THEY haven’t quite got their deck but they were certainly floored by Te Radar’s performance at the Ormond Community Hall last night.
Between ticket sales for the Kiwi comedian’s show and on-the-night raffles and an auction, the hall committee raised more than a quarter of the estimated $40,000 they will need to build a new deck along the building’s north side.
And their centrepiece — Te Radar’s performance — had guests roaring with laughter at his funny depictions of factual events in New Zealand’s lesser-known history.
An award-winning show, Eating The Dog incorporates stories like the one (after which it is named) about 19th-century surveyor Thomas Brunner who, while exploring the West Coast of the South Island, became so famished he was driven to eating his dog.
Te Radar says he has been enamoured with the story about Douglas Cook, the founder of Gisborne’s famous Eastwoodhill Arboretum, who he believed to be “one of New Zealand’s finest nudists”, but “for various reasons” took that vignette out of the show (too much nudity, perhaps).
There was still plenty more. Like the one about a bunch of South Island prospectors who thought building a rudimentary submarine would give them access to the gold lurking in the bottom of the local river.
Or the one about the murderous West Coast quartet whose testimony against each other proved to be their undoing.
Or the Taranaki Highwayman whose undoing came courtesy of a combination of sheer idiocy and a highly-tuned conscience (“I will not rob a working man!”).
Or Te Radar’s personal favourite about balloonist David Mahoney (alias Captain Charles Lorraine), who really did come undone during one trapeze-swinging/gymnastic-doing/high-flying demonstration.
To illustrate it all there was a series of photographs, maps and images of rare New Zealand artefacts (“behold the handkerchief through which Mr Harold Thompson was shot in the thigh!”).
Te Radar galloped through all of that in a circuitous route that always led back to the same neat conclusion — that New Zealand men (women generally being too smart or too busy for such escapades) sometimes aren’t too smart but they’re great Kiwi blokes and, by golly, they’ll give anything a go.
Though the hall is well used by students at Ormond School, where it is sited, it was the biggest community event seen there for some years, said committee chairman Rob Burke.
The committee did their more than 120 guests proud, decking the historic structure out in draped curtaining, fairy lights and fancy hired furniture, and press-ganging a crew of local kids (plus a Gisborne Herald junior ring-in) to wait tables.
Te Radar did more than his bit, hawking raffles, auctioning donated items, signing autographs and posing for photographs between his two hilarious one-hour sets.
As part of his month-long down-time from filming various television shows (currently screening, Radar Across The Pacific), the comedian had on Wednesday night done a show in Opotiki to raise money for the restoration of New Zealand’s only photoplayer.
Tonight he’s doing a fundraiser for a Hastings scouts group.
He really is a great Kiwi bloke.