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Flower Power: Simon Wilson on the Return of Daffodils

Apr 7, 2015 Theatre

The New Zealand musical love story Daffodils makes a welcome return to Q Theatre.

Above: Musical director Stephanie Brown photographed by Mhairi-Clare Fitzpatrick.


When Daffodils premiered in Auckland a year ago I reviewed it online in what became one of the most read and shared posts we’ve ever had on this site.

I called it “a play to turn you inside out and set you back, heart pounding and eyes all wet, terribly upset, terribly full of thanks that it could be so good. It’s a new-formed, fully fledged wonder. I love it.”

Daffodils, I added, is “the story of how a couple of Hamiltonians meet in the 60s, fall in love, get married, carve out a life. Set to the music of Neil Finn, Dave Dobbyn, Bic Runga, Don McGlashan, Ray Columbus, Chris Knox, Jordan Luck… all the old farts who have lit up our lives at one time or another, their songs reimagined, renewed, worked over so they belt you round the chops and — with a wrenching clarion splendour you probably thought you would never feel for them again — call to you in your soul.”

Those wonderful musical arrangements and the onstage musical direction are in the hands of Stephanie Brown, aka Lips, shown here. The show itself, as I also said, “is ‘inspired by’ the story of playwright Rochelle Bright’s own parents. It’s whimsical and bittersweet, and then it slides into darkness, and then, well, I don’t want to say how it plays out, except to say that Bright has both the skill to delight her audience at every turn and the courage to avoid any hint of easy sentimentality, and that’s breathtaking.”

Get the idea? “Daffodils,” I ended my rave with, “resonates so strongly as a piece of our own mixed-up, precious culture, it should be our new national flag.” And now, for just five nights on a national tour, it’s back in town.

Daffodils: Q Theatre, April 8—12.


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