The latest work by New Zealand’s most successful playwright Sir Roger Hall begins on 11 February at the ASB Waterfront Theatre.

‘Winding Up’ will open Auckland Theatre Company’s’ (ATC) 2020 season, ahead of a North Island tour to Hawkes Bay, Hamilton, New Plymouth and Tauranga in March.

The new comedy features two beloved characters who were at the heart of his smash-hit play, Conjugal Rites, which went on to become a popular British TV series in the 1990s.

Now in their seventies, the two main characters Barry and Gen are coping with failing health, death of friends, estranged family, the need to downsize and planning their funerals.

Sir Roger Hall started out by writing about two characters in their 70s, facing up to life in that decade.

“After a time, I realised that Gen and Barry fitted the situation perfectly. They had worked very well in the original play (Conjugal Rites) – which also went on to TV so I knew their characters well; they had two children, so I didn’t have to create any more, and those children are now of course grown up, and have children of their own (Barry and Gen’s grandchildren). Needless to say, they have to babysit for two of them, perhaps more often than they would like; and the others, they don’t get the chance to babysit them at all,” says Sir Roger.

The play showcases Sir Roger in classic form, demonstrating his inimitable wit and knowing insight. He says audiences can expect a lot of laughs from the show, with some situations being funnier than you might expect.

“I’m sure older New Zealanders will relate to many of the issues. Getting travel insurance with a ‘pre-existing condition’, having a fall (vs falling over), urging a partner to exercise more, baby-sitting grandchildren, getting one’s partner to use their hearing aids, and having to go to funerals. Those are just some of them,” he says.

Gen and Barry, the ‘boomers’ will be played by two of New Zealand’s most celebrated comic actors, Mark Hadlow ONZM (Shortland Street – The Musical, MAMiL, the Hobbit Trilogy) and Alison Quigan QSM (A Shortcut to Happiness, Calendar Girls, Shortland Street) who memorably performed together in ATC’s production of Hall’s Last Legs in 2017.

Director Colin McColl says, “Alison and Mark are great friends and have known each other since their drama school days. They are each superb actors on their own, but put them together and it’s comic dynamite. They have years of experience with Roger Hall’s work and an innate understanding of how his characters are comical but honest.”

Award-winning actor Mark Hadlow is one of New Zealand’s most prominent performers. Lauded widely for his physical comedy, Hadlow’s critically acclaimed one-man show MAMiL has played to sell-out theatres throughout New Zealand. He has performed in over 150 plays, from musical theatre to Shakespeare, and appeared in dozens of films and TV series, including Mortal Engines, The Hobbit trilogy, Meet the Feebles and King Kong. Hadlow was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the arts in 2017.

Alison Quigan’s theatrical experience also spans more than 40 years. In that time, she has acted in and directed over 100 plays, including 15 Roger Halls, and written 13 original works. She is perhaps best known for her work on Shortland Street, playing Yvonne Jeffries from 2004 to 2010, however other acclaimed roles include Cathy in Mum’s Choir and Mattie Fae in August: Osage County. Since 2013, Quigan has been the Performing Arts Manager of the Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku where she works to support new work with emerging practitioners in South Auckland. She was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for Services to Theatre in 2001.

For more information on the show and to buy tickets visit www.atc.co.nz

Or, to go in the draw to win a double pass to the show, email Megan at Rawhiti, megan.lewis@thebegroup.co.nz to enter!

(please use the subject line: Entry to draw for double pass to Winding Up) in your email.