Silo Theatre’s 2015 hilarious hit Hudson & Halls Live! is back for a mid-winter kitsch Christmas alongside a big dollop of creamy nostalgia. The season has kicked off at Q Theatre and I can say it was an 80’s delight cooked to perfection.
The action started in the bar with the slightly stressed-smiling-through-gritted-teeth floor manager, Ngaire Watkins (Anya Tate-Manning), making some announcements. Once in the studio, she gave us all a short debrief on the live taping of this ‘Hudson & Halls Christmas Special’ – applause lights an ‘all. However, it wasn’t long before she was interrupted by the TV cooking stars and New Zealand’s original great gay love story, Peter Hudson, (Todd Emerson) and David Halls (Chris Parker).
David couldn’t help but ham it up with the crowd while Peter was far more concerned about getting his kitchen in order. After a few minutes of slightly hurried prep we’re live! Let the culinary calamity begin. The timings were off and the booze was flowing with rum, Champagne, peach snaps, brandy and wine all consumed with finesse while actual cooking took place on stage ….mmmm smells good. All was going well until one commercial break Watkins lets slip some not so bright career-changing news for our cooking duo. With all this to digest, they still had a cream castle to build, a missing special guest to find and to top it all off the power was failing….oh and don’t forget the turkey, the TURKEY!!
I saw the original production in 2015 and it is as perfect now as it was then, maybe there’s a bit of extra fine tuning and new wigs but all in all it’s the same show. The performances by Emerson and Parker as Hudson and Halls are really quite beautiful and have all the right ingredients. They’re hilarious, eccentric and depict a relationship so close and real that never before has bickering felt so heartwarming and true on stage. There’s a real chemistry between the two actors who no doubt have become very attached to these two characters over the last two years. Both should be incredibly proud of their performances and the tribute they play to Peter Hudson and David Halls.
The excellent Anya Tate-Manning does a great job as the manic floor manager Ngaire Watkins, who is desperately trying to hold this show together. She gives it her all and is a charming and comical sidekick.
Hats off to Kip Chapman and his team for grabbing this story by the lady fingers and producing a wonderfully entertaining show about this endearing couple of New Zealand icons.
Hudson & Halls Live! will be an experience you’ll happily tuck into and will leave you wanting seconds. ‘Up yer bum’ enjoy it while you can.
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar.
Hudson & Halls Live! runs until 9 July at Q Theatre.