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Midnight in Moscow: Love, Spies & Lies

Directed by SUSAN WILSON

Saturday 11th May 8pm


A provocative, funny and intriguing new play by renowned NZ playwright, Dean Parker, Midnight in Moscow mixes fact and fiction, art, politics and history, as it tells the absorbing story of a group of Kiwis a world away from home.

Intrigue swirls around the NZ Embassy in Moscow in 1947, and the staff must question their loyalty to themselves, their friends, and their country, when suspicions arise that someone is leaking classified information. Woven with threads of real events and characters, and with an inspired portrait of Boris Pasternak, author of Doctor Zhivago, Midnight in Moscow is a thoroughly engaging and entertaining exploration of betrayal.

“If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country” - E. M. Forster

Midnight in Moscow is an imaginary entertainment, a dramatic fiction, but the odd real-life event was taken advantage of,” says playwright Dean Parker. “The character of June Temm owes a huge debt to the clearly wonderful Jean McKenzie, the first woman to head an overseas New Zealand diplomatic post, hailed by all as ‘a warm and generous host’. Then there is the figure of Paddy Costello, a former NZ diplomat of some notoriety, whose name seems to appear annually with claims he was some sort of Kiwi Kim Philby. And I had read that Pasternak had sought Costello as an English translator of Doctor Zhivago.
“But Midnight in Moscow remains a totally made-up play. The real-life events and people gave me a story, and the story gave me the chance to reflect upon something I’d noticed about people’s reactions to Paddy Costello: it was only the blokes who carried on about whether or not he was a spy – women had a much more honest and personal view of what constituted treachery.”

Circa is delighted to be bringing this fascinating and highly acclaimed play to Wellington audiences. Midnight in Moscow premiered at the Court Theatre in Christchurch – in the shortest main-venue run of any play in New Zealand. On the second night the curtain came down, followed next afternoon by the ceiling as the earthquake of 22 February hit the city. And in Auckland the Auckland Theatre Company production was delayed by a fire at the Maidment Theatre. Circa is hoping for a less eventful season!

“Sophisticated, entertaining and intelligent … with scintillating wit, charming musical items … and wonderful moments of humour” – NZ Herald

Lots of laughs throughout, a dash of singing … lively … entertaining and thought-provoking” - Theatreview (Auckland)

“Espionage furnishes fun ingredients for drama ... It gives cause to ponder, as well as smile. Bravo!” — Theatreview (ChCh)

“A rich and satisfying work confirming Parker’s place in the ranks of NZ’s most sophisticated playwrights” — David O’Donnell, Australian Drama Studies

Directed by SUSAN WILSON


Set Design - John Hodgkins; Lighting Design – Marcus McShane; Costume Design – Gillie Coxill;
AV Design – Johann Nottje; Sound Design – Matt Eller; Choreography – Miranda Manasiadis.

// 11th MAY – 8th JUNE
1 Taranaki Street, Wellington

$25 SPECIALS - Friday 10th May – 8pm; Sunday 12th May – 4pm;

AFTER SHOW FORUM – Tuesday 14th May

Performance times: Tuesday & Wednesday - 6.30pm
Thursday, Friday, Saturday - 8pm
Sunday - 4pm

Ticket Prices: Adults - $46; Concessions - $38; Friends of Circa - $33
Under 25s - $25; Groups 6+ - $39

MIDNIGHT IN MOSCOW is proudly supported by Presented by arrangement with

BOOKINGS Circa Theatre 1 Taranaki Street, Wellington
Phone 801 7992


DEAN PARKER - Playwright

Dean is a screenwriter and playwright based in Auckland. He is the Winner of the inaugural Playmarket Award in 2012.
His plays include The Tigers Of Wrath, Other People's Wars, Slouching Toward Bethlehem, The Perfumed Garden, The Man That Lovelock Couldn't Beat, Baghdad Baby!, The Hollow Men and Tonite Let's All Make Love In London.
Parker has won screenwriting awards for the big-screen comedy Came AHot Friday, adapted from the novelby Ronald Hugh Morrieson which he co-wrote with Ian Mune, and for the Welsh-Kiwi rugby tale Old Scores which he co-wrote with Greg McGee, and for the television depiction of life in newly-deregulated New Zealand, Share The Dream.
He wrote the feature Life's A Riot for television and with Greg McGee co- created the '80s trucking series Roche, and the gold mining drama Gold.

From the cast of MIDNIGHT IN MOSCOW …

June Temm

"More than Twelve years since I did 'Tonite Let's All Make Love in London'. Loving being with Deans' characters again - hilarious ,pithy, opinionated , so intelligent...I can feel my I.Q. rise as we rehearse!'

Kit Lovell-Smith

“This play has everything an actor (and one hopes an audience) could want. I do not exaggerate. Poetry, style, comedy, spies, suspense, Chopin and the Mikado! Plus much much more. I must sound like an infomercial but I sincerely could not be being more truthful about how I feel.
You must see this incredible, potent, important, New Zealand play.”

Hugh Toomey

“As we rehearse, I'm struck by the grand drama of the writing. The more we explore it, the more it reveals. Drama in all senses, because there's plenty of laughter and song in there, too. The play's about friendships, about history, about art, and about love. And it all takes place in the shadow of the biggest political upheavals of the 20th Century. You can't ask for more drama than that. We really feel the predicament of these New Zealanders living at the heart of the Soviet Union in the ashes of the Second World War.”

Sophie Toomey

“I was thrilled to be given the role of Sophie in Midnight In Moscow, a very pertinent piece of writing from one of New Zealand's best writers. I am already blown away by the experience, dedication and dynamism of the team brought together by Susan Wilson.”

Madeleine Corless

“I am really enjoying watching the other actors on the floor in rehearsal. As the youngest in the group I am learning a great deal about working with this great text Dean has written.”

Boris Pasternak

“On Tuesday 22nd of February I was in Christchurch having done two performances of Dean Parker's new play "Midnight in Moscow" when that devastating earthquake reminded us all who was the boss. So it is with great pleasure that I can now have another go at the part of Boris Pasternak a man, who concerns himself, not with politics but the truth.”

Olga Ivinskaya

“This is my first experience of working on a play of Dean Parker's - and I feel incredibly honoured to be doing so. Seldom does an actor have the opportunity to explore, absorb, and live in the words of such a great playwright. Even rarer when the writer is a contemporary New Zealander. I can't express enough how lucky we all are to be working on such rich text, where at every turn we discover more depth, more challenge, more deep compassion for the characters and the fascinating times lived in.”


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