• Infectious
    Auckland Fringe Festival

    REVIEW: Infectious (Auckland Fringe)

    [Worth Catching] A man (played by Daryl Wrightson) has unprotected sex with a work colleague. Unbeknownst to him, he has contracted four STDS: Gonorrhea (Zak Enayat), Syphilis (Rebekah Head), Chlamydia (Ash Ogden) and HIV (Tyler [...]
  • Credit: Meg Cumberpatch
    Auckland Fringe Festival

    REVIEW: Spirit House (Auckland Fringe)

    [Ghost in the Shell] Frequent collaborators Carl Bland and Ben Crowder join forces once again, co-directing Bland’s latest play Spirit House. Not unlike their previous work Te Pō, a mystery drives the narrative. But, where [...]
  • Credit: Andi Crown Photography
    Auckland Fringe Festival

    REVIEW: Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again (Silo)

    [Revolutionize the Discourse (Don’t Review)] Virginia Frankovich’s directorial debut for Silo Theatre explodes across the Basement Theatre stage with an astute understanding of the complexity of Alice Birch’s text. Last year Silo proved that they [...]
  • Breaking Boundaries
    Theatre Reviews

    REVIEW: Loud & Queer (Auckland Pride)

    [Queer Rock] Loud & Queer is unapologetic agitprop. It feels like a blast of cold water that rails against the ways in which queer experience and identities have been homogenised  and commercialised for the masses. A mix of [...]
Woke up Kitty
In the Spotlight

SCENE BY JAMES: Yellowface and The Mikado: Time for NZ Opera to Woke Up

by James Wenley in Scene by James

[Let the Production Fit the Time] The clichéd criticism of Opera is that it is a form stuck in the past. I believe that in one major and urgent respect, Opera does indeed need to be dragged into the 21st Century. It is becoming increasingly clear that our own NZ Opera has a race problem. In their 2016 Auckland Arts Festival production of Nixon in China, Simon O’Neill played Chairman Mao, a casting decision excused because it was a concert version, and well, you cast the best tenor for the part, despite the incongruity of a white actor playing the Chinese leader. While the [...]

REVIEW: Infectious (Auckland Fringe)

February 25, 2017
[Worth Catching] A man (played by Daryl Wrightson) has unprotected sex with a work colleague. Unbeknownst to him, he has contracted four STDS: Gonorrhea (Zak Enayat), Syphilis (Rebekah Head), Chlamydia (Ash Ogden) and HIV (Tyler Warwick). These STDs are portrayed as a quartet of horny teens on a camping trip. Before they can get comfortable in their new environment, a […]

REVIEW: “Ze”: Queer As Fuck! (Auckland Pride/Fringe)

February 23, 2017
[Cumming of Age] Queer revolution is the name of the game in “Ze”: Queer as Fuck!, a deeply personal one-person show that explores the vast depths of identity politics. It’s a show deliberately designed to appeal to those who identify with an anti-assimilation, non-conformist attitude. But, more than simply agitprop, everything is backed up by personal anecdotes and experience. Beginning […]

REVIEW: Spirit House (Auckland Fringe)

February 22, 2017
[Ghost in the Shell] Frequent collaborators Carl Bland and Ben Crowder join forces once again, co-directing Bland’s latest play Spirit House. Not unlike their previous work Te Pō, a mystery drives the narrative. But, where in that play the stakes and plot hinged on the metatheatrical, Spirit House centers on the metaphysical. Two men, situated in the same art studio […]

REVIEW: Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again (Silo)

February 22, 2017
[Revolutionize the Discourse (Don’t Review)] Virginia Frankovich’s directorial debut for Silo Theatre explodes across the Basement Theatre stage with an astute understanding of the complexity of Alice Birch’s text. Last year Silo proved that they are not a company to pander to the mainstream sensibilities and once again they present us with a piece of self-dubbed feminist theatre that attempts […]

REVIEW: Loud & Queer (Auckland Pride)

February 16, 2017
[Queer Rock] Loud & Queer is unapologetic agitprop. It feels like a blast of cold water that rails against the ways in which queer experience and identities have been homogenised  and commercialised for the masses. A mix of comedy, skits and poetry, the show is messy, angry and comes out punching. Last year, I reviewed The Hook-Up Boys, a pretty funny show about […]

REVIEW: Impostar (Auckland Pride)

February 15, 2017
[Over the Rainbow and Around the Bend] A show for anyone who grew up watching Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music till the VHS tapes wore out, Impostar: Who does he think he is? is a funny, heart-warming showcase for the extremely talented singer-impressionist Jason Chasland. A mix of cabaret and autobiographical monologue, Impostar is a blast from start […]

SCENE BY JAMES: Yellowface and The Mikado: Time for NZ Opera to Woke Up

February 10, 2017
[Let the Production Fit the Time] The clichéd criticism of Opera is that it is a form stuck in the past. I believe that in one major and urgent respect, Opera does indeed need to be dragged into the 21st Century. It is becoming increasingly clear that our own NZ Opera has a race problem. In their 2016 Auckland Arts Festival […]

REVIEW: deVINE (The Basement)

February 9, 2017
[Twisted Sisters] The Ancient Greeks understood the disastrous ripple effect that our ancestors have on us, psychic trauma running through every branch of the family tree. And while the age of Ancient Greek Tragedy is over, the family drama continues to reign as a theatre staple for a good reason. It’s just like that Philip Larkin’s famous poem goes: “They […]

REVIEW: Onstage Dating (The Basement)

February 8, 2017
[Portrait of the Critic as a Hapless Moron] Intro laying out key thesis/funny opening line. Tease of show tone, etc. Insert joke if too pretentious. Plot summary/lay out basic setup/name major players/crew etc.  Review show. Conclusion — good/bad. I’ve always felt that the key to a good review is to get out of the way AND tell the people what […]

SCENE BY JAMES: 2016 – A Theatrical Year in Review

December 30, 2016
[Engaging with our Worlds] The meme that gained exponential currency as 2016 trudged along was that 2016 was a terrible year. Aleppo, terror, celebrity deaths, Brexit, Harambe, and the coming of Trump – what started as a joke seems to have become a genuine expression of the globe having entirely written off this fucked up year. Yes, this contemporary perception is all […]

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