REVIEW: Faith Healer (Plumb Productions)

April 12, 2021
[Irish Blessing] This production of Faith Healer, directed by Paul Gittins, marries a masterpiece of playwriting with the mastery of three accomplished actors.   I have read enough works from Irish playwrights to associate Irish drama with cloying hopelessness (looking at you Marina Carr in particular). I briefly hoped, though, that Faith Healer by Brian Friel would be an exception. I had […]

REVIEW: You are [Not] Alone Here (Auckland Fringe)

April 7, 2021
[Pulling the Plug] The play begins in the foyer. The Basement bar area has been decorated with messages – I spot a myriad of advertisements among what appear to be snippets of conversations, perhaps emails or texts. This announces the central theme of You Are [Not] Alone Here: that our communication and relationships have become fractured through technology and consumerism.  […]

REVIEW: The Haka Party Incident (Auckland Theatre Company)

April 4, 2021
[The Last New Zealand War] There’s something about watching local history onstage — history so recent that some members of the audience sitting beside you were participants in the events portrayed. Written and directed by Katie Wolfe, The Haka Party Incident is a resonant piece of documentary theatre revisiting what its advertising calls “the last New Zealand war.” This describes the […]

REVIEW: Coded (Auckland Fringe)

April 1, 2021
[A Clear Message of Empowerment] Coded, the second production in two productive years from theatre-maker Erin O’Flaherty (following An Organ of Soft Tissue), is a solo show which aims to journey into female sexuality through the perspective of a malfunctioning AI bot. The production debuts at TAPAC as part of a rescheduled program within the Auckland Fringe Festival, and uses […]

WELLINGTON REVIEW: Strasbourg 1518 (Borderline Arts Ensemble)

March 25, 2021
[Mystery and Frenzy] Partners in life and in work, creatives Lucy Marinkovich and Lucien Johnson as Borderline Arts Ensemble present Strasbourg 1518, their largest major full-length work to date. A tumultuous example of life-imitating-art or vice versa, Strasbourg 1518 is a production that opened in Wellington in March 2020 as Covid-19 infiltrated our shores, closing early due to a pandemic-related […]

REVIEW: Twinless (Basement Theatre)

March 25, 2021
[Joy within Loss] We enter with birdsong; she enters with silence. Twinless performer and creator Clare Marcie breathes out, reaches up, towards something above, something which we cannot hope to see. It’s a slow, weighted, and emotionally distanced opening—hardly a clue for the fun, vulnerable, and varied hour to come, and yet somehow, when viewed from the end of the show, […]

REVIEW: Tropical Love Birds (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 22, 2021
[Birds of a Feather don’t always flock together] Tropical Love Birds, a new offering by theatre-maker Vela Manusaute, promises to “venture into the often-muted world of domestic violence, using the gravitas of humour, sound and threatre-loving-goodness to uplift courage…” As I enter the Māngere Arts Centre, I’m prepared for lots of laughter despite the hard-hitting theme.   As house lights dim, three […]

REVIEW: Strasbourg 1518 (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 21, 2021
[Dance to Live] Combining dance, theatre and storytelling, Strasbourg 1518 is an exhilarating contemporary performance that explores ideas of revolution and the arts within both a historical and contemporary framework. Directed and choreographed by Lucy Marinkovich, with Lucien Johnson as writer and composer, Strasbourg 1518 is based around the dancing plague of 1518 – begun by a lone woman, up […]

REVIEW: The Griegol (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 20, 2021
[Dark Craft] A darkened space; a crash of piano notes; a candle carried wordlessly onstage. A man plans his elderly mother’s funeral as his young daughter stands behind him, uncomprehending. All she has left of her grandmother is a key she cannot fit into any lock, and the stories her grandmother would spin of the Griegol, a shape-shifting demon made […]

SCENE BY JAMES: The Lion King vs the NZ Theatre Industry

March 20, 2021
[Still Working on our Roar] An international production of The Lion King coming to Auckland is a vote of confidence from the world that New Zealand is the ideal place to put on live performance during a global pandemic, but what are the implications for the local theatre sector? As a Musical Theatre obsessed kid in the 90s and early 2000s, […]
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