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


The Surprise Party by Dave Armstrong at Circa Theatre

Circa Theatre is delighted to announce the World Premiere season of Dave Armstrong’s new comedy The Surprise Party.

One of New Zealand’s leading playwrights, Armstrong’s previous successes include Niu Sila, The Tutor, Kings of the Gym, Rita and Douglas, Le Sud and The Motor Camp.

Be careful who you vote for … they just might get in.

Doug Moore has been the sole MP of his tiny left-wing party for 9 years.

But when Beehive sex scandals and social media disasters hit both major parties, Doug, his deputy Kura, and their list of hopeless candidates – including a Wellington bus driver who hates passengers, a scooter-riding barista, a conspiracy theorist who refuses to use the Internet and a transport spokesperson who can’t drive – are in serious danger of gaining some power. Doug is horrified – he knows what the members of his party are really like!

The Surprise Party is an affectionate satire on left-wing politics, MMP, inter-generational conflict and the personal and political relationships that dominate New Zealand today. ‘This is a high-energy comedy with big, loveable characters about a tiny political party that has way more power than it ever expected,’ says Dave Armstrong. ‘What’s incredible is how much of it is based on true events.’ Dave, who writes an often-satirical column for the Dominion Post, won the 2018 Voyager Media Award for best humour and satire columnist.

Dave and director Conrad Newport (Niu Sila, Rita and Douglas, Le Sud) are enjoying reuniting for this wildly entertaining comedy.

‘I’m delighted to be working with Conrad Newport again,’ explains Dave, ‘who has directed so many of my comedies. He has selected a highly talented cast, including some exciting new faces not seen before at Circa.’

‘Politics is always ripe for the satirical picking, so I can't wait to launch the 2020 election year with Dave's upbeat comedy that will have you both running scared and giggling all the way into that voting booth,’ adds Conrad.

The Surprise Party features Alex Greig, Bronwyn Turei, Sepelini Mua’au, Hannah Kelly, Danielle Meldrum and Vincent Andrew-Scammell with design by Sean Coyle and lighting by Tony Black.

‘Dave Armstrong – a lefty Wellington lightweight and potboiler playwright’ – Sir Bob Jones

‘Armstrong’s ability to write a drama that is both contemporary and universal in its themes puts him at the top of the league table of Kiwi playwrights.’ – Elspeth Sandys, New Zealand Listener

‘Director Conrad Newport has collaborated with Armstrong before, and his sure touch is evident in the pace and timing of this energetic production’ – Terry MacTavish, Theatreview

18 January – 15 February 2020

$30 Specials – Preview Friday 17 January at 8.00pm and Sunday 19 January at 4.00pm

Tickets: $25 - $52

Tuesday – Thursday 6.30pm

Friday and Saturday 8.00pm

Sunday 4.00pm

Book at Circa phone 801 7992 or

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Benjamin Ree's The Painter and The Thief

The Norwegian filmmaker had long been fascinated by art thieves who commit high-stakes crimes with a delicate touch when a chance Google search in 2015 uncovered a botched heist in Oslo. More>>

Howard Davis: Anna Coddington Beams

Anna Coddington's thin, wispy vocals fit her songs beautifully, providing a wonderful lilting quality that pervades her latest album, producing instant ear worms. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>

Howard Davis: The Phoenix Foundation Friend Ship Tour Docks in Wellington

A sense of local pride was certainly running high at the Opera House on Saturday night, as the lads ran through a tasty little set drawn mostly from their latest album Friend Ship (splash out for Xmas on the shocking pink extra-thick vinyl edition). More>>

Howard Davis: Avantdale Bowling Club

Auckland rapper and MC Tom Scott brought his stunning jazz-infused Taite Music Prize-winning project Avantdale Bowling Club to the Opera House headlining Wellington's 2020 Jazz Festival. More>>

Howard Davis: Troy Kingi Rules The San Fran

The award-winning Northland musician performed songs from his new record The Ghost of Freddie Cesar, the fourth installment in his 10/10/10 series - ten albums in ten years in ten genres. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland