4 women, 3 men, full length comedy (can be musical comedy)
The international hit comedy
Angel Delight, the illegitimate daughter of a funeral parlour director, inherits the business when her father dies. Before she can sell the business and the land (which is much more valuable) she has to continue to run the business as a funeral parlour for a further five years. Unfortunately she knows nothing about the funeral business but a lot about prostitution.
Angel and her team of 'girls' (including an obsessive compulsive transvestite named Delilah) run an undercover massage parlour in the funeral home keeping up appearances despite the prying of disgruntled former employee Mr R. Swipe who felt he should have inherited the business.
Suspenders, death by misadventure and unorthodox embalming techniques feature in this hilarious, quickfire comedy. Rude not crude, cheeky not vulgar - it's a modern farce with lots of great characters.
There have been over 100 productions of this hit comedy with sold out seasons all over the world including London, Melbourne, Brisbane, Tasmania, Norfolk Island, Auckland and throughout the amateur dramatic and musical societies in Australia and New Zealand. Most productions have been sold out. The crazy comedy has audiences rolling in the aisles and laughing from start to finish. Because it was such a hit the first time, some companies have brought it back for a return season.
16th AVENUE THEATRE, TAURANGA
Reviewed by: Louise Dean
"STiFF is a rolicking good farce..." "Undertaking and prostitution are not a likely combination but one that allows for some wickedly good black humour and delicious double entendre. And that's exactly what this cleverly written play delivers in bucket loads". "STiFF is a raunchy, adult comedy that will have you crying with laughter."
WHAKATANE LITTLE THEATRE
By Kirstin Miller, Bay Weekend 6 May 2006
Characters lift play above the rest
This is one of the best repertory plays I have seen in Whakatane.
It begins with a bang and ends with an explosion, and makes for a great adult show from a talented and enthusiastic cast.
Director Scott Jarrett has created a highly enjoyable play that is certain to fulfill audience expectations and provide a good laugh.
While the story is clever and laden with great quips and innuendo, it is the characters that lift this play above the rest."
TRIBUNE 2 DECEMBER 2007
STiFF provides a great night out
STiFF is visually stunning and full of gorgeous characters. Well-paced interplay, touches of the absurd and a talented cast guarantee a great night out.
QUESTORS THEATRE, LONDON 2009 - Theatre Showcase Review June 2009
Reviewed by Evan Rule
Do not expect high drama in this production, for it is farce in the very best traditions of Carry On, ample flesh on view, saucy seaside postcard humour and a very hard working cast that drive the jokes and play to their very obvious conclusions. ...This is billed as the northern hemisphere premiere of what has become a cult play in New Zealand, where, after over 20 productions, now has a following similar to The Rocky Horror Show and where the audiences dress to fit, so beware, this could be the start of something rather strange."
NEW ZEALAND HERALD article about the Questors Theatre production June 2009
By Stephen Jewell
Judging from the reaction of the sold-out opening night crowd, who laughed from the first line to the last, Phillips has nothing to fear. Perhaps, as she notes, Stiff is a play for these troubled times.
WAIPUKURAU LITTLE THEATRE - 2016 -A Review by Mary Kippenberger
Last night the Little Theatre rocked with laughter as line after line delivered, after the looks, the physical gestures, the perfect costumes, hilarious accents and the inferences hit their comedic marks. Everyone will have taken away with them their favourite bits, let me talk about mine. My all-out top-of-the-pops was the dead body bit. I loved the cadaver. I’ve never said those four words in a sentence before…. Curtain call gave the audience opportunity to whoop their appreciation and as I left the building I overheard one bloke say to another bloke, “I loved that!” Supermarket chat the next day confirmed the above and all that’s left is for me to say, “The people have spoken.”
BLENHEIM MUSICAL THEATRE Review Nov 2008 - reviewed by Angela Crompton
Naughty Stiff gets plenty of laughs
...Wellington based writer April Phillips has filled the Stiff script with naughty, double entendre and Friday night's audience rocked with laughter throughout the three-act show. Two women at my table had flown from Masterton to compare the show with a Stiff production they did with a Greytown theatre group. They gave the Blenheim version full points and liked how songs in the show were sung by independent vocalists.... Friday night's audience gave loud, appreciative applause after each song...
WHAKATANE NEWSPAPER ARTICLE May 2006
Stiff a huge hit for theatre
It was a win-win situation all round – audiences loved it and Theatre Whakatane is thrilled with the overwhelming success of its recent production, Stiff.
Ticket sales to the show were beyond expectations, with more than 1600 seats booked over the week-long season that wrapped up last weekend.
