I could swear that Roger Hall bugged this DOC mountain hut and listened to a group of women hikers, trapped in a three day downpour.
With the directing of Debi Walters-Brown, Roger Hall’s Social Climbers was not a play, but very real. With an extremely effective set, the audience sat at the very edge of the hut, at the very edge of the gossip, the laughter, the breakdowns, the taunts, the support, even watched them change their clothes (it was so intimate I was aware of politely averting my eyes!)
Susan (Jess Mergerney) arranged the trip as an escape for the five of them, ostensibly so they all could have a complete break away from the pressures of the school at which they nearly all teach: but she’s also covering up something under her mothering efficiency.
Kath (Marj Bowdler) is nearing retiring age and an experienced hiker (and an avid fan of news bulletins), but is she hiding something important too?
Drama teacher, Maxine (Milly Brown), is full of extroverted, self-aggrandising, drama throughout until her secret drops out.
As for Emily (Maria Quin) and her troublesome daughter, Sinead (Erin Corble) brought along as the sixth guest, there’s some unfinished business there too.
And throughout their lives, the counsellor, Annie (Margret Baker), who has her birthday on the trip, knows all their stories, and even in the present continues to counsel, but might she need some anger management herself?
The show is full of good humour, with funny one liners, as it gently explores our human frailties in the many different relationships we all could have potentially experienced.
The dedicated group of women who put this show together can be praised for their efforts. Alistair Williams’ sound was very clear, his lighting was good, the props, costuming and Dave Brown’s set were excellent.
n The show ends its current season at Otamatea Repertory Theatre at Maungaturoto Friday 24 and Saturday 25 February, 7.30pm. Bookings through Eventfinda, Forum North Whangarei, local Lotto shops or at the door. $20 adults, $10 students.
By Dee Jones
HUMOUR: Social Climbers has characters we all recognise in our own lives.