C’Mon Black

Had a very enjoyable Thursday evening in Wellington. Had dinner at Ortega Fish Shack and my God the food was divine. Had prawn tails followed by the most lovely gurnard. One could easily get addicted to this place.

Then went to Downstage to see C’mon Black. It’s a Roger Hall production, so I was expecting to enjoy it, and I did.

Gavin Rutherford plays Dickie Hart, a Kiwi farmer who leaves the farm and the shiela behind for a once in a lifetime trip to South Africa for the Rugby World Cup in 1995. Rutherford excelled in the role, and kept the audience laughing throughout as he relived what happened on that tour.

The nice thing about getting to go to around 20 to 25 plays a year is that I’m now starting to recognise the different styles of the various actors, producers, directors and writers. I reckon in a couple more years I’ll be able to do blind testing, like they do for coke and pepsi – no looking at the programme, and try and guess who the producer and director was!

C’Mon Black, reminded me somewhat of Le Sud. They were both so good at sending up different cultures. Le Sud took the piss out of NZ, Maori and French cultures. C’Mon Black takes the piss out of NZ and South Africa, and occassionally England. Rutherford manages to capture both the Kiwi farmer, and the South African tour guide so well.

The funniest moment would have been when Dickie phones home, asks about the cows, the farm etc and then only at the end asks the wife how she is. Then as he hangs up he curses he forgot to ask about the dogs.

The play brought back vivid memories of following the Cup from New Zealand. The reminder of Jonah as the giant that crushed the English and was so feared to tackle. Some firm even offered money for anyone who could tackle him. Rarely has there been a team that looked so unbeatable as the All Blacks in that match.

And then there was that final – where so many All Blacks were still sick from food poisoning, no tries were scored, where it went to extra time and then the Boks won with a drop goal. The agony was played out on stage masterfully.

This has been a somewhat stressful week as work pressures have been non-stop and my “to do before next week” list hit double digits. So the play was a very well timed way to unwind and relax, helped by some drinks afterwards at the Tasting Room also.

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