Theatre Whakatane president and show director Scott Jarrett said half the seats were sold before the season even started, which was an “extremely positive start”.
“ I think perhaps it was the suggestiveness of the show, that it was packed full of humour and the situation was so ridiculous,” Mr Jarrett said. “It provided a bunch of laughs. “I think humour is a huge part of it.”
Audiences had plenty of praise for the actors and Mr Jarrett agreed they did a great job. “It was an absolute thrill and I am happy for everyone,” he said. “I think we have proved that there is a real opening for drama in the community.”
NEW PLYMOUTH LITTLE THEATRE STUFF Review: Stiff gets solid review after breaking ticket sale records Shona Benton09:45, Nov 27 2016
“Little Theatre's Christmas production Stiff is a real cracker…. Director John Lawson has really pulled off this extremely funny script by April Phillips. it's not surprising an extra week had to be added after Stiff broke box-office records at Little Theatre.”
HAMILTON PLAYBOX THEATRE
Reviewed by: Nicolas J R Wells, Hamilton This Week
" It is not often that Hamilton audiences have the opportunity of seeing live a quality farce by a New Zealand playwright – excepting the formulaic pieces churned out by Mr Hall. It is also true to say that the majority of the capacity audience on opening night was probably more attracted by the title and subject matter than anything else. If this was the case then they certainly weren’t disappointed. The plot combines two of the oldest professions – undertaking and prostitution – thereby providing ample opportunity for delicious black humour and juicy double entendre – my particular favourite, amongst many, being “it’s not time to wax up the Volvo yet!”.
PRODUCTION BY PLAYBOX THEATRE
Reviewed by: Lucy Reed, WaikatoTimes, 30 August 2004
"...The four characters make up a very funny comic mix, who are constantly tested by Angel's father's disgruntled former employee Robert Swipe who threatens to discover their undercover business. ...Stiff's audience enjoyed a quirky, offbeat play written by April Phillips, one of the core cast of TV's McPhailand Gadsby for two seasons. The seven-person cast did a great job of keeping up a high level of energy throughout the non-stop play, with each actor delivering a strong and entertaining performance... "
BRISBANE INDEPENDENT PAPER Reviewed by "Oscar" April 2009
"This ribald show full of fun and puns had the opening-night audience in stitches, with Damiel Lee and his energetic team at Stage Door showing once again that good theatre with a good meal make for a full house in more ways than one."
MANAWATU EVENING STANDARD 24 November 2007
Manawatu Theatre Society Globe Theatre
"Take three feisty hookers and one sweet transvestite who can't stop cleaning, put them in a fluffy pink funeral parlour, add lots of shrieking and running in and out of doors, and you have STiFF, the Manawatu Theatre Society's festive-season comedy which opened last night....The play's opening moment, as the curtain rises on a misty, candlelit set, deserves a round of applause in its own right - it's a great visual that sets the tone for the rest of the story....As for the comedy - it's in the mould of Are You Being Served - only with organ music and casket....great laughs and sight gags."
FEILDING HERALD 29 November 2007
Good show for a Christmas do
"The setting for this play by New Zealander April Phillips is ripe for farcical set-ups and innuendo, and that is exactly what happens....Christine Taylor Haussman is a busty dumb blonde - very dumb! She plays the part with great gusto to the huge delight of the audience. Overcome by fumes, her laughter is infectious and had the first night audience in tears. Delilah, an obsessive-compulsive transvestite, is portrayed in hilarious seriousness by Ian Grant.... greatly enjoyed by anyone with a sense of humour."
STAGE DOOR THEATRE, BRISBANE - Review April 2009
"It is a good, old fashioned farce with a typical farcical ending. She [Phillips] would have been pleased with StageDoor's professional production and the audience reaction on opening night. They didn't miss a trick and laughed at just about all the scores of jokes and sight gages that abound in the script."
TAIHAPE DRAMA GROUP
By Gill Duncan, Central District Times, 9 June 2009
Convincing, funny drama
"For those of lucky enough to catch the Taihape Drama Group's latest show, STiFF, it was a great way to cheer up a chilly winter's evening. Shock and surprise were key elements as the show opened and exposed our plucky Taihape locals at play with every taboo subject from the oldest profession, to death and the deceased with quick fire repartee, pun and innuendo."
WHAT THE DIRECTORS & CAST HAD TO SAY
Gareth Bevan, Director, Questors Theatre, Ealing, London
"It is very, very funny. We often present comedies, but we seldom do out-and-out farce, and that is exactly what STiFF is - a good, old-fashioned farce. It is not often that you read a script that makes you laugh out loud, but that's what happened with me when I first read STiFF. And it was the same for everyone else who has read it since, cast and crew alike. I have never been involved in a play where there has been so much enthusiasm even before rehearsals have started.”
