Shakespeare as you like it?
In the Spotlight

SCENE BY JAMES: The Battle for Shakespeare, or, is the Pop-up Globe as you like it?

by James Wenley in Scene by James

[Pop-up Globe 2017 Season] At Auckland’s Pop-up Globe, Shakespeare is enjoying a 400-year-old career resurgence. Shattering any lingering perceptions that Shakespeare might be elitist or alienating, this year 80,000 people have paid paying anywhere from $1 to stand as a ‘groundling’ in the yard, to $299 for a royal room at the side of the stage. The atmosphere in the Pop-up Globe is like a mini-Vector arena concert. Social media is full of #popupselfies. Students are begging their teachers to be taken on class trips. It’s a theatrical phenomenon; but is it the bard or the building? While the Shakespeare [...]

REVIEW: Nigel (Sapphire Theatre Co)

May 26, 2017
[90s Nostalgia] TV script writer Kate McDermott’s 90’s slapstick play Nigel is brought to life at the Pumphouse Theatre by ex Shortland Street star Blair Strang in his directorial debut. Transported back to the booming 90s we follow Nigel, a young man whose attempts for a romantic evening at home don’t go to the plan. Ben Van Lier portrays dorky […]

REVIEW: Three by Ekman (Royal New Zealand Ballet)

May 25, 2017
[Three’s a Charm] Three by Ekman is bold programming from the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and an indication of the importance of bringing international works of significance to our national ballet company. A prolific powerhouse in the dance world, Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman’s work is both popular and accessible. First up, Tuplet; a work for six dancers introducing the audience […]

REVIEW: Ashton Brown: Anxious to Meet You (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 22, 2017
[Cracking Up] Over the last couple of years, I have seen Ashton Brown perform twice as part of double bills. I can safely say that this is the best I’ve ever seen him. A combination of self-flaggelating autobiography and stand up, Anxious to meet you sees Brown tackle his biggest, most complex subject: himself. Over the course of an hour he […]

REVIEW: Chris Martin: Ol Smarty Pants (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 16, 2017
[Chris Martin:  Warmplay] A nice touch having Chris Martin on stage as we arrive – chatting to people and generally being chilled and unpretentious. And a nice show too – about nice things like getting married and waterparks as well as nice parts of New Zealand.  Likewise the audience was nice – polite, not too drunk, attentive and suitable ‘laughy’. […]

REVIEW: Amadeus (Auckland Theatre Company)

May 15, 2017
[Mozart Lives] Peter Shaffer’s award-winning play Amadeus is not new to either stage or screen, having first been performed in 1979 and later adapted into a film in 1984. Don’t expect a period drama in Auckland Theatre Company’s production; Director Oliver Driver gives the play a new life, adding a modern contemporary twist when resurrecting Mozart’s music. It’s essentially a […]

REVIEW: Jimmy McGhie: Apologia (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 12, 2017
[Owns it] Comedy fest favourite Jimmy McGhie returns to Kiwi shores after winning the hearts of New Zealand last year with his British charm. With his impeccable storytelling, and quick witty banter, it is no wonder he is regarded as one of the UK’s most exciting acts to hit the comedy circuit. The cockney geezer transports us back to the […]

REVIEW: Hal Cruttenden: Straight Outta Cruttenden (NZ International Festival)

May 11, 2017
[Credible] For someone billed as “A right royal king of the UK Pro circuit” we’ve got to be honest: we expected more. Yes the show was perfectly acceptable and Hal Cruttenden kept the crowd laughing through his articulate language skills, but it wasn’t anything special and definitely not memorable. I suppose for someone who is a seasoned comedian, who has been on “Live […]

REVIEW: James Nokise: Talk a Big Game (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 11, 2017
[What We Talk About When We Talk About Sport] James Nokise opens the show by telling us that this year he won’t be focussing his comedy on politics, and instead he’s decided to turn his attention towards New Zealand sports. It’s a simple and straightforward premise that Nokise beautifully subverts. Beginning with a brief explanation of why he’s made this […]

REVIEW: Aunty Donna: Big Boys (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 11, 2017
[May Contain Traces of Nuts] While I wouldn’t classify myself as one of Aunty Donna’s most devoted fans, having only discovered them recently, it’s easy to see why the Australian comedy sketch troupe has charmed audiences with their often surreal sense of humour and skewering of social norms. Primarily known through their Youtube channel, I was worried that their on-screen […]

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