Back on the radar [by Sharu Delilkan]
Most people know Te Radar as an award winning satirist, documentary maker, writer, failed gardener, and amateur historian.
And more recently he’s been in our living rooms starring in TVNZ’s Radar’s Patch, Off the Radar, and Homegrown.
But you’d be forgiven if you didn’t think of him as a stage director, especially since he’s been off the theatre radar for a good seven years. The revered Kiwi comedian’s last live theatre gig was directing Those Indian Guys in Indian Invaders at the 2004 International Comedy Festival.
Radar admits he knew he had to direct Mike & Virgina as soon as he saw the read through at Auckland Theatre Company’s Read Raw series.
Mike & Virginia is a unabashed romp of a play about love and who you think you shouldn’t fall in love with, that subverts every romcom convention in the book to create a bitingly funny and surprisingly tender Kiwi love story.
...and his John Farnham man-crush. [by James Wenley]
You could say Gareth Williams is a bit of a John Farnham fan. So much so, that he made the Aussie rock icon, famous for hits such as You’re the Voice and Pressure Down, a major character in his solo comedy show Faux Real. Or rather, a voice who enters the world of Gareth’s character’s dreams, and wants to make him the next big thing in pop rock music. Together with a pet desk lamp (yes, a pet desk lamp) our hero travels with Johnny Farnham to Ayers Rock, home of all pop rock.
Since graduating Toi Whakaari Drama School, and then later moving to Auckland, Gareth has enjoyed what many actors envy – a sustained and varied career. He’s had roles in The Lonesome Buckwhips, The Dentist’s Chair, Apollo 13, and last year I interviewed Gareth for Craccum Magazine as he prepared to take on the dual roles of the Balladeer and Lee Harvey Oswald in Silo’s Assassins.
For Faux Real, together with director Dan Musgrove, he has created a role and show tailor made for himself. It debuted at the Basement Theatre last year, and now with STAMP at The Edge’s support is back, bigger and better, as part of the 2011 International Comedy Festival.
Mumuland mesmerises Mangere [by Sharu Delilkan]
It was an evening of firsts for me. From experiencing a performance at the Mangere Arts Centre theatre for the first time, to seeing a Pacific Island flavoured musical extravaganza led by Goretti Chadwick, making her directorial debut.
Another first was also the collaboration between Auckland Theatre Company and the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts.
A clever twist on a traditional favourite, Little Red Riding Hood, the show is snappy and delivers in exuberant Polynesian style – all the elements of a great family show.
Watching the kids responding around me was a joy. They were enraptured and entranced from the very first Munchkin-like, helium-induced introduction into a fantasy world.
The key to enjoying the show is to go with an open mind and to allow yourself to be a kid again – something we don’t do enough of in our ‘adult’ lives.
The real triumph of the show is a credit to the entire cast, deft directorial touches and joyously inspired musical arrangements by musical director Tama Waipara in collaboration with the PIPA students.
These Kiwis can Fly! [by James Wenley]
Flightless Birds - clever name. It’s a new play from Catalyst Theatre Company that follows three mates (and a female intruder) on the night before they are all meant to fly off to Europe for their big OE.
Ah, the OE. The quintessential rite of passage for all self-respecting New Zealanders. As Simon (Colin Garlick) observes, fellow kiwis think there is something wrong with you if you haven’t at some point in your twenties hopped on a plane and gone off to see the world. But as Director Jonathan Hodge notes in the program, “Why should you go away just to learn about you are?”.
Playwright Sam Berkley, who himself is about to embark on his OE, has a written a play about the hopes, fears and realities of flying away that is snortingly funny, but is also a play that is as close to the bone about ‘my generation’ and the NZ experience that I have seen in a long time. Roger Hall can sometimes be a dirty word in NZ theatre (tall poppy?), but this play struck me as an edgy Roger Hall for 2011, and I mean that in the best possible way.
Blokes behaving badly [by Sharu Delilkan]
If you’re looking to see a show with balls Boys’ Life is definitely it.
The play follows the drunken, nihilistic excesses of three American youths through their quest to embrace responsibility, seek partnership and come to a realisation of their place in the world.
Boys’ Life reminds the audience of their journey from adolescent confused flirtation to ultimate attempts to dignify a life.
It’s about the relationship of three urban guys who essentially refuse to grow up.
The Outfit Theatre Company production, based on Howard Korder’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play, portrays the sexual politics and attitudes of 1980s America.
Why Vodka? [by James Wenley]
Vodka, according to the pinnacle of human thought – Wikipedia - is “one of the world's most popular liquors. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made from fermented substances like grain.” Ho-Hum. According to the Did I believe it? Team, Vodka is drunk by alcoholics, was the original name of the Beatles, and Americans have invented a bacon flavoured version of Vodka. Yum Yum.
Silo Theatre have taken over the classy downtown bar 1885 Britomart for their first production of 2011 Did I Believe it? created by director Oliver Driver, writer Jodie Molloy and company. The premise is that for the last 42 years (the show is sponsored by 42 Below Vodka, don’t-you-know?) Did I Believe it? has been New Zealand’s top rating science edutainment show, or any sort of show for that matter. Each week they present all you could want to know on a particular topic… this week it is ‘Vodka’, and presented for the first time in front of a live studio audience. That’s us.
Theatre on the Ferry? [by James Wenley]
What unconventional theatre spaces would you like to see some theatre happening in? That’s the question I asked readers for Theatre Scenes ‘Did I believe it?’ ticket giveaway. Silo Theatre are heading to the Bar for their latest work, but where else might we stage theatre? I got a range of different responses, here are my favourites:
David: “Would really love to see theatre performed in the Bus Stations along the Northern Bus Way, nice sheltered areas that are not used much at all in the evening.”
@StratReality: “Unconventional theatre - on the Waiheke ferry (sufficient time to kill, crowd can't leave, seating & variety of entries/exits)”
Lisa: “I would like to see theatre performed along the banks of a river with the audience in a boat OR to expand on that idea, in the Waitomo Glow Worm caves. That would be experiential theatre!”
Lots of great creative ideas. The winner though, for the most thought out idea… even giving us a potential play, is Lizzie:
“Having just got back from a ramble up there today, I'd be pretty keen to see (or stage) The Tempest up on the hill at North Head in Devonport- the cliffy bit by the flagpole just underneath the cannons. There are two holes that disappear into the cliff-face, to the cavern inside, and some pretty funky rock ledges for stage space”
Congratulations Lizzie, you and a friend will be heading to Did I believe it?!
Lizzie added in her email: “As an Auckland newcomer I'm assuming you're a kind man and won't jump
on in there with a council funding pitch before I get a chance to...” . So no-one get any ideas!