SCENE BY JAMES: 2017 – A Theatrical Year in Review

December 29, 2017
[Theatre by the Numbers] 150,000 Aucklanders can’t be wrong, right? These are the approximate combined totals of audiences who flocked to the Pop-up Globe and Pleasuredome: The Musical in 2017. Compare that with the record-breaking 130,000 who went to Adele’s Auckland concerts this year. And that’s not even including the Globe’s jump across the Tasman, where their productions are still […]

REVIEW: Atamira (Atamira Dance Company)

December 19, 2017
[Ways of knowing Death] The passing of a beloved is always is painful. From the body’s disintegration to its last breathe, to what lies beyond, for both the dead and those left to mourn it is as unfathomable as it is matter of fact. Sacred ritual provides a means to negotiate this pathway. Atamira Dance Company’s work, Atamira, choreographed by […]

REVIEW: Two Hearts: Auckland World Tour (NZ Music Theatre Company)

December 15, 2017
[Half-Hearted] Following a successful run at this year’s New Zealand Comedy Festival, Laura Daniel and Joseph Moore have brought their hit musical comedy Two Hearts back for another season. Maybe it’s a sign of my accelerating decrepitude, but for about the first half of the show I was not really feeling this one. And it has a lot to do with the […]

REVIEW: Santa Claus (The Basement)

December 14, 2017
[Ho Ho No] Aside from the Auckland Theatre Awards (a.k.a. the Hackmans), The Basement Christmas Show is the theatrical highlight of the holiday season. Each year, the Basement Theatre commissions the hottest theatrical talent to create a holiday hit that not only sees a smorgasbord of Auckland theatre practitioners and celebrities take to the stage, but also operates as an […]

REVIEW: Midnight (APO and The Dust Palace)

December 12, 2017
[Ballet in the Sky] It seemed an unlikely combination when this show was first announced. Dust Palace and the APO? What sort of arranged marriage was this?  Had both companies’ marketing departments recently been on a misguided training course on audience diversification? It initially seemed my fears were confirmed at curtain up. A warm but minimal exchange between conductor and […]

REVIEW: Peter and the Wolf (Silo Theatre)

November 21, 2017
[Kiwi Ingenuity] Silo Theatre have taken a step in a new direction with Peter and the Wolf, throwing aside the tried and tested and really allowing the imaginations of their designers to flourish in this delightful piece of children’s theatre. Peter and the Wolf is a musical fairy tale written by Sergei Prokofiev in 1936, originally intended to teach young […]

REVIEW: Björk: All is Full of Love (The Blackbird Ensemble)

November 10, 2017
[What the Bjork] The latest project from Blackbird Ensemble, Björk: All is Full of Love is a musical tribute that never feels like it. Featuring a revolving line-up of guest vocalists (Jessie Cassin, Anna Coddington, TEEKS and Sarah Belkner), the Ensemble have crafted a self-contained project that re-contextualises Bjork’s music around the underlying theme of the track the project is […]

REVIEW: Red Speedo (Auckland Theatre Company)

November 8, 2017
[Togs, Togs, Drama] Red Speedo is Benjamin Henson’s mainbill directorial debut with Auckland Theatre Company after a series of successful endeavours across New Zealand. Henson as made a name for himself as a director with shows such as AUSA’s As You Like It, Last Tapes Company’s Valerie, and his most recent Auckland work The Effect as part of Q Theatre’s […]

REVIEW: Maggot (The Basement)

November 8, 2017
[Lice Girls] Appropriately named The Scungebags, the clowning trio of Angela Fouhy, Freya Finch, and Elle Wootton have created a wonderfully weird piece of theatre. Framed as a boundary-pushing sketch show created by a British pop trio, The Baby Girls, Maggot is immediately odd and resists easy categorisation. Performing distinct archetypes (deadpan, sexy, enthusiastic) with more than a few shades […]

REVIEW: The Mountaintop (FCC)

November 7, 2017
[The Baton Passes on] I had the pleasure of witnessing FCC’s staged reading of Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop a couple of years back. It was, to put it lightly, a stunner. With limited rehearsals and scripts in hands, the performance managed to create something truly magical, transporting us to Dr. Martin Luther King’s last night on Earth in Room 306 […]
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