By Ben Elton
Directed by Peter Webster
Season: 4 - 19 August
When Philip is challenged by his boss to find a new way of making money from nothing, he invents the ‘Suck and Blow Machine’ and, along with it, the business of ‘air’ – providing private air, stockpiling air and eventually selling air. A flash advertising campaign convinces the public that everyone needs a Suck and Blow, but while the market for oxygen is growing, the world’s supply is diminishing.
Genius writer Ben Elton is perhaps best known for Blackadder and The Young Ones. Lesser known are his four plays Silly cow, Popcorn, Gasping and his more recent Gasp which is set in Australia where Elton lives nowadays He regards Gasping as "essentially a very long sketch".
PETER WEBSTER AS CHIEF
Who wouldn't jump at the delicious opportunity to play Chief, the industrial magnate so evocative of Elton's most imperious, scheming and delusional of characters? Equally, I am fortunate to be among talented and resourceful actors.
My previous performance at Dolphin was some 10 years ago in Up and Coming. At Howick I have played Norman in The Dresser, Charles in Blithe Spirit, Oberon, and Prosecuting Counsel in Beyond Reasonable Doubt. Elsewhere I have played Al Bronsky in the ZDF Sonntagsfilm Zeit der Vergebung filmed locally in 2010, and I enjoyed being amongst the outrageous Fortune cast as Judge Walters.
It is always a pleasure working at Dolphin, where I have performed in several plays over the past nine years. Most recently, I had multiple roles in Oliver Twist, and played Nina in Looking, for which I received Best Actress award, and Ruth in Blithe Spirit. Taking the role of a hard-nosed, sexy lady in Gasping has been a lot of fun. The whole process has been a collaboration between cast and crew, and I hope you enjoy this sometimes outrageous, very funny dark play.
I have been performing in theatre since a very young age, treading the boards in parts such as Cleante in Moliere's The Hypochondriac and the White Witch in an all-male cast of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Whilst pare of London's Kensington Drama Club, I transitioned from being in front of the audience to a directing role, with The Libertine, The Lying Kind and a modernised French farce. This is my first play since moving to New Zealand two years ago, but I have been keeping busy occasionally performing on the New Zealand stand-up circuit.
I was originally dragged into theatre by my wife Tracey, and I found I kind of liked it. We have taken part in a number of musical productions, the highlight being Anything Goes at Auckland Civic Theatre in 2011. Since then I have played Autolycus in The Winter's Tale at Ellerslie Theatre and appeared in Sitting Pretty at Howick Little Theatre in 2015. I was last at Dolphin Theatre in 2014 and won the Best Actor Award for Bingham in A fox on the Fairway. The chance to play a Ben Elton idiot (or is he?) gets me back to the Dolphin with the rest of a fantastic crew.