Bruce Mason: Our original 'hobbyist' playwright and critic
In the Spotlight

SCENE BY JAMES: If New Zealand theatre criticism sucks, then it’s always sucked.

by James Wenley in Scene by James

[Which is to say, it doesn’t] Yesterday playwright/director/lip sync dynamo and “professional theatre critic” Sam Brooks went full Addison DeWitt against his own profession, dripping venom over the crappy theatre criticism in this country. On The Spinoff he argues: “theatre criticism in this country is fucked… the result: a critical culture muddied by hobbyists, people who aren’t truly passionate about engaging with or discussing the work – so they don’t.” I’d heard this before. Was it on Twitter, where every other week @sbrookbrooks takes down Theatreview and suggests that we email editor John Smythe with our views about the quality of the reviews [...]

REVIEW: Next Big Thing Festival 2016 (Auckland Theatre Company)

July 26, 2016
[Start Strong. Subvert, Go Nuts] Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda Devised with the cast under the direction of Ahi Karunaharan, Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda is the most earnest and self-effacing theatrical portrayal I’ve seen about what it means to be young. Theatrical deconstruction can be ostentatious at best when used by practitioners who are still learning its rules, but Karunaharan never allows his […]

REVIEW: Dexter’s Amazing African Adventure (TAPAC and Blue Baths):

July 20, 2016
[Glued to the Stage] Written by Jess Sayer, one of New Zealand’s grittiest adult playwrights, and Darlene Mohekey, the creative and musical genius The Blue Baths, Dexter’s Amazing African Adventure follows Dexter’s journey (a year after his deep sea discovery) to save the last African Black Horn Rhinoceros. It’s a simple premise with little conflict, but Sayer and Mohekey extrapolate […]

REVIEW: Edges (Rebel Theatre)

July 12, 2016
[Could get closer] There are many edges at which we arrive in our lives; leaving home, losing friends, falling in love, breaking up, and while the gravity of each is justified with respect to the individual life lived, it’s difficult to take anything away from a show written by two 19 year olds when it doesn’t introduce anything new to, […]

SCENE BY JAMES: If New Zealand theatre criticism sucks, then it’s always sucked.

July 12, 2016
[Which is to say, it doesn’t] Yesterday playwright/director/lip sync dynamo and “professional theatre critic” Sam Brooks went full Addison DeWitt against his own profession, dripping venom over the crappy theatre criticism in this country. On The Spinoff he argues: “theatre criticism in this country is fucked… the result: a critical culture muddied by hobbyists, people who aren’t truly passionate about engaging […]

REVIEW: The White Guitar (The Conch)

July 7, 2016
[How many shows you know roll like this?  Not Many] It was great sitting down this evening with a much more representative cross section of New Zealanders in the audience than we often see at the theatre.  The diehard theatregoers that had heard good things about the show were there, alongside the supportive extended Luafutu family and Samoan contingent.  In addition […]

REVIEW: Nederlands Dans Theatre (The Civic)

July 1, 2016
[Towards Perfection] Let’s get one thing out of the way, even as someone who can’t claim to know much about dance, I can confidently say Nederlands Dans Theatre have created some of the best pieces of theatre you’ll see all year. The evening is made up of four distinctly different works of varying lengths (from 15 to 34 minutes): Safe […]

REVIEW: Love N Stuff (Prayas)

June 26, 2016
[Overstuffed] Despite sharing a similarly large cast, Prayas Theatre have done a 180 for their latest show, going from the epic novelistic scale of Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance to the more personal marital comedy of Tanika Gupta’s Love N Stuff. The play charts the tumultuous relationship between middle aged Indian couple Bindi (Sudeepta Vyas) and Mansoor (Mustaq Missouri). When […]

REVIEW: Everything Anyone Ever Wanted (Black Sheep Productions)

June 24, 2016
[Generation Movement] Less than a week after The Spinoff wrote this response to a North & South article on millennials, award-winning choreographic director Natalie Maria Clark presents Everything Anyone Ever Wanted, her fifth show in four years under the collective Black Sheep Productions and one of the strongest pieces of performance, let alone dance, to advocate for Generation Y. Its […]

REVIEW: La Vie Dans Une Marionette (White Face Crew)

June 22, 2016
[Master Showmen] As soon as the  man in white face paint screamed ‘lock ze doors!’, I knew we were in for something interesting. La Vie Dans Une Marionette is a delightful confection of humour and surprising pathos. Making a return visit to The Basement as part of their Matariki season, White Face Dance Crew tell the story of a lonely pianist (Tama Jarman) and the […]

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