• Theatre Reviews

    REVIEW: The Vultures (Tawata Productions)

    [A Carrion Call For Honour] Sibling relationships always provide great live theatre and playwright-director Mīria George’s insightful play The Vultures dredges up all the reasons why some relatives form factions and others follow their own [...]
  • Theatre Reviews

    REVIEW: Finding Temeraire (The Basement)

    [A Ghost Story] Written and directed by Stanley Makuwe, Finding Temeraire is an extremely dark and disturbing look at the debris of a relationship, but its most incisive critique is left unsaid. The play is [...]
  • Theatre Reviews

    REVIEW: Pleasuredome: The Musical

    [A Long Way From Home] It’s one of the most audacious and head-spinningly ambitious theatrical endeavours ever mounted in New Zealand. Promising to transport us to 1984 and the notoriously hedonistic underground New York clubs [...]
  • Theatre Reviews

    REVIEW: Soft Tissue (The Basement)

    [Madonna/Whore] Wrapped in cloth gauze, a modified hijab of virginal white, Ella Gilbert plummets around the stage in bold and often uncomfortable movements. Imagine an alien shapeshifter forced to become a woman on Planet Earth, [...]
In the Spotlight

REVIEW: Matilda the Musical (The Civic)

by James Wenley in Musicals

[Children will Listen] Matilda the Musical asserts its ambitions in the opening number, ‘Miracle’. Precocious children at a birthday party, dressed as ballerinas, princesses and superheroes, sing about the positive messages they have internalised from their parents as they make havoc about the stage on an ADHD sugar high: “Ever since the day doc chopped the umbilical cord, it’s been clear there’s no peer for a miracle like me!” Then it’s the parents turn to dote on their miracles: “He got a C on his report! What?! We’ll have to change his school. That teacher’s clearly falling short”. Every child [...]

REVIEW: The Vultures (Tawata Productions)

October 20, 2017
[A Carrion Call For Honour] Sibling relationships always provide great live theatre and playwright-director Mīria George’s insightful play The Vultures dredges up all the reasons why some relatives form factions and others follow their own path. The premise of the show, picking over the bones of a recently deceased estate, is familiar to many and the issues that are revealed […]

REVIEW: Finding Temeraire (The Basement)

October 18, 2017
[A Ghost Story] Written and directed by Stanley Makuwe, Finding Temeraire is an extremely dark and disturbing look at the debris of a relationship, but its most incisive critique is left unsaid. The play is a two-hander about Primrose (Sandra Zvenyika), who returns home after a long prison sentence for killing her child, intent on confronting the man, Temeraire (Tawanda […]

REVIEW: Everything is Surrounded by Water and A Public Airing of Personal Grievances (My Accomplice)

October 13, 2017
[Everything is Surrounded by Storytelling] This week Uther Dean performs two of his solo shows at The Basement.  Written by Uther Dean and Hannah Banks, and performed and directed by the former and latter respectively, Everything is Surrounded by Water is a journey of quarter-life crisis soul-searching. Fortunately, Dean has an acute awareness of and philosophical regard to the content of his […]

REVIEW: Pleasuredome: The Musical

September 30, 2017
[A Long Way From Home] It’s one of the most audacious and head-spinningly ambitious theatrical endeavours ever mounted in New Zealand. Promising to transport us to 1984 and the notoriously hedonistic underground New York clubs (the last hold-outs from the disco era), audiences arrive in Henderson and enter, via a subway station portal, a NYC wonderland. You walk a block-long […]

REVIEW: Soft Tissue (The Basement)

September 27, 2017
[Madonna/Whore] Wrapped in cloth gauze, a modified hijab of virginal white, Ella Gilbert plummets around the stage in bold and often uncomfortable movements. Imagine an alien shapeshifter forced to become a woman on Planet Earth, to operate under the complex and contradictory behaviours of femaleness. That’s what Gilbert embodies here. A body horror of female sex at war with itself; […]

REVIEW: Velvet (Auckland Live International Cabaret Season)

September 25, 2017
[Everybody Dance!] This show is awesome, this show is great, this show made me want dance like a loon. So much of my love for this show boils down to two things. The first is the totally awesome soundtrack, jam-packed with disco classics, from Chic’s ‘Le Freak’ to Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ and The Tramps’ ‘Disco Inferno’. The second […]

REVIEW: Super-HUGH-Man (Auckland Live International Cabaret Festival)

September 21, 2017
[Nothing Compares to Hugh] One of the more unique offerings at this year’s Cabaret festival, Rutene Spooner’s one-man extravaganza Super-HUGH-Man is a winning if somewhat scattershot look at music, theatre, machismo and pop culture, all refracted through his adoration for Hugh Jackman. Amid the song, dance and comic book in-jokes, Spooner talks of his love for Jackman and his cinematic […]

REVIEW: Starman (Auckland Live International Cabaret Season)

September 15, 2017
[The Stars Look Very Different Today] We begin with a voice-over with some out-of-this-world numbers: the number of people that have lived in all of human history is the same number of stars that there are in our universe. There’s a planet out there for each of us. Here’s something else amazing. What were the odds, out of all of […]

REVIEW: Aunty (The Basement)

September 13, 2017
[Fun Appetiser] Aunty, a solo show by Johanna Cosgrove, feels more like a party than a show. It is the foundation of its success, and a symptom of a fundamental flaw. But first, the good stuff. At the centre of the festivities is Aunty, an obnoxious, self-absorbed but loving woman, who has managed to pull her entire extended family (the […]

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