Six roles for solo actress

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Queenstown yoga teacher Sandi Murphy will throw serenity out the window to portray six different characters in a hard-hitting play about domestic violence and murder. 

The trained actress has her work cut out in Verbatim – a fundraiser being staged for two nights at The Hills clubhouse near Arrowtown later this month. 

Murphy will play the parts of a murderer, the murderer’s sister, the murderer’s mother, the murderer’s Australian ex-girlfriend, his victim and the murder victim’s husband in a harrowing story gleaned from interviews with more than 30 New Zealand killers and affected families. 

“It’s a bit of a task because although it’s a one-woman show, I also play male characters and have to do various accents, including a Scottish one,” she says. “I don’t have any costume changes either, so it all hinges on my performance.” 

Murphy, who returned to the Wakatipu in 2008 after living overseas for many years, has worked as an actress in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. 

The mother-of-one has also appeared as an extra in hit Hugh Jackman movies such as Australia and Wolverine as well as recently auditioning for upcoming fantasy blockbuster The Hobbit. 

She’s no stranger to Verbatim, devised by Kiwi writers William Brandt and Miranda Harcourt, having already performed it at the world-famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland to rave reviews nine years ago. 

Murphy – on the books of Queenstown-based Exposure Model and Talent agency – decided to resurrect the gritty show at the invitation of local jewellery magnate Michael Hill. 

“I was teaching Michael yoga at The Hills recently and he suggested we put the play on at his place.” 

Funds raised from the Arrowtown performances will go towards the Wakatipu Abuse Prevention Network. 

“There have been a lot of stories in the media recently about the increase of domestic violence in Queenstown and I thought the raw content of the play would be an appropriate way to raise awareness of this problem,” Murphy says. 

Verbatim is on at The Hills on July 23 and 24. Tickets at $45 each – including a drink and pizza – are available now.