Motel – Basement Theatre

Within one worn out motel room, in the middle of nowhere, four contrasting stories of life, love and death pass one another like ships in the night. Motel, premiering at The Basement in Auckland, is the latest drama from award winning New Zealand playwright April Phillips (STiFF).

Showing across a week and a half from the 13- 24 of August, this show is a poignant glimpse into climactic moments within the lives of eight contrasting characters.

Phillips creates slick and honest dialogue, which often cuts right to the point and when it does the tension which transpires is breath-taking.

The most effective dialogue of the play exists between characters Henry and Pearl, an older couple who visit the Motel in search of peace.

The treatment of these two characters is courageous, and the down-to-earth examination into their affection for one another is powerful.

Peter Hayden delivers a truly captivating performance as Henry, a cliché Kiwi Husband and Grandfather with a strong sensitive streak. Equally magnetic is Lorae Parry’s performance as Pearl, his devoted wife.

The two together have such immense chemistry that it thickens the air in the Theatre and renders their performance unforgettable.

Throughout the play we are introduced to four sets of characters. Each of which is initially formulaic, an optimistic salesman, a wife seeking her first affair, a saucy mistress, an invasive house keeper and a recluse Motel Manager.

Through unexpected twists and plot revelations, we see beyond the walls of the characters. Motel reveals that brief encounters are often rife with misconstructions.

Frequently funny and always engaging, April Phillips’ latest play catches life’s private woes and wonders, and unveils them for all to appreciate.

Reviewed by Vivienne Long

Motel is on at the Basement Theatre until 24 August.

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