David Clark, Gorleston Theatre Company, Norfolk, U.K.
“Well the dust has now settled on our production of the wonderful STiFF and it really was a great success. Full houses on both the Friday and the Saturday, even after the full seating was released for sale. The audience loved it and I was particularly proud and pleased with our four "street-girl" singers, who performed We are Family, I will Survive, Hot Stuff & Son of a Preacher Man, under a street lamp, on a stage apron, during scene changes.
The Gorleston Theatre Company made a handsome profit on this show, which augers well for any future productions of your delightful comedies.”
Don McCully, Director, South Canterbury Drama League, Timaru
"Since rehearsals began it has been a laugh a minute preparing for this play which really is a farce." "It is a lot of fun and we have a great choir on the side filling in the gaps."
Valerie Dyson, Rotorua Little Theatre (Rotorua Daily Post)
"We had a sellout season with our last play STiFF..."
Kathy Gilligan, director of Fiordland Players - fundraising production for the Te Anau medical centre
On feedback: "Local policitian to me..."I don't normally do this but I had to ring you to say what a fabulous job you have achieved.. it was a great night's entertainment. we all agreed [tables of 8 or ten were sold] on a job very well done. most impressed. great. congratulations"
"Another woman stopped me saying "what a great night...I haven't laughed as much in a long long time. My ribs just ached. Congratulations."
Adrienne Weatherley, Manawatu Theatre Society
"Our most successful show ever!"
Sally Knight, actress who played Angel Delight, Phoenix Theatre, Auckland
"Just wanted to touch base and thank you for writing such a terrific play - we having such fun rehearsing STiFF and are really looking forward to presenting its Auckland debut!"
Richard Brooks, director, Harlequin Theatre, Masterton
"Stiff was one of the most successful shows we have had at Harlequin and we have had a fantastic response from audiences. Once again - thanks so much for creating it."
Scott Jarrett, director, Theatre Whakatane
"It was a win-win situation all round - audiences loved it and Theatre Whakatane is thrilled with the overwhelming success of its recent production STiFF. Ticket sales to the show were beyond expectations, with more than 1600 seats booked over the week-long season that wrapped up last weekend. Theatre Whakatane president and show director Scott Jarrett said half the seats were sold before the season even started which was an "extremely positive start".
Gwenda Ruegg, Theatre Whakatane
"I can tell you now, never has Whakatane had a season for a dramatic production so well booked a week out from opening."
Merv Beets, director, 16th Avenue Theatre, Tauranga
"Hi April, we have sold out for the season. We put in an extra row every night - they sold out straight away. So we will be doing an extra three nights. Everybody is absolutely buzzing, as it is years since this has happened. When can we expect the sequel!! Cheers, Merv
Lynn Harriman, actress who played Mrs Beaton for CentreStage Taupo
"The show went fantastically well! We were sold out before we even opened the doors, this is a big first for our theatre."
Tom Anderson and Lois Taylor, directors, CentreStage Taupo
"We had a sell out season with a waiting list to get in and this is due to your play April...many remarks were made of your ability to "see" things and then put it all into words. Clever lady! Thank you for STiFF".
"Tom" for The Norfolk Islander magazine
"Stiff luck if you missed out! Knowing that I would enjoy the play for a second time, I booked my seat early in the week and was not at all surprised to hear that tickets for the last night were at a premium and potential patrons were being turned away."
Neil Riddle, director Taihape Drama Group production, 2009
"A quick note to say thank you for writing such a brilliant play. We have just put it on in Taihape, and have been blown away with the response !"
Nicola Robertson, Methven Theatre Company 2009
"STiFF was a sell out and we unfortunately could not put on an extra night to cater for demand! We did squeeze in extra seats to cater for ticket sales from the audience. So thank you so much for writing such a wonderful comedy for us to perform. ...We attracted a lot of new members to our company out of performing STiFF so we appreciate this too. Thank you."
Gary Bowden, director of Takaka Drama Society production 2009
"Certainly the whole town is abuzz with excitement...The interesting news is that the show was so phenomenally successful that we are being persuaded to run a repeat season!... So many of the audience say it is definitely the funniest show they have ever seen, here or anywhere!"
David Coleman, Director, Coolum Theatre, Australia
“Finding a great play, one that makes you laugh out loud when you first read it, can be a challenge… However, after many, many scripts that failed to meet the mark, I had the great fortune to find “STiFF” by Kiwi April Phillips. A great title with suitable amounts of double entendre, an intriguing mix of two of the world’s oldest trades and some lovely characters that have been wonderfully brought to life by my talented cast.”