Are you ready for a hearty serving of Kiwi nostalgia?
Welcome to Flagons and Foxtrots, a Christchurch Court Theatre production that will take you on a comedic journey back in time to the dance halls of 1960’s rural New Zealand.
Ryman Healthcare are proud partners of The Court Theatre, which brings joy and entertainment to Ryman residents and team members every year.
"Like the Court Theatre, Ryman is a home-grown Canterbury icon - so when the opportunity came available to partner with the home of live theatre in Christchurch, it was one that we were thrilled to be a part of," says Ryman New Zealand CEO Cheyne Chalmers.
"I know a lot of our residents will identify strongly with Foxtrots – not to mention Flagons!"
This show is nostalgic in more ways than one, having premiered at The Court Theatre back in 2006, when it was an immediate hit with audiences.
Set in 1960s Ohoka, Canterbury, this classic piece of New Zealand theatre tells the story of a group of young people chasing their dreams against the background of the Saturday night dance hall scene.
Jill Jenkins, breathlessly played by Anna-Maree Thomas, is waiting for her boyfriend, Jack, played by Ben Freeth, to pop the big question. They’ve been together for two years and Jill is more than ready to get engaged. However, Jack seems oddly hesitant.
Brothers Archie and Pinkie Moore, played respectively by Finley Hughes and William Burns, are hoping to strike the big time with their band, and they think performing at the Saturday night dance will do the trick.
Meanwhile, Jill’s friend Rita, played by Lily Bourne, is hiding a big secret.
Juliet Reynolds-Midgley gives a wonderful comedic performance as Jill’s widowed Aunt Ina, a perfect foil to Jill’s father Sid Jenkins, a no-nonsense kiwi bloke played by Adam Brookfield.
This writer recognised some of her older relatives in Sid, and there were many moments throughout the play where other members of the audience clearly related to the characters and the time and place they were in.
The show keeps the audience laughing, with some of the funniest moments in the play coming from Finley Hughes, who puts on an energetic performance, particularly in his interactions with the audience and with William Burns. Burns’s performance was particularly impressive given that he recently completed a nine-week course of chemotherapy.
Although the show is not a musical, music plays a key role in setting the scene and gets the audience’s toes tapping, and is reminiscent of a time when having live musicians on the stage was the norm at dances.
The cast displayed a versatile range of musical talents, with most of them singing or playing an instrument during the show. Lily Bourne performs a standout solo, and musicians Mitchell Thomas and Cameron Clayton put on an energetic performance as the Bobbin Robbin band, playing some favourites from the past.
The story is a wonderful, light-hearted glimpse back into the past, where things are not always as straightforward as they might seem on the surface.
There is also a fun twist at the end of the show which kept the audience on their toes! Make sure you bring and wear a mask if you would like to participate in this.
There is also an option to attend a special Masks Required Show at 2pm on Saturday 17 September, where it will be compulsory to wear a mask at all times (unless eating and drinking), including when in the auditorium.
This is to make the show accessible to members of the community who otherwise may not feel comfortable coming along to the theatre.
A nostalgic homegrown comedy that guarantees plenty of laughter, this heart-warming show is not to be missed. Bring your dancing shoes and get ready to be transported back to the world of a 1960s rural New Zealand dance hall.
Flagons and Foxtrots is playing at the Court Theatre from now until 17 September 2022. You can check ticket availability and book a performance by visiting their website.