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Kapiti Playhouse Presents: Happy Birthday Dear Alice

Kapiti Playhouse Presents
by Bernard Farrell

NZ premier for an amateur production of this Irish comedy – “Happy Birthday Dear Alice” by Bernard Farrell.

This play explores the dilemma faced by ageing widow Alice as she tries to meet the demands of her selfish children, who want to put the reluctant Alice into a old peoples’ home. This is a two-act comedy set in the kitchen of Alice’s home. In Act One we celebrate Alice’s seventieth birthday and in Act Two we celebrate her seventy-first. Due to a tragic accident, Alice was widowed at an early age and left to raise a son, Barry, and a daughter Barbara, on her own. Barbara now lives in San Francisco with her husband Cormac and Barry lives in England with his new girlfriend, Sandy, while Alice lives alone except for the company of Jimmy, her neighbor for many years. Her children return each year to “celebrate” her birthday and present Alice with plans to place her in an old peoples’ home. However, they have not counted on her determination not to go through with their scheme. Irish playwright Bernard Farrell has given us an excellent play with lots of laughs and one that all the Alices of this world can certainly relate to.

Bernard Farrell (born 1941) is an Irish dramatist whose contemporary comedies – both light and dark – have been described as well written with a keen sense of absurbity. Though well known in Ireland, he does not have a high profile here. Kapiti Playhouse’s production of his 1994 play Happy Birthday Dear Alice will be the first amateur production in New Zealand.

The cast is Rachel Neilson, Teresa Sullivan, Mark Harris, Renwick Wright, Geena Collins, and Tony Tait.

Happy Birthday Dear Alice is directed by Simon Boyes from Wellington. Simon has directed four plays at Kapiti since 1994, with the last one in 2008 being Roger Hall’s “Who Wants to be 100?” He does not have any theatre commitments in Wellington this year so took the opportunity to suggest this Irish comedy by Bernard Farrell to the Kapiti Playhouse.

This play will be performed at the Kapiti Playhouse from 2 to 12 April 2014 at 8pm, Wednesdays to Saturdays only. Bookings at Ticket Direct Information Desk Coastlands Mall (04) 902 9885.


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