• Musicals

    REVIEW: Aladdin – The Musical (The Civic)

    [Putting Agrabah on the Map] Whether recognised from its Chinese origin or by Robin Williams’ signature improvisational skills, the story of Aladdin is by no means new to the international literary or dramatic canon. The [...]
  • Scene by James

    SCENE BY JAMES: 2018 – A Theatrical Year in Review

    [Representation Matters] Silo Theatre’s production of Mr Burns presented a vision of theatrical futures. In the play by American writer Anne Washburn, survivors of an electricity-ending event band together to form a travelling theatre troupe [...]
  • Theatre Reviews

    REVIEW: Work Do (Basement Theatre)

    [Merry XXXmas] December, 1997. Princess Diana is dead. The Spice Girls are four months away from going Geri-less. The employees of travel agency Go Away gather for their end-of-year party, unaware that the proverbial is [...]
In the Spotlight

SCENE BY JAMES: 2018 – A Theatrical Year in Review

by James Wenley in Scene by James

[Representation Matters] Silo Theatre’s production of Mr Burns presented a vision of theatrical futures. In the play by American writer Anne Washburn, survivors of an electricity-ending event band together to form a travelling theatre troupe specialising in the recreation of classic The Simpsons episodes. I begin with Mr Burns here because, while it presents a bleak image for our planet, it is hopeful about the endurance of theatre. The third act of the play is a marvel: the action skips forward 75 years and we are presented with a play-within-a-play that returns to the roots of Greek drama by way [...]

REVIEW: Aladdin – The Musical (The Civic)

January 12, 2019
[Putting Agrabah on the Map] Whether recognised from its Chinese origin or by Robin Williams’ signature improvisational skills, the story of Aladdin is by no means new to the international literary or dramatic canon. The pauper-to-prince protagonist plot, antagonised by an evil sorcerer, is a staple narrative in not only its multiple adaptations, but also the varying interpretations of the […]

CHRISTCHURCH REVIEW: Jesus Christ Superstar (The Court Theatre)

January 10, 2019
[Punk Rock Pastoral] Nathan Joe reports in from Christchurch on The Court Theatre’s summer musical. The Court Theatre’s annual musical is a long-held tradition and highlight of the Christchurch theatre scene; one that I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing multiple times in the past few years. Following their flawlessly faithful rendition of Chicago and the appropriately frothy Legally Blonde, New […]

SCENE BY JAMES: 2018 – A Theatrical Year in Review

December 31, 2018
[Representation Matters] Silo Theatre’s production of Mr Burns presented a vision of theatrical futures. In the play by American writer Anne Washburn, survivors of an electricity-ending event band together to form a travelling theatre troupe specialising in the recreation of classic The Simpsons episodes. I begin with Mr Burns here because, while it presents a bleak image for our planet, […]

REVIEW: Work Do (Basement Theatre)

December 3, 2018
[Merry XXXmas] December, 1997. Princess Diana is dead. The Spice Girls are four months away from going Geri-less. The employees of travel agency Go Away gather for their end-of-year party, unaware that the proverbial is about to hit the fan: the company’s finances are a mess, and boss Linda (Jodie Rimmer) is going to have to close it down. With […]

REVIEW: My Name is Rachel Corrie (Shape Shift and Embers Collective)

December 3, 2018
[Looking Inward for Outward Action] “My name is Rachel Corrie”, states the energetic, impassioned, idealistic, empathetic, effervescent and blisteringly awake woman on Garnet Station’s Tiny Theatre stage. Character and actor alike are bright stars who collide to ensure we will not forget Rachel. Phoebe Borwick is a tour de force as the solo performer in the title role of Shape […]

REVIEW: Shortland Street – The Musical (Auckland Theatre Company)

December 1, 2018
[Make No Bones About It] The question of whether the result of Shortland Street the television series can be considered successful need only be measured by one fact: 26 years. But with new mediums come new risks. For every The Lion King and The Producers stage musical adaptation there is a Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and The Fly. Fortunately, Shortland […]

REVIEW: Here Lies Love (Silo Theatre)

November 30, 2018
[All that Glitters is not Gold] If you’re after a fun and entertaining end-of-year night out, Silo Theatre’s production of Here Lies Love is perfect. It is based on David Byrne and Fatboy Slim’s concept album Here Lies Love, about the life of the former First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos. The performances from the five divas – Villette Dasha, Colleen Davis, […]

REVIEW: Movers (Basement Theatre)

November 25, 2018
[Sentimental Packaging] When aspiring Samoan comedian Tai (Sepelini Mua’au) gets a job at a local moving company, he has to juggle the generational and racial divide between himself and the two older white men who run the business, Oscar (Lloyd Scott) and Bruce (John Landreth). If Oscar is relatively unassuming and harmless, Bruce embodies a more casual racism, often masquerading […]

REVIEW: Jacinda (The Actors’ Program)

November 20, 2018
[Angels in Aotearoa] Programming a grad show for any acting program is tricky business, balancing the needs of roles required and finding a suitable showcase, all while crafting a satisfying narrative. In choosing to commission a brand new work by Auckland playwright Sam Brooks, rounding off a knockout year in collaboration with director Sam Snedden (Twenty Eight Millimetres and Burn […]

REVIEW: Monster Mash (Dynamotion)

November 19, 2018
[It’s a Mash] Co-created by Lara Liew and Tom Sainsbury, Dynamotion’s forte is taking b-movie genres and turning them into quasi-musicals with actors doing performing choreography. It’s a great idea, and they have mined it for a series of fun parodies, taking in everything from old-school exploitation horror movies, 60s Bondmania and Terminator 2. Dynamotion’s latest finds them tackling classic […]

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