Classic Kiwi play Joyful and Triumphant followed the Bishop family over four decades, from 1949 to 1989. Written by Robert Lord, it charted changes in New Zealand society by focusing on the minutae of Christmas Day family dynamics. The play was first performed to sellout audiences in 1992, a month after Lord died. It won multiple Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards. Directed by Peter Sharp (The Fire-Raiser), this TV adaptation features Robyn Malcolm and Goodbye Pork Pie's Tony Barry — plus Catherine Downes and Bruce Phillips, who both appeared in the original production.
It's all here: life, love, greed, need, self-sacrifice, pyjamas, placemats and patience, 40 years of New Zealand society in an eggshell, fragile but whole, from the first beer to the last cup of tea.– Denis Welch, reviewing the original play for The Listener, February 1992
Avalon NFU Studios