The Pickle King


It was a full house at Baycourt on a Thursday night in June to see the first night of The Pickle King. The foyer was packed with a mix of young and old, with a large group of students here to enjoy the performance.

The pre-performance Baycourt foyer – The Pickle King

It is always interesting to attend a show you don’t know too much about. The evening can be full of surprises and it is not at all like watching a play where you know the story and the ending.

The performance of The Pickle King began with a pianist and a character in an elongated white mask, rather like an African tribal mask but with a down-turned mouth as its only facial expression. For a while I thought we were going to get a play of mime and piano, but this character was a place holder, opening the way to our understanding of the place and setting. We are in a hotel lobby in Wellington. Every time the door of the hotel opens we’re hear the roaring wind outside. It remains a running gag throughout.

The stage set for The Pickle King

New characters emerge, now speaking and without masks. We enter the world of the hotel run by an Indian family. The humour is excellent, and some of the little gags are great. For example when the short-sighted Sasha answers the phone and puts the caller on hold, she uses the pianist to play the hold music. The piano score underpins all the action and sometimes the pianist is part of the show and sometimes we are pretending he is not there. His piano is not just an instrument but also part of the minimalist scenery. Doors open in the top to reveal props and a lid lifts to create the impression of a broom cupboard. It also doubles as the hotel reception desk. The whole scenery is minimal but at the same time elaborate. A sliding door to represent the lift, a moving wall that transforms the lobby into a bedroom. A trap door out of the lift becomes an exit to the roof of the hotel. It was brilliantly done and helps us to see how much a stage production is simply an illusion in the minds of the audience, transporting them to different places, suggesting scenery to us when really there is almost nothing there.

The play itself became of game of two halves. The first half was full of humour while the second slipped into a moral tale with a serious message and the humour gone. I don’t think the audience was expecting that and perhaps it made us struggle. Was this comedy or drama?

I thought it was an excellent performance, but perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was that there were only three actors in the company. There were probably eight characters in the play, if we include some silent mimes at the beginning. We spent the whole drive home trying to work out why were we’re convinced there were four people on the stage at one point. We have to discount the pianist who was out there for the whole time. Somehow those three people had given us the impression of the four main characters being there all at once. I must say that they were able to make some very speedy costume changes throughout.

A thoroughly enjoyable evening which the whole audience appreciated. And a great lesson in how a small cast can double or triple and make wonderful use of a very minimal set. Excellent theatre.

You can read a wonderful archived review of the Indian Ink Theatre Company’s  earlier production at Baycourt “Kiss the Fish” by the Te Puna Correspondent: Beth Bowden and see an archived ARTbopSHOW promo video where Dhaivat Mehta and Rosemary Balu speak with Indian Ink’s Jacob Rajan.

ARTbop Literary Editor and Author Marcus Hobson with fellow Tauranga Writers Inc member author Loretta Crawford

Marcus Hobson is the ARTbop Literary Editor, regular book reviewer, writer, and has been the Secretary of the Tauranga Writers group Marcus has been, and continues to be, lots of things. An aspiring author of both novels and reviews, he has always said he wants to be a writer and 40 years later is making that come true. He has in the past done such varied things as study ancient and mediaeval history at Uni in London, worked as an archaeologist, as an economist in central and southern Africa, and as truck driver in a quarry. About two years ago he relocated to the beautiful Bay from a finance job in Auckland. He is a lover of art, the written word and a full time fanatical book collector, with over 3,000 volumes on his shelves. He lives close to Katikati with his wife and sometimes their three daughters, two cats, a library and the odd chicken. Marcus is currently working on a “factional” work about World War One.

Text and images for the review The Pickle King contributed by Marcus Hobson.

You can see the diversity of the contributions from Marcus in the ARTbop archives.

If you would like to contribute your original book reviews to ARTbop WORDS please forward them to for the attention of the Literary Editor Marcus Hobson. We prefer the work is emailed in docx format We appreciate one or two jpg images (not enormous ones as they become an uploading issue for ARTbop)


donotleavemehangingbyathreadsecondseries2016-001Do not leave me hanging by a thread is a You Tube spoken word project to encourage support for the work of Medecins Sans Frontieres – Doctors Without Borders.

“Medecins Sans frontieres – Doctors Without Borders is an international non-governmental humanitarian medical organisaiton. It delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from health care. It was founded in Paris in 1971 by a group of doctors and journalists who believed that all people have the right to medical care regardless of gender race religion or political affiliation. There are regionally based organisations. Australia has an organisation



Remember the fun of colouring in as a child? Tauranga City Libraries’ has two Adult Colouring Clubs!

tauranga Library: Held on the last Wednesday of each month from 10:30-11:30am. Register your interest by phoning 577-7177 or by emailing

Papamoa Library: Held on the second Thursday of each month from 10:30-11:30am. Register your interest by phoning 577-7177 or by emailing

BYO colouring book and equipment or give it a go using our basic materials supplied.   

Adult colouring helps reduce stress, anxiety and we have a lot of creative fun!

ZOETICA – life – passion – bravery 30 August to 02 September 2017 Tarnished Frocks & Divas in association with Carrus     W: F: Tarnished Frocks and Divas



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