Scarlett Women Come Again!


Towards the end of 2014 Jenny Argante and Rupal Mehta of Tauranga’s Theatre of Women Project, spent an enjoyable evening at Tauranga’s 16th Avenue Theatre. Merv and Jan Beets showcased their directing talent and the talents and skills of their diverse cast, with another revue. Jenny Argante’s review gives you the taste and flavour of Tauranga Christmas theatre.

I went with my friend Rupal to the last night of this follow-up revue directed by husband and wife team Merv and Jan Beets, the seventh show done together.

The 16th Avenue theatre is a pleasant venue, managed by a team of volunteers in a manner both friendly and professional. To the front of the rows of seats a space was occupied with round tables and chairs to create a ‘dinner theatre’ locale. (The food appealed to this hungry customer – and the chocolate cake on offer during the interval was to die for.)

Presumably table bookings came dearer than the $20 discount price that Rupal qualified for as a friend of the theatre. Friends and support they do need, and they constantly prove with their programme that, even though this is ‘amateur rep,’ 16th Avenue Theatre’s troupe of performers deliver great value for money.

The show was divided into two acts, and each act had four themes. Act 1 offered a variety of musical musings in many moods on Age, Men, Sex and Personality; and Act 2 delved with equal vim and vigour into the subject of Women, Revenge, Relationships and – for the finale – Christmas. Indeed there was a sense of festivity throughout the theatre, with house staff flaunting crimson boas and many of the women in the audience opting for red, too.

In rep there are, theoretically, no stars: it’s a co-operative effort, and all of the performers delivered the goods. The age spectrum went from Christine Giddens, a seasoned trouper well into her seventies, whose handling of innuendo and the explicit could not be faulted, to the fresh-faced faux ingénue roles presented so skilfully by Jenny Tappenden and Katherine Knight. And from Michelle Parnell some high-octane glamour that couldn’t help occasionally poking fun at itself.

One minor criticism: two or three songs could have been cut without damaging the success of the evening. But how can I complain? We had music, we had dancing and we had a knock-out company giving of their best.

Thank you, Scarlet Women, for encouraging us to sit back and relax while they you us laugh, made us think and made us want to return.

Jenny Argante is a regular contributor of articles, reviews and original poetry to ARTbop. As well as her own publishing business and self-publishing consultancy Jenny and colleagues have recently taken over FREELANCE a magazine promoting writing and publishing.


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