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Toni Potter and Adam Gardiner

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Sunday Roast by Thomas Sainsbury

Director Sophie Roberts

Silo Theatre at Q Theatre

Until June 26

Life on the typical New Zealand farm is often thought of as idyllic, rewarding or even boring. It is not really thought of as a place of immorality, dissipation, slavery and seven-course meals.

Thomas Sainsbury’s new play Sunday Roast managed to merge the two worlds of the fantasy and reality of the New Zealand farm in a work which is a mixture of Gothic thriller and stand-up comedy. The play features eight characters played by two actors – Adam Gardiner and Toni Potter.

There are the seven members of the Giles family as well as the new lad Rupert, rescued from the depravations of the city.

The play slowly peels away the family secrets and relationships as it heads towards the big family get together the Sunday Roast which features a novel main course on the menu. The coming meal will also be the announcement by the matriarch of the family, the dying Philip Giles of his new will.

Which of the family will inherit the farm and what will be the future of the family and its secrets?

There is an undercurrent of sexual tension throughout the play from 13 year old Tamsin with her fantasy about losing her virginity to the local fire brigade, Courtney’s obsession with fitness and sex through to the mother, Leanne who uses sex to gain power.

The play is full of dramatic surprises as it deals with the dysfunctional family, weird relationships and dubious morality but it is also awash with clever, intelligent and bawdy comedy with some great one-liners and extended gags.

Adam Gardiner and Toni Potter are engaging and manage to do justice to all their characters although some stand out more vividly than others. However in having to deal with eight characters there is the occasional momentary lapse in focus for the audience as often the characters are not differentiated enough to carry the action smoothly.

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