SCENE BY JAMES: 2015 – A Theatrical Year in Review

December 21, 2015
Half Full / Half Empty [by James Wenley] So Auckland, how did we do this year? Were our generously marked up interval drinks full to the brim, or running on empty? If you’d asked me this question at the beginning of September, say between shows at Auckland Live’s decadent Cabaret season, I would have responded gloomily. Programming choices were tepid, and […]

REVIEW: I, Peaseblossom (British Council)

December 9, 2015
Ready! [by James Wenley] When I teach A Midsummer Night’s Dream to first year uni students I test their knowledge of the play in a quiz where, divided into four teams (Lovers, Nobles, Fairies, Mechanicals), they compete to win a block of Cadbury Dream chocolate (of course). When I ask them to name a fairy other than Puck, Oberon, and Titania, […]

REVIEW: Ithaca (The Dust Palace)

December 2, 2015
Against the Aristotelian odds [by Matt Baker] Less of a re-imagining or reinterpretation of Homer’s The Odyssey, and more of a performance piece inspired by the source material, Ithaca by Thomas Sainsbury and The Dust Palace is a true spectacle in the dramatic sense of the word. With a monopoly on home-grown cirque theatre, it would be easy for the company to […]

REVIEW: Jesus Christ Part II: The Basement’s Christmas Show

December 2, 2015
What will Jesus Do? [by Matt Baker] Director Oliver Driver’s programme quote may be a great pun, but it also makes perfect sense. Based on an original concept by Driver, choreographer Lara Fischel-Chisholm, script coordinator and lyricist Thomas Sainsbury, performer Gareth Williams, and Elise Sterbeck, Gabrielle Vincent, and Sam Snedden of the Basement Theatre staff, Jesus Christ Part II, like Jesus […]

NEWS: Auckland Theatre Awards 2015

November 20, 2015
Not long until the Auckland Theatre Awards, held at the Civic’s Wintergarden on Monday 7th December. Who will win most original production? Best ensemble? Best pash? You can nominate winners for these categories and more for the 2015 People’s Choice Awards. Get voting. Pro-tip: Before voting scroll through Theatre Scenes to remind yourself about all the productions this year. This year’s […]

REVIEW: Tiny Deaths (Smoke Labour Productions & My Accomplice)

November 19, 2015
Monologist Pleasures and Displeasures [by Matt Baker] In its modern usage from the literal French translation, la petite mort, “the tiny death” articulates the transcendent moment during the loss or weakening of consciousness associated with an orgasm. It is a euphoric state; love and life reflected in a moment of fragility so near to our inevitable last. While not all of […]

REVIEW: Love and Information (The Actors’ Program)

November 19, 2015
As fleeting as your Newsfeed [by James Wenley] This year research came out claiming that our attention spans were now shorter than a goldfish’s. Whereas in 2000 we could hold a thought for 12 seconds, now it is down to 8. Why do I mention this? Oh yes – Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information may well be a vision for theatre’s […]

REVIEW: 2063 (Unitec)

November 16, 2015
Present Future-gazing [by James Wenley] There seems to be a bit of a future-casting trend in recent New Zealand drama. In Shepherd (2015) Gary Henderson painted a disturbing sci-fi vision of a Fiordland farm feeding a hungry world. In Aroha White’s 2080 (2014), New Zealand’s population had exploded by resettling economic refugees in the South Island, and Pacific refugees from climate […]

REVIEW: Twisted (Dionysos)

November 12, 2015
A Whole New Story [by James Wenley] I’ve always liked Jafar. His sleek robes, his slimy voice, his talking pet parrot. This might be part of the reason that it wasn’t the VHS of Aladdin, but its direct-to-video sequel Return of Jafar, that was played to destruction in childhood.  Jafar is a straight up badass, one of Disney’s greatest villains. In […]

REVIEW: Northern Glow (Working Class Productions)

November 11, 2015
Kitchen Sink Birthday Party [by Matt Baker] If you’ve been to Basement Theatre recently, you may have noticed a few changes around the studio door. A car back seat, a toilet, and some graffiti are just a few of the components to set designer Tim Booth’s* refurbishing for Northern Glow, a mini three-act one-woman show that introduces us to the members […]
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