Went to the opening night of The Spy Who Wouldn’t Die Again at Downstage. It’s a first class production that gets everything right, and was hugely enjoyable. The plot, the cast, the set and the gadgets were all superb.
It’s a wonderful parody of James Bond, with a Kiwi setting. If you’re a James Bond fan, you’ll love this play – and even if you’re not watched any James Bond movies, you’ll still find it a hoot (Auckland Girl who went with me has never seen James Bond but loved the play).
The play is set in 1985 and Agent 009 (Stephen St Clair) is dispatched to New Zealand to gain a perpetual motion device, which threatens the world’s energy industries. Hence the French, Russsians and Australians are also hunting for it.
The play starts with a wonderful combat scene, that was almost more Kill Bill than James Bond, followed by several minutes of some very naughty and untraditional James Bond credits, using shadow figures. Their use of shadow figures at various stages of the play, is very well done.
It’s a very Kiwi play, with Rotorua motels and geysers, the Silver Fern train, and even a guest appearance from David Lange. Lange, hilariously, wants the perpetual motion device destroyed as if it survives there will be no need for nuclear power, and then New Zealand will no longer be special as the world’s only nuclear free country.
The play has a number of Bond like gadgets which are a delight. By far the best is the tent with a “spare man” in it. Just trust me, that you’ll be almost crying with laughter as he is activated.
Nick Dunbar plays Stephen St Clair. The other three actors play a variety of roles each but primarily Darlene Mohokey is the beautiful and sexy Dominique Le Fleur, Bryon Coll is inventor Gerald Boke and the spare man, and Tim Spite is the rogue agent 008. They performed their main roles with ease, and were comic genius in some of their minor roles.
The set design was also excellent. I loved the Rotorua motel, and the car was so cute, Auckland Girl wanted one for herself.
As with many of the plays from Tim Spite and SEEyD, there are some political messages and themes in the show. The nice things about his productions is they are done with subtle grace, so the play remains enjoyable, even if you are not in political alignment with the message.
After tonight’s performance of the play, I’m moderating the “Meet the Artists” session on stage at 8.30 pm. This is where the audience can ask the cast and crew all those things you’ve wanted to know, or discuss some of the themes that ran through the play. Not sure if there are any tickets left for tonight, but whether tonight or any time before 24 April, I recommend you see the play if you want a good night out,.Tags: Downstage, Reviews