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Putting ‘fun’ in fundraiser for Studio 73

Local radio hosts and friends Katie Abbott and Lucy Cooper gave us a glimpse into their homes on Saturday night to raise funds for an extension to Greytown’s Studio 73.

Located on Main Street in Greytown, Studio 73 – which was the former headquarters of the Order of St John and is now home to Greytown Little Theatre – was set up to resemble a lounge.

The audience sat at dining tables while the two entertainers reclined in retro armchairs on the stage, glasses of their favourite tipple on hand.

Greytown Little Theatre president John Gilberthorpe introduced the pair as “the greatest gig in Greytown on a Saturday night”, and Cooper immediately admitted she didn’t have a clue what they were going to do but that “we’ll make it up as we go along”.

As it happened, Abbott had come prepared with a few items from home including a wine glass she could hang around her neck, a mascot doll by the name of Soothie Quatro, and a 1999 trophy awarding her and Cooper the ‘Best Niche Rural Radio Show with up to 50 Listeners’ [their monthly show, ReCooper8, covers the arts on Arrow FM 92.7, Wairarapa’s Access Radio station]. She also came prepared with games for the audience, including one that involved which of three statements was ‘the truth’.

A light supper was provided, including savouries provided by P&K Martinborough, an outstanding local Four Square about to celebrate 150 years of service in the district. The gig was BYO. Abbot bought a bottle of local wine that cost $9, which a winemaker from the region said it was the best she’s ever tried in that price bracket.

Abbott and Cooper were joined by an assistant by the name of Barrel Downhill [with the middle name Roll] and the newly minted Wairarapa band called Coffin Fits. The trio played rockabilly with a nod to the blues. Dave was on bass and offering deep vocals that provided a solid platform. Jay’s wonderful drumming propelled the music forward. And both underpinned Simon’s lead guitar and complementary vocals.

“We’ve been together eight weeks,” Dave told the Times-Age. He’d overheard Simon talking about an idea to set up a band, and so there were two. They advertised for a drummer by putting up notices in supermarkets. “We didn’t think an advertisement in the Times-Age would reach the right market,” Simon confessed.

The trio are a tight musical bunch. Some of the 40-strong crowd got to its feet for a dance [Coffin Fits is available for gigs and would benefit from a slightly bigger space than Studio 73 in which to flourish – call 027 222 6724 to find out more].

Gilberthorpe was grateful to the entertainers and the crowd for showing support for Greytown Little Theatre’s new premises.

“The building requires seismic strengthening and improvements to bring it up to code, including new toilets, kitchenette, and a backstage area for theatre needs. We’re in full fundraising mode,” he said. [Anyone wanting to donate can call Gilberthorpe on 027 458 6126.]

Among other things, a couple of interesting truths about Abbott and Cooper emerged during the evening: Abbot once ran down Courtney Place in Wellington in her underwear to get tickets to a music gig, while Cooper once gave a hula hoop demonstration in a nudist camp.

The audience also learned that Saturday was International ‘You Matter to Me Day’ and that Martinborough is the place to have a heart stopping incident.

“There are five defibrillators within a 10-mile radius,” Cooper revealed.

Cooper’s husband Jez was overheard to marvel, “My wife’s a star,” while Abbot’s mother Margaret observed, “She’s no different than this when she’s at home.”

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