Comedy great Christmas fare

Kip Chapman (left) and Chris Parker as Peter Hudson and David Halls. Photo: supplied
Kip Chapman (left) and Chris Parker as Peter Hudson and David Halls. Photo: supplied

This lighthearted and entertaining look at celebrity TV chefs Hudson and Halls is a treat, writes Barbara Frame.

Hudson & Halls Live!
Fortune Theatre
Saturday November 18 

Reviewed by Barbara Frame

The set isn’t just a set. It tells us, the audience,  that we are on a set  - specifically, the set of Hudson and Halls, the television show that entertained New Zealanders from 1975 to 1986 - and that we are expected to applaud on cue.

While Peter Hudson (Kip Chapman) does most of the actual work of the extra-special Christmas dinner, David Halls (Chris Parker) plays shamelessly to the camera, preens, struts and does most of the drinking.

So much can and does go wrong, from over-inebriation to cooking disasters (Hudson struggles with an unappetisingly limp salad while Halls constructs a ridiculously ornate dessert), power cuts and set disintegration. 

It is up to stage manager Ngaire (Anya Tate-Manning) to rescue this mess and pretend  the famous pair’s seemingly charmed lives are not imploding.

The result is the funniest thing I’ve seen for years.

The real Hudson and Halls provide fertile ground for comic invention, Hudson’s conscientious fussiness perfectly complemented by Hall’s compulsive flamboyance.

Ngaire is an inspired addition and Tate-Manning’s performance is splendid, right down to  a hilariously bumbling attempt to stand in for a celebrity guest.

Anna van den Bosch, the show’s real technical operator, also takes on the tiny but wonderful part of Miss Lynch, the technical operator from hell.

You don’t have to be old enough to remember the originals to enjoy this show.

Undemanding and good-humoured, it shows us Hudson and Halls’ softer side while lampooning their cattiness and tantrums.

Frenzied activity continues into commercial breaks and spills over into the interval.

It’s great Christmas fare. Written by Chapman (who also directs) with Todd Emerson and Sophie Roberts, the touring production is brought to Dunedin by Silo Theatre Trust. 


Barbara Frame.
Barbara Frame.

Barbara Frame.
Barbara Frame.

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