (236 comments) says:

    “Le Sud is a prosperous socialist country…” “North Zealand(‘s)…..free-market experiment ended in disaster”

    Sounds like the all-too familiar progressive meme disguised as “satire”.

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  16. lyndon (321 comments) says:

    I enjoyed the show too, though one of the good points (scattershot poking fun at absolutely everything) might be part of the reason it’s fading from my memory quickly.

    I believe there’s an official Scoop review to come but I might blog some more thoughts at some stage.

    I imagine the crew will be sorry to hear the French bit alarmed you; I think they were trying to be as clear as possible. And part of the joke was that the French didn’t stray above Fifth-form level (or equivalent – but do people still learn French?).

    I though it was almost *better* suited to non political junkies, less likely to be bothered by fiddly errors.

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  17. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    ephemera (193) Vote: 6 7 Says:
    August 6th, 2009 at 2:33 am
    ” French, Kiwi and Maori culture mocked…”

    Aren’t Maori Kiwis, too, or do they have their own country?

    Unless you are using ‘Kiwi’ as a euphemism for white or Pakeha.

    [ /pendantry ]

    [DPF: No I am not. The Kiwi culture includes Maori NZers of course.]

    GM – Would you please retact?

    Fuck, the fuck off, you socialist whore!

    I don’t give a flying fuck about negative karma.

    All I care about is me. and my family and friends.

    plus the Nation.

    Oh by the way, I despise pedants!

    You weren’t funny or clever boy!

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  18. lyndon (321 comments) says:

    Sounds like the all-too familiar progressive meme disguised as “satire”.

    Actually I don’t think the publicity matches the play in this case. Most of the economic disparity is down to that all-too familiar South Island meme (the play was originally for a Wanaka festival) that if you cut the cook strait power cables the North Island would sink.

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  19. ephemera (557 comments) says:

    @Glutaemus Maximus

    I am not trying to pick a fight with you.

    I am asking, like an adult, for you to retract the atrocious statement you made.

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