REVIEW: Cradle Song (Te Rēhia Theatre)

September 12, 2018
[The Woman in White] Albert Belz’s Cradle Song adheres closely to the tried and true tropes of the horror genre: vengeful spirits, religion, a creepy setting, stranded youngsters making bad decisions. While offering little subversion for any diehard horror aficionados, there is great pleasure in watching a difficult genre handled expertly on stage. This is not the first time Belz […]

REVIEW: Hir (Silo Theatre)

August 7, 2018
[Transitory Spaces] When prodigal son Isaac (Arlo Green) returns from Afghanistan to find his family home turned upside down, he’s rightfully shocked. Having spent his last three years in the Marines’ Mortuary Affairs division, and dishonourably discharged, it’s no surprise he longs for something familiar and recognisable. Mommy Paige (Rima Te Wiata) has done away with all the rituals and […]

REVIEW: 等凳 – The Chairs – Cantonese Season (Te Pou) [Two Reviews]

August 3, 2018
[Ashes of Time] by Nathan Joe Te Pou’s language-spanning season of The Chairs ends with an exemplary Cantonese version of the play. The prescriptiveness of Eugene Ionesco’s text is respectfully toyed with, recontextualising the space for a traditional Chinese context. Those with even only the slightest understanding of the culture will find resonances in abundance. The basic scenario stays true […]

REVIEW: Near Death Experience (The Basement)

August 1, 2018
[Tunnel Vision] Not all art needs to be healing or socially responsive, and there’s virtue in expressing the pure truth of a feeling or situation. Natalie Medlock’s Near Death Experience attempts to show the depressed mind on the brink of chaos, not as a story of recovery but simply as a fact. And, at its most incisive, this is as […]

REVIEW: Run Rabbit (The Basement)

July 26, 2018
[Fight or Flight] The one-woman show has become a prominent staple of The Basement’s repertoire over the last few years. While offering individual theatremakers the space and opportunity to develop deeply personal and politically-charged works, audiences have been regularly gifted the chance to witness our most talented artists create highly responsive work in a volatile political climate. What surprises (but […]

REVIEW: Te Waka Huia (The Basement)

July 6, 2018
[History Lesion] Excavating history for the purposes of storytelling is a tricky business; a balancing act between telling the truth while being respectful to the real people. The 1963 Brynderwyn bus accident is a particularly sensitive subject, being both from our shores and the not-so-distant past. Playwright (and supporting actor) Naomi Bartley cleverly sidesteps direct commentary on the accident by […]

REVIEW: Yorick! (Binge Culture)

June 19, 2018
[Dance of Death] Neither an overly-intellectual deconstruction of Hamlet (a la Heiner Muller’s Hamletmachine) or an alternative take on the play (a la Thomas Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead), Binge Culture’s Yorick! merely uses Shakespeare’s canonical text as a launching pad for their whimsical and absurd exploration of mortality. And mortality, being the wide-reaching topