Battle of house sale erupts on stage

Starring in Howick Little Theatre’s production of The House are actors, clockwise from left, Izzy Renton, Catherine Maunsell, Stephen Diver, and James Calverley. Photo supplied

An explosive tug-of-war over a beloved house leads two couples to unravel as they vie to claim the property as their own.

Howick Little Theatre’s first production for 2021 is the comedy The House.

It’s written by Brian Parks and directed by actor and former east Auckland local Ashton Brown.

The comedic play makes use of a simple set, as all the action takes place in the home’s living room, and a small cast of just four actors.

It’s set in a suburban home in an unspecified part of the United States.

The house’s reluctant sellers, Martyn and Shanny Redmond, are played by actors Stephen Diver and Catherine Maunsell, with its enthusiastic buyers, Fischer and Lindsay Libett, played by actors James Calverley and Izzy Renton.

The action starts out in fairly normal fashion as the Libetts arrive at the house to celebrate their purchase over a drink with the Redmonds and receive the property’s keys.

Things quickly turn sour when the Redmonds learn that the Libetts, who they believed were the ideal couple to sell to, have grand designs for it.

They want to renovate and extend into the backyard, which will result in the destruction of Shanny’s much-loved garden.

That news exposes the fact the Redmonds are more than a little possessive and protective of the property.

The action builds as the two couples’ competing interests clash and their confrontations move from verbal to physical.

Their arguments become increasingly personal and eventually reveal that one of them may be slightly racist.

More than a little alcohol is consumed throughout, which only draws more anger and hostility to the surface.

The four actors do an excellent job of turning up the heat as their conflict builds toward a violent crescendo that will leave the audience, and possibly the characters, in stitches.

A large teddy bear is violated, furniture is pushed around, and all four characters end up wishing for a very different outcome.

What: The House  
Where: Howick Little Theatre, 1 Sir Lloyd Drive, Pakuranga  
When: Season runs until March 27 (Wed to Sat, 8pm), with a 2pm matinee on March 21.  
Phone the theatre on 534 1401 or go online to www.hlt.org.nz.