REVIEW: Little Child of Miracle (The Basement)

March 31, 2016
[A thing made-with-joy] There are certain creatures in our theatre scene that operate under long periods of dormancy. You know the types – they tiptoe in and out of other people’s processes, keeping themselves on a low simmer. You know they are there – designing shows, writing the odd monologue, sometimes co-directing, part of the indelible infrastructure of our sprawling […]

REVIEW: Miss Jean Batten (Flaxworks)

March 30, 2016
[Solo Flight] “Flying is the easy part,” Jean Batten tells us with a smirk and a quirk of a brow. She struggles with the judgement and disapproval of men, who fear a woman will do what they never have: cross the Tasman from England to New Zealand, in her tiny plane, and break the world record.  Convention and propriety are […]

SCENE BY JAMES: The 2016 Auckland Arts Festival in Review

March 25, 2016
If for nothing else, I’ll personally remember the 2016 Auckland Arts Festival for a kiss. It was in Tar Baby, when I found myself playing the role of race relations commissioner and sex object. Already I had been called up to the Spiegeltent stage in a group to help re-enact the history of slavery in the Americas, picking up sugar […]

REVIEW: Girl You Want (The Basement)

March 25, 2016
[Emotional Highs and Lows] A one-woman show augmented by a combination of back-projection and eclectic soundtrack choices, Girl You Want is the theatre equivalent of speed-dating as writer-performer Tessa Mitchell takes the audience through her experiences growing up in the 80s. For a show with so many components, Mitchell and her collaborators deserve a lot of credit for how tight […]

REVIEW: The Glitta Supernova Experience (The Basement)

March 23, 2016
[All that Glittas is definitely not Gold] “WTF was that?” was the simultaneous reaction from my theatre buddy and I as soon as the lights came on. As someone who’s seen a heap of burlesque cabaret theatre over the years I can tell you that I’m no prude in any shape or form. However Glitta Supernova strutting her ‘stuff’ on […]

REVIEW: The Chorus; Oedipus (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 20, 2016
[Beauty and Terror] It’s nearly impossible to watch Oedipus without already knowing what happens. Even those who haven’t read it know how it goes, its mythology so ingrained in our pop culture, though it’s usually remembered for its outcome and ending more than for its actual plot. Less a story of incest, this is the story of a King who […]

REVIEW: Nixon in China (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 18, 2016
[APO Saves the Day] How wonderful to hear the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) again in flawless form and to see them front stage in this production of Nixon in China. Never before produced in New Zealand, it is always great to experience new-to-Aotearoa works that are presented with such panache and passion. Despite the sometimes unfortunate sightlines of the Auckland […]

REVIEW: Big Mouth (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 18, 2016
[The Best Words] Peter O’Toole once said that it is an actor’s job “to make the words flesh”. Bringing words to life requires both a studious and innate understanding of not only what they mean, but also what they can represent. Performed and directed by Valentijn Dhaenens, Big Mouth addresses addresses through history, and, in doing so within a prescribed […]

REVIEW: Titus (Pop-up Globe)

March 15, 2016
[Bad Taste] Originally staged as a Unitec graduate show with an all-male cast in 2012, and subsequently revived at Q Theatre in 2013, Titus returns for a third time at the Pop-up Globe. While I can’t speak for the quality of the previous seasons, I can safely say that you won’t see a more accessible version of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus […]

REVIEW: Te Po (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 12, 2016
[Being and Nothingness] There’s something exciting about a play that starts off behind a curtain. Not only is it delightfully old-fashioned, but it also fills the audience with anticipation of what’s to come. Expectations are raised and you can bet we’re expecting to be wowed. So when the curtain is finally pulled back and we see Bruce Mason’s study, I’m […]
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