Went on Sunday to a production called My Shout, at The Thistle Inn. The venue was more than appropriate as it was a play about the 176 year history of The Thistle Inn, and through that to be a history of Wellington.
It is put on by the students of 18 students of Victoria University’s Theatre 311 class and directed by Kerryn Palmer, Hannah Banks and Finn Shepherd.
You start off in the main bar of the inn and then in small groups do a tour of some of the rooms above, before everyone returning to the main performance.
The entry price of $18 includes a drink so while you drink, you get some tunes of the piano and a bit of singing, including the theme to Cheers.
Up stairs you have three encounters. The first is a student studying Katherine Mansfield, and then Mansfield herself and her lover. Mansfield wrote in detail about The Thistle Inn.
In the second room you have a bevy of ladies awaiting their loved ones returning from WWI.
And the third room has William Cooper who established the Thistle Inn in 1840. You hear him enthuse about how he funded it by buying some land cheaply off the natives and then reselling it. Lucky for him Cooper isn’t a Chinese sounding surname. The original Thistle Inn faced the beach, and people could and did row and paddle to it, including Te Rauparaha.
I found the first segments, with the tour through the rooms a bit disjointed. But the second part did well, bringing it all together.
Back in the main bar you get a series of acts including Te Rauparaha coming in for a whiskey, and all the staff cowering in fear. You have the drama of WWI, the wharfies strike and the rail strike. Also the Springbok Tour. These all tie into The Thistle, as it was a long time drinking hole for wharfies and railwaymen.
Katherine Mansfield and Kate Sheppard are included and over the 100 or so minutes you really do get a good history of Wellington through the eyes of the Thistle Inn.
The singing made it a nice festive occasion, and there was some good acting, especially James Forster as Te Rauparaha. A very enjoyable way to delve into history and all over a drink, in a great bar.
The production was only on for thee days, and is now over. But if you see it offered again, definitely worth seeing.