And we’re live! The gloriously camp kitsch kitchen high jinks of Hudson & Halls Live is the latest from Silo Theatre and they’ve definitely cooked this one to perfection.
We’re at the Herald Theatre to attend a live taping of a Hudson & Halls Christmas special and it all starts in the foyer with uptight but enthusiastic floor manager Ngaire Watkins, Jackie Van Beek, giving us some audience instruction and leading us in to the studio. It’s not long until she is interrupted and we meet 80’s TV cooking stars Peter Hudson, played by Todd Emerson, and David Halls, played by Chris Parker.
Obviously it all goes smoothly resulting in a beautiful gourmet Christmas feast? No, no it doesn’t, what we get is far better than any gastronomic delights you can imagine. Timings are off, booze is flowing, and Watkins lets slip some career-changing news for our chef duo. All this and they’ve still got a cream castle to build and there’s a missing guest and the power is failing…. the turkey, the TURKEY!!
These dramatic technical difficulties result in our evacuation to the foyer where we enjoy a drink with a peeved off Halls whose sobriety is declining by the second, but whose need to entertain strongly out ways his personal grievances. Halls mingles around the crowd indulging his fans and knocking back a few. (They weren’t lying when they said this show was immersive). Lucky for us the power is restored and back we go to learn how this festive special is going to turn out.
The performances of Emerson and Parker as Peter Hudson and David Halls, New Zealand’s original great gay love story, are hilarious, and eccentrically wonderful. There’s real chemistry between the two, never before has bickering felt so heartwarming. Rum, Champagne, peach snaps, brandy and wine where all consumed with finesse as the merrymaking continued and actual cooking took place. Both actors should be incredibly proud of their performances here. The excellent Jackie Van Beek does a great job as the manic floor manager Ngaire Watkins who gets to show more sides to her character than you will expect at the start of the performance.
Hats off to Kip Chapman and his team for grabbing this story by the lady fingers and producing a wonderfully entertaining show that’ll have you laughing as if amongst old friends with this endearing couple of New Zealand icons.
Hudson & Halls Live will be an experience you won’t easily forget and definitely not one you’ll regret. Tuck in and enjoy.
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar.