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Taking Off


Fri 26 Apr 2013, 7:30pm–9:00pm

Where: Royal Wanganui Opera House, 69 Saint Hill St, Whanganui, Manawatu / Whanganui

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Earlybird until November 30: $59.90
  • After November 30: $65.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Listed by: sandra roberts

Roger Hall comedy starring Shortland Street actress Alison Quigan (Yvonne Jeffries)
Following the adventures of four fiftysomethings on their first O.E.

Going to Britain and Europe is a huge deal when you do it for the first time, particularly when you're in your 50s. Or older. And alone...

The terror, loneliness and sheer exhilaration of the experience is the basis for Taking Off -- Roger Hall's comedy, starring former Shortland Street actress Alison Quigan (receptionist Yvonne Jeffries).

Described by one critic as "quintessentially us", Taking Off is headed for Whangarei, Auckland, Tauranga, Hastings, Upper Hutt, Wanganui, New Plymouth, Paraparaumu, Palmerston North, Blenheim, Greymouth, Ashburton and Nelson in April and May 2013.

This poignant, funny, sensitive play follows four Kiwi ladies who are given a new lease on life as they head off to the other side of the world.

Frankie wins second division Lotto and decides to leave her boring husband.

Ruth, having slogged hard for years bringing up a family and supporting her husband on their farm, leaves him after she discovers he is having an affair.

Jean, a loyal corporate employee is made redundant after 20 years service.

Noline, having nursed her terminally ill husband for years, decides to take the trip they had planned together.

“They are credible, they are familiar, and as usual from Roger Hall, they are quintessentially us, capturing our quirks, our nature, and our special relationship with the old country,” – The Canterbury Star

The idea for the work started through a woman Hall met when he was giving a talk.

"She emailed me and said there was an amazing group of women who are vintage and having the time of their lives, and I think there's a play in it," says Hall. "I sat on it for about a year and decided she was right. I approached Ana Samways [NZ Herald Sideswipe columnist], one of my former students in my playwrighting course, and she put in a little paragraph about me looking for women who'd travelled for the first time later in life.

"I got a huge number of replies. I sent the women a questionnaire and followed up a great many. Some I talked to over the phone, some I met individually and I had a group of them come around. The women were very generous."

Hall says he learnt through the women's anecdotes that travelling alone "was a big adventure, a wonderful time and also terrible times".

"These characters are sometimes very lonely. One of the frustrations of travelling alone is coming home to an empty hotel room at the end of an exciting day and having no one to talk to."

In Taking Off, each of the women discovers things about themselves which propel them into a new way of thinking about their lives and their capabilities. "Well, if you come home from travelling without change, you've learnt nothing," says Hall.

The women refer to "going to do their OE", surely an Antipodean turn of phrase used nowhere else in the world. "It is such a way to go," Hall explains. "Especially when you had to travel by ship, it was such a long way you had to stay a long time and you did get more out of it."