• Theatre Reviews

    REVIEW: Faith Healer (Plumb Productions)

    [Irish Blessing] This production of Faith Healer, directed by Paul Gittins, marries a masterpiece of playwriting with the mastery of three accomplished actors.   I have read enough works from Irish playwrights to associate Irish drama [...]
  • Auckland Fringe Festival

    REVIEW: Coded (Auckland Fringe)

    [A Clear Message of Empowerment] Coded, the second production in two productive years from theatre-maker Erin O’Flaherty (following An Organ of Soft Tissue), is a solo show which aims to journey into female sexuality through [...]
In the Spotlight

SCENE BY JAMES: The Lion King vs the NZ Theatre Industry

by James Wenley in Scene by James

[Still Working on our Roar] An international production of The Lion King coming to Auckland is a vote of confidence from the world that New Zealand is the ideal place to put on live performance during a global pandemic, but what are the implications for the local theatre sector? As a Musical Theatre obsessed kid in the 90s and early 2000s, the dream was always to get to see The Lion King onstage. The Disney box office behemoth is credited with saving and cleaning up Broadway when it opened in 1997. Families flocked to the mean streets of Broadway to see [...]

REVIEW: Faith Healer (Plumb Productions)

April 12, 2021
[Irish Blessing] This production of Faith Healer, directed by Paul Gittins, marries a masterpiece of playwriting with the mastery of three accomplished actors.   I have read enough works from Irish playwrights to associate Irish drama with cloying hopelessness (looking at you Marina Carr in particular). I briefly hoped, though, that Faith Healer by Brian Friel would be an exception. I had […]

REVIEW: You are [Not] Alone Here (Auckland Fringe)

April 7, 2021
[Pulling the Plug] The play begins in the foyer. The Basement bar area has been decorated with messages – I spot a myriad of advertisements among what appear to be snippets of conversations, perhaps emails or texts. This announces the central theme of You Are [Not] Alone Here: that our communication and relationships have become fractured through technology and consumerism.  […]

REVIEW: The Haka Party Incident (Auckland Theatre Company)

April 4, 2021
[The Last New Zealand War] There’s something about watching local history onstage — history so recent that some members of the audience sitting beside you were participants in the events portrayed. Written and directed by Katie Wolfe, The Haka Party Incident is a resonant piece of documentary theatre revisiting what its advertising calls “the last New Zealand war.” This describes the […]

REVIEW: Coded (Auckland Fringe)

April 1, 2021
[A Clear Message of Empowerment] Coded, the second production in two productive years from theatre-maker Erin O’Flaherty (following An Organ of Soft Tissue), is a solo show which aims to journey into female sexuality through the perspective of a malfunctioning AI bot. The production debuts at TAPAC as part of a rescheduled program within the Auckland Fringe Festival, and uses […]

WELLINGTON REVIEW: Strasbourg 1518 (Borderline Arts Ensemble)

March 25, 2021
[Mystery and Frenzy] Partners in life and in work, creatives Lucy Marinkovich and Lucien Johnson as Borderline Arts Ensemble present Strasbourg 1518, their largest major full-length work to date. A tumultuous example of life-imitating-art or vice versa, Strasbourg 1518 is a production that opened in Wellington in March 2020 as Covid-19 infiltrated our shores, closing early due to a pandemic-related […]

REVIEW: Twinless (Basement Theatre)

March 25, 2021
[Joy within Loss] We enter with birdsong; she enters with silence. Twinless performer and creator Clare Marcie breathes out, reaches up, towards something above, something which we cannot hope to see. It’s a slow, weighted, and emotionally distanced opening—hardly a clue for the fun, vulnerable, and varied hour to come, and yet somehow, when viewed from the end of the show, […]

REVIEW: Tropical Love Birds (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 22, 2021
[Birds of a Feather don’t always flock together] Tropical Love Birds, a new offering by theatre-maker Vela Manusaute, promises to “venture into the often-muted world of domestic violence, using the gravitas of humour, sound and threatre-loving-goodness to uplift courage…” As I enter the Māngere Arts Centre, I’m prepared for lots of laughter despite the hard-hitting theme.   As house lights dim, three […]

REVIEW: Strasbourg 1518 (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 21, 2021
[Dance to Live] Combining dance, theatre and storytelling, Strasbourg 1518 is an exhilarating contemporary performance that explores ideas of revolution and the arts within both a historical and contemporary framework. Directed and choreographed by Lucy Marinkovich, with Lucien Johnson as writer and composer, Strasbourg 1518 is based around the dancing plague of 1518 – begun by a lone woman, up […]

REVIEW: The Griegol (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 20, 2021
[Dark Craft] A darkened space; a crash of piano notes; a candle carried wordlessly onstage. A man plans his elderly mother’s funeral as his young daughter stands behind him, uncomprehending. All she has left of her grandmother is a key she cannot fit into any lock, and the stories her grandmother would spin of the Griegol, a shape-shifting demon made […]

SCENE BY JAMES: The Lion King vs the NZ Theatre Industry

March 20, 2021
[Still Working on our Roar] An international production of The Lion King coming to Auckland is a vote of confidence from the world that New Zealand is the ideal place to put on live performance during a global pandemic, but what are the implications for the local theatre sector? As a Musical Theatre obsessed kid in the 90s and early 2000s, […]

Subscribe2

For reviews of theatre playing elsewhere in New Zealand, go to Theatreview.org.nz