[/audio] Hear the full interview on Access Radio – FreeFM – Cosmopolitan News and Views
Coaltown Blues is a moving and entertaining account of a young boy’s early years in a small West Coast mining town. The Meteor has joined forces with Chris Green of Black Beech Theatre in a “Meteor at Large” venture to take the Mervyn Thompson written play out around the Waikato. ‘Coaltown Blues’ will be performed in Huntly, Te Aroha, Te Awamutu, and Matamata during May, with the range of intimate theatres providing the perfect atmosphere for Chris Green to stage this acclaimed revival of Thompson’s play. This iconic one-man drama (with songs) is the story of a young boy growing up in a NZ coal mining town during the Depression, War and post-War years with a wonderful ‘cast’ of characters all seen through the unflagging optimism of the boy. Check the Coaltown Blues tab for reviews.
While Mervyn Thompson is one of New Zealand’s most significant playwrights, thirty years on many associate his name mainly with controversy. Until recently the play has been largely submerged under this controversy. However, Green believes whatever the truth is regarding this traumatic series of events in which he was embroiled, this one-man musical drama is an important New Zealand work which now needs to be seen. In 2013, Wellington audiences and critics agreed. ”One man play a kiwi classic” stated the Dominion Post. “Entertainingly insightful and timely revival” read the Theatreview headline for the BATS Theatre performance. Provincial and rural theatre goers have responded in kind. In his Picton season, in 2014, Green was thrilled to receive validation from Mervyn Thompson’s sister Mary after she saw his portrayal of her family life. In Palmerston North from Theatreview: “This is a tour de force performance by Chris Green, who succeeds masterfully throughout the play. Green fits the part he is playing perfectly: he is a talented performer with a warm and engaging presence, a gift for capturing the key elements of character in voice and stance, and a fine, rich baritone voice. These things make it a pleasure to spend an hour and a half in his company.” Word has even spread overseas with Green invited to take the revival to The Edinburgh Festival.
Coaltown Blues depicts both the tragedy and comedy of poverty and politics; the struggles throughout Thompson’s childhood in a West Coast mining town. It is both a lively and comical celebration and a wrenching lament for the working class roots from which he sprang. Coaltown Blues resonates both for audiences who relate to the experiences of the play and to today’s audiences, as child poverty, and the necessary resilience of life in mining towns again fill our news screens on a regular basis.
The Meteor 7-10 June 7.30pm
Te Aroha Little Theatre, Sunday 7th May at 2pm and Friday 12th May at 7.30pm
Te Awamutu Little Theatre, Saturday 27th May 7.30pm
Matamata Musical Theatre, Sunday 28th May at 2pm and Friday 2nd June 7.30pm
Book on 027 311 4900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
$25 adults and $20 unwaged
For further information contact Chris Green:
The excitement mounts for me as the Greymouth season draws closer. Of course I look forward to any chance to perform this wonderful play, but for me this one has the potential to be particularly memorable.
I realise an important ambition with this performance. I started my teaching career in Greymouth and had some very pivotal roles on The Regent stage. It was in Greymouth that I first came across Mervyn Thompson’s work.
Since I began work on Coaltown Blues in 2012 it has been my hope that an invitation to perform in Greymouth might arrive – and I am so looking forward to working with The Regent Theatre to make this dream a reality.