Christmas comedy show tells Mary’s story

by Insiders Dunedin

Where: Playhouse Theatre in Albany St, Dunedin
When: 11 & 12 December

Mary and her devoted husband, Joseph, were audience favourites in the Discharge comedy collective’s award-winning show “What is this, Woman’s Hour?” The couple return to the stage in a new show called “Mary’s Christmas”, on at the Playhouse Theatre in Dunedin on 11 and 12 December.

In this classic road trip story, Joseph and the heavily pregnant Mary travel to Bethlehem for the census. On the way, Mary prepares herself for the toils of mothering a famous child, three wise men struggle to buy baby-appropriate gifts and Joseph learns the truth about childbirth.

Mary’s story is interspersed with a series of sketches exploring different aspects of Christmas, including family dynamics, seasonal loneliness and a very unconventional Christmas pantomime.

Discharge has members in both Dunedin and Wellington. The main storyline was written by sisters Rosie Howells in Dunedin and Abby Howells in Wellington, with others contributing sketches.

The show will be performed in Wellington with a different director, cast and crew on 16 and 17 December, with all profits from both shows going to Women’s Refuge.

“In the spirit of Christmas we wanted to produce a feel good show, as well as helping a good cause”, Director Heidi Geissler says. “It has been awesome collaborating with the Wellington group as well. It feels like we are one family with two houses.”

Bronwyn Wallace, who plays the role of Mary in the Dunedin show, says the show offers a different perspective. “It’s refreshing to see a well known story told in such a different way. Mary is funny, clever and sharp – a joy to play.”

Nell Guy, who played Joseph in “What is this, Woman’s Hour?”, is excited about returning to the role. “I love Joseph. He’s a bit naïve and not as clever as Mary but he’s also well-meaning and very supportive of her.”

The cast is made up of five Otago University students and graduates. They are Rosie Howells, Marea Colombo, Nell Guy, Bronwyn Wallace and Heidi Geissler.

“We’re five stellar ladies doing funny things. It’s perfect for Christmas: energetic, lighthearted, funny and quirky.”

Discharge’s “What is this, Woman’s Hour?” won Best Comedy 2013 Dunedin Fringe Festival and was nominated Best Comedy in the 2014 NZ Fringe Festival.

Its most recent show, Benedict Cumberbatch Must Die, written and performed by Abby Howells, Caitlin McNaughton and Kate Schrader (all former Otago University students), enjoyed a sellout season at BATS Theatre in June 2014 and will head south for the Dunedin Fringe Festival 2015.

The actors say they are planning to reserve a seat to “Mary’s Christmas” for their favourite actor. “We know he’s a great supporter of charities, so just in case … “

Mary’s Christmas is at the Playhouse Theatre in Albany St, Dunedin, 8pm on 11 and 12 December. Book tickets online at

What the reviews said:

“Lively and unpretentious … ” (“What is this, Woman’s Hour?”, Theatreview)

“An hour of hugely carried short and sharp laugh-so-hard-you’ll-piss-your-pants type sketches … ” (“What is this, Woman’s Hour?”, Theatreview)

“Laugh-out-loud…highly entertaining character-based comedy … ” (“Benedict Cumberbatch Must Die”, Theatreview)

“The audience roared its approval throughout … “” (“Benedict Cumberbatch Must Die”, The Dominion Post)

Image - Angus McBryde


Submit A Comment