Cast: 4 Female / 2 Male Length: 2 Acts (110 minutes)
Synopsis: Mary Harvey has a family-sized problem that leaves her dreading Christmas.
It is the first year she must cope alone with the homecoming of her disagreeable daughters – the domineering Stella and self-absorbed Mandy – since the death of husband, Tony.
Complicating any chance of harmonious relations, Stella’s down-trodden husband Desmond is secretly in love with Mandy, while eccentric neighbourhood busybody and conspiracy theorist Ivy can be guaranteed to sling her own spanner into any works.
When Mary nervously approaches her next-door neighbour, the mysterious French psychologist Jean-Pierre, for help in dealing with her wayward offspring, she finds him drunk and about to end his life. Before she can get any help from him, she's going to have to stop him from giving up on his own problems. Far from getting the easy resolution Mary had hoped for, new levels of mayhem ensues.
Keeping Jean-Pierre alive and sober so that he can, in return, help Mary becomes a task of mammoth proportions.
Jean-Pierre's treatments of ink blots, animal profiling, and predatory psychology leave Mary more confused than when she started. In the true fashion of 'it's going to have to get worse before it gets better', complete chaos descends on the family Christmas preparations.
Frying-pan wielding Ivy steps in with her own direct action and throws well-laid plans into disarray, leaving Mary to discover a steely inner resolve she didn’t know she had. Mary finally cracks and delivers the home truths that should have been served up years ago.
Twas the Fight Before Christmas has been described by critics as “the perfect antidote to the stress of preparing for the looming family invasion that comes with the festive season” and a “comedic tale filled with clever dialogue and hilarious characters that had me giggling, sniggering and chortling out loud throughout.”
Mary Harvey: 56 years old. A gentle, easily dominated, woman who recently lost the husband she had depended on to maintain order, and sanity, in her family. Last Christmas was an absolute disaster without her husband to take charge of their rotten children Stella and Amanda.
Jean Pierre: Mid-forties - mid sixties. A burnt-out French psychologist with a pet rooster. Neighbor to Mary. He does have a French accent but speaks fluidly and with pace, using pauses for effect.
Stella Harvey: Mid-thirties. Elegantly and expensively presented, Stella is a selfish, manipulative and domineering woman who takes advantage of others in order to support a lifestyle she cannot afford.
Amanda Harvey: Early thirties. Dippy, manipulative, childish. In love with Desmond, her sisters partner.
Desmond: Mid-thirties. Stella’s partner. Intelligent but not socially smart. In love with Amanda.
Ivy: Fifties to sixties. Conspiracy theorist, quite possibly, and most likely, stark raving mad.
what the critics are saying
"A comedic tale filled with clever dialogue and hilarious characters that had me giggling, sniggering and chortling out loud throughout."
"I loved the witty wordplay and ‘lost in translation' moments, the way the dialogue drew me in before landing an uppercut to my frontal lobe – magnifique! And among the laughs are these touchingly thoughtful moments which add contrast and shapes the story beautifully." - The Weekend Sun
"The perfect antidote to the stress of preparing for the looming family invasion that comes with the festive season." - Bay of Plenty Times
Harlequin Theatre - New Zealand Fiordland Players - New Zealand Detour Theatre (2017) Premier Season