Wet but definitely not Wild [by Sharu Delilkan]
Anticipation is the only way to describe the atmosphere on opening night – anticipation for whether cabaret could translate to a big venue like The Civic, without losing the naughtiness and immediacy that’s the essence of cabaret.
The crowd was willing and excited about the sexy and sensual show that the programme promised – but the million dollar question is ‘Did Soap - The Show deliver?’.
Yes and no. Accolades need to go to the comedy aspect of the show, led by Canadian Marie-Andrée Lemaire, as well as the athleticism of hand-balancing performer Alessandro di Sazio.
Big shoes to fill, right on Q [by Sharu Delilkan]
Roimata Fox admits that the prospect of filling actor Miriama McDowell’s shoes, as Marea Reka in Raising the Titanics, was extremely daunting.
“It’s amazing what she does. I’ve been watching her since I was 15 and have always looked up to her,” she says.
The 23-year-old actor has since gotten over those initial jitters and is in her element embodying her new role.
Having grown up in Ruatorea, a small town close to Gisborne, Fox says she has taken a few liberties with her east coast character to make it her own.
“Marea is Ngati Porou to the core and so am I. That’s all I know and that’s all I can draw from because that’s basically who I am.”
In fact when she heard she had the role Fox packed her bags and headed back to Ruatorea to hang out with her aunties on a marae, as part of her research.
Killer Kreation Knocks yer socks off [by Sharu Delilkan]
The ‘Klu Kux Klan’ of Pacifica aka Kila Kokonut Krew have yet again pulled a rabbit out of the hat with another first - The Factory, New Zealand’s first Pacific Island musical.
“What the hell”, I thought. “How can it have taken until 2011 to produce a musical, with the abundance of Pacific Island musical talent in Aotearoa?”
The Factory is not just created by Islanders, it’s a musical about Islanders, that covers the struggles faced by generations of Islanders coming to Niu Sila for “milk, honey and money".
The show is the brainchild of KKK co-founder Vela Manusaute and is inspired by his father’s journey to Aotearoa to work and make a better life for his family.
The factory is the main character, originally providing hope and income for new arrivals to New Zealand but ultimately stripping the workers of their connections to family and their aspirations for a better life.
Tastefully titillating theatre [by Sharu Delilkan]
Leaving home yesterday evening on the way to the city to watch Auckland Theatre Company’s stage production of the infamous Calendar Girls brought its own set of surprises.
I innocently said to my mate who was giving me a ride to the city “I’m going to Calendar Girls today”. To which I got this euphoric response “Woo-hoo – I want to come too.” It took me a split second to realise that she was not talking about Tim Firth’s play but was instead referring to the new establishment on K’Rd which is Auckland’s latest ‘gentlemen’s club’, billed as the city’s first five-star establishment of that genre.
I soon cleared up the miscommunication between chuckles and made my way to The Civic.
Being opening night I was greeted by a sea of familiar faces. Admittedly, having loved the movie of the same name, I was filled with anticipation as I entered the electric-charged theatre.
Labyrinth and 500 Days of Summer? Skip the films, see the plays… [by James Wenley]
When I interviewed Chris Neels on Theatre Scenes for Skin Tight in June he mentioned that he was working on two shows for a double bill at the Basement theatre in August. “Last year the Basement put out a call for proposals and I thought… oh shit, next year I’m going to be an actor and if I’m not performing at the Basement I’m not an actor. That’s what real actors do, they go to the Basement!”
And to the Basement he went, but, as it turned out, not as an actor. According to Chris’ logic, he might not be a ‘real’ actor yet, but he deservedly should call himself a ‘real’ director and playwright.
Elephant Nation’s two plays are a tantalising prospect. First is the Terrific Tale of Tabatha Talmus, billed as a fantasy for fans of ‘Labyrinth’ and ‘The Never Ending story’, its devised by the cast and directed by Neels with collaboration from dance collective Sweaty Heart Productions. Then Chris writes and directs These are the Skeletons of Us, which stars (if I may be so bold) some of the best young actors working in Auckland – Andrew Ford, Colin Garlick, Chelsea McEwan Miller and especially Nic Sampson.
A/S/L? [by James Wenley]
One of the oldest forms of human communication meets one of its newest in I love you bro. And they aren’t much different at all.
Silo Theatre’s current offering launches its 'Second Cousin’ brand where they can “muck around with conventions to create work which is decidedly new and unlike anything you’ll see in our mainbill repertoire”. Rising stars Tim Carlsen (actor) and Sophie Roberts (Director), last paired together for ‘One Day Moko’ at the Basement Theatre, get given the keys to the Silo Theatre and go wild. What they and their creative team make together with Australian Adam J.A. Cass’s play is just as good as any mainbill season, and I think theatre more relevant, more urgent, more today.
Cow, Tigerplay and Disorder. What a threesome! [by James Wenley]
If you haven’t already, rush to see the Young & Hungry Festival, there’s not much time left… there’s a Zombie apocalypse on don’t you know?
Under Auckland Theatre Company’s guidance, the third year of Young & Hungry in Auckland is arguably the strongest yet, containing two Young and Hungry classics – Cow by Jo Randerson (1997) and Tigerplay by the brilliant Gary Henderson (debuting in the first Wellington festival in 1994), finished off with a new play Disorder, a Zombie splatter-fest by Thomas Sainsbury, that has to be seen to be believed.
There’s a different energy at a Young and Hungry show. The young casts and crew radiate a hope, drive and a hunger to perform and put on excellent work. They work under an impressive mentorship team that includes Elizabeth Whiting, Simon Coleman, Brad Gledhill, and the shows are Production Managed by Andrew Munro. It’s a collective energy that puts many professional productions to shame – it’s immediate, exciting, sometimes raw, thrilling and unpredictable. It feeds and satisfies my theatre needs.