Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Kings of the Gym comes to Nelson

Kings of the Gym comes to Nelson.

Kings of the Gym


Dave Armstrong’s romantic and very funny comedy Kings of the Gym is coming to The Nelson School of Music on Friday April 12.

People who loved Le Sud at the Nelson Arts Festival, Seven Periods With Mr Gormsby on TV and the current Radio New Zealand satire Down the List will know Armstrong as a playwright who makes the audience laugh, while skewering some of the current foibles of New Zealand society. In Kings of the Gym it’s the politics of education, religion, professional sport and 'Best School Syndrome’.

The Auckland Theatre Company is touring this production, which Artistic Director, Colin McColl explains is set at Hautapu High, a low decile Auckland school that’s set to rocket up Metro's Best School ranking.

“The only thing standing in the way is a rearguard action led by the old-school, politically incorrect but hugely popular head of the PE department, Laurie O'Connor,” he says. “Laurie's on a collision course with the ambitious new principal, Viv. She can't stand his work methods or his opinions on education - he still believes kids should learn that sport is about winning!”

McColl says the Auckland Theatre Company is delighted to bring Dave Armstrong’s work to a wider New Zealand audience, describing it as ‘a very kiwi play that is sure to amuse people wherever they may live’. Last year The Auckland Theatre Company presented On The Upside Down of the World during the Nelson Festival, and was thrilled with the response to the production.

Writer Dave Armstrong says he got the idea for Kings of the Gym in the mid 1970s in the gymnasium of the local secondary school where he found relief in the company of the PE teachers:

“They were almost all uniformly contemptuous of modern, progressive education and perhaps therein lay their appeal. After a day of interactive learning I quite enjoyed playing a highly physical and competitive game of now-forbidden bull-rush in the gym. What interested me is that my liberal teachers, whom I really liked and respected, couldn't believe that I enjoyed spending time in the company of the ‘Neanderthals' in the PE department. It was true that these PE teachers could be boorish and insensitive at times, very like Laurie in the play, but I also knew that these kings of the gym really liked kids. And it's very hard to dislike someone who likes you.”

Armstrong says he liked the challenge of setting a rom-com in the scummy, dirty gym of a failing low-decile school, and this got him thinking about a variety of things, from education and politics to wider human issues such as tolerance.

“As I was writing this play, a number of social and religious groups such as Destiny Church, Family First and Sensible Sentencing hit the headlines. Some of the members of these groups are highly intolerant, especially of gay rights groups, liberals, prisoners, schoolteachers and judges, to name a few. But I also noticed a growing intolerance amongst people like me to Christians and other conservative groups.

“What would happen if people from these opposing groups found themselves all in the same place, say in a school gymnasium? It was then that I realised that even though only one of the four characters in Kings of the Gym is religious, this play is really about a battle for the soul. Each character seems to want every other character to think like them and believe what they believe – and are all prepared to fight to get their way. I found this battle both intriguing and at times very funny.”

NSOM Manager Frances McElhinney says it’s going to be a change to have a theatre show on this scale at the School of Music.

“The Auckland Theatre Company is bringing a 20 tonne truck full of climbing walls, balls, ropes and sports gear that will transform the stage into a school gym everyone will recognise,” she says. “It’s going to be a real treat for Nelson people to have a professional show of this scale staged here.”

Tickets for Kings of the Gym are on sale now online at ticketdirect.co.nz or at the Nelson School of Music in Nile Street, phone 548 9477. Ticket prices (+ service fees) are Adult $35 and Student/Senior $30. The Nelson performance of Kings of the Gym is on Friday April 12, doors and bar open 6.30pm, start time is 7.30pm.

"Armstrong takes delight in completely skewering us…It's thrilling being in the voyeur's seat."- Theatrescenes

"Known for his comic writing which is sophisticated and sharp." - NBR

“Kings of the Gym was a terrifically funny play which made for a great night’s entertainment. Dave Armstrong has produced a very New Zealand comedy.” Kiwiblog

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Werewolf: Katniss Joins The News Team

From the outset, the Hunger Games series has dwelt obsessively on the ways that media images infiltrate our public and personal lives... From that grim starting point, Mockingjay Part One takes the process a few stages further. There is very little of the film that does not involve the characters (a) being on screens (b) making propaganda footage to be screened and (c) reacting to what other characters have been doing on screens. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Ko Witi Te Kaituhituhi

Witi Ihimaera, the distinguished Māori author and the first Māori to publish a book of short stories and a novel, has adopted a new genre with his latest book. But despite its subtitle, this book is a great deal more than a memoir of childhood. More>>

Werewolf: Rescuing Paul Robeson

Would it be any harder these days, for the US government to destroy the career of a famous American entertainer and disappear them from history – purely because of their political beliefs? You would hope so. In 1940, Paul Robeson – a gifted black athlete, singer, film star, Shakespearean actor and orator – was one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. More>>

ALSO:

"Not A Competition... A Quest": Chapman Tripp Theatre Award Winners

Big winners on the night were Equivocation (Promising Newcomer, Best Costume, Best Director and Production of the Year), Kiss the Fish (Best Music Composition, Outstanding New NZ Play and Best Supporting Actress), and Watch (Best Set, Best Sound Design and Outstanding Performance). More>>

ALSO:

Film Awards: The Dark Horse Scores Big

An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach Genesis Potini, made all the right moves to take out top honours along with five other awards at the Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards - nicknamed The Moas. More>>

ALSO:

Theatre: Ralph McCubbin Howell Wins 2014 Bruce Mason Award

The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award was presented to Ralph McCubbin Howell at the Playmarket Accolades in Wellington on 23 November 2014. More>>

ALSO:

One Good Tern: Fairy Tern Crowned NZ Seabird Of The Year

The fairy tern and the Fiji petrel traded the lead in the poll several times. But a late surge saw it come out on top with 1882 votes. The Fiji petrel won 1801 votes, and 563 people voted for the little blue penguin. More>>

Music Awards: Lorde Reigns Supreme

Following a hugely successful year locally and internationally, Lorde has done it again taking out no less than six Tuis at the 49th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news