Event Information

Coaltown Blues
by Mervyn Thompson

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Coaltown Blues is a wonderfully moving and entertaining account of a young boy’s early life in a small New Zealand West Coast mining town, in a country facing the Depression, War and post-War years. It has a delightful ‘cast’ of characters all seen through the unflagging optimism of writer, Mervyn Thompson’s childhood eyes

“Thompson's one-man play captures the essence of the period with a startling and disturbingly tragic clarity… how it would be possible to sell a performance to a modern audience whose history is minimal … Well, sell it he did, with passion, understanding, and a sympathy which brought members of the audience to their feet during the final ovation.” Waikato Times - June 8, 2017


In 2013, when this revival debuted, Wellington audiences and critics agreed. ”One man play a kiwi classic” stated the Dominion Post. “Entertainingly insightful and timely revival” read the Theatreview headline. From Theatreview Palmerston North - “This is a tour de force performance by Chris Green, who succeeds masterfully throughout the play. Green fits the part he is playing perfectly: he is a talented performer with a warm and engaging presence, a gift for capturing the key elements of character in voice and stance, and a fine, rich baritone voice. These things make it a pleasure to spend an hour and a half in his company.” Word has even spread overseas with Green invited to take the revival to The Edinburgh Festival. 


Coaltown Blues depicts both the tragedy and comedy of poverty and politics; the struggles throughout Thompson’s childhood in a West Coast mining town. It is both a lively and comical celebration and a wrenching lament for the working class roots from which Thompson sprang. Coaltown Blues resonates both for audiences who relate to the history of the play and to today’s audiences, as many of the issues raised in the play again fill our news screens on a regular basis. 

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