HUDSON AND HALLS LIVE! Cooks Up Delicious Comedy at Court Theatre
Christchurch will be served a riotous feast of slapstick, nostalgia, laughter and love when 80s Kiwi cooking show duo Peter Hudson and David Halls are celebrated in Hudson & Halls Live!
Hudson and Halls' cooking show was a high-wire act that was watched more for the disasters, quarrels, innuendo and copious glasses of wine than the recipes themselves. The beloved celebrities, who were a breath of fresh air for 1970s television audiences, found great success and were jointly awarded "Entertainer of the Year" in a 1981 public poll. The pair enjoyed 11 years as one of TVNZ's top-rated shows - not to mention being the first gay couple on New Zealand television, ten years before it was legal.
It's apt that such a daring show originated from a dare. Actor Todd Emerson was at a party in Auckland with actress Rima Te Wiata when conversation turned to Hudson and Halls. "I wondered aloud why no one had made a film or written a book or a play about them and Rima said 'Well, you do it!'" says Emerson. Emerson relayed the conversation to his husband, Kip Chapman (director of That Bloody Woman) and the two approached Sophie Roberts, freshly-appointed as Silo Theatre's Artistic Director. After 18 months' development, the play opened in December 2015 to rave reviews and sell-out audiences.
Hudson & Halls Live! stars Todd Emerson ("Bilky" on TV3's Westside) as Peter Hudson and Christchurch-born actor and comedian Chris Parker (Funny Girls; Jono and Ben) as David Halls. Set at a pivotal point in the duo's career, Peter and David set out to create a turkey dinner with all the trimmings for a live Christmas special. In true Hudson and Halls fashion, disaster quickly follows. Rounding out the cast are Anya Tate-Manning as Ngaire Watkins, the show's put-upon floor manager, and theatregoers themselves as the "live studio audience".
Artistic Director of The Court Theatre, Ross Gumbley, says "I remember Hudson and Halls and my main memory is how outrageous they were. Their joy, exuberance and devil-may-care panache leapt off the screen. This stage production honours that and is a downright riot!"
"The show is slapstick comedy at its best - but never more extreme than the real Peter and David!" says Christchurch Arts Festival Director, Craig Cooper. "Despite all the on-stage outrageous chaos this is ultimately a touching New Zealand story of love".
Despite New Zealand's official stance on homosexuality at the time, Peter and David lived in the closet with the door wide open. As it was illegal to be gay until 1986 the pair never openly discussed their sexuality; any questions were answered with a Noel Coward line "are we gay? Well, we're certainly merry!". The depth of their love was only publicly recognised after they left our TV screens: when Peter died of cancer in 1992, David changed his surname to Hudson-Halls and took his own life 14 months later.
Although the conclusion to their real-life love story was tragic, Hudson & Halls Live! is a celebration of a very special relationship at its peak. For those who remember David and Peter's on-screen antics, the show is a piece of joyous nostalgia. For a new generation, it's a riotous introduction to a trailblazing couple who changed the face of New Zealand entertainment. Hudson and Halls live on, in Hudson and Halls Live!
Todd Emerson Peter Hudson
Chris Parker David Halls
Anya Tate-Manning Ngaire Watkins
Kip Chapman Director
Daniel Williams Set Designer
Elizabeth Whiting Costume Designer
Jordan Keyzer Stage Manager
Ben Freeth Assistant Stage Manager
Geoff Nunn Technical Operator
For SILO Theatre
Sophie Roberts SILO Artistic Director
Andrew Malmo Tour Manager
Kate Burton Production Manager
- Adult: $59-$62
- Under 25/CSC: $40-$43
- Child (under 18): $30-$33
- Senior 65yrs+: $52-$55
- Group 6+: $49-$52
- Court Supporter: $49-$53
Bookings: phone 03 963 0870 or visit www.courttheatre.org.nz
Christchurch Arts Festival Season (6-16 September)
- 8.30pm: 6 - 9 September
- 2pm: 9 September
- 7:30pm: 11 - 16 September
Court Theatre Season (18 September - 14 October)
- 6.30pm: Monday & Thursday
- 7.30pm: Tue/Wed/Fri/Sat
- Forum 6:30pm Monday 18 September - Discuss the play with cast and creative team after the performance
- 2.00pm: Matinee Saturday 26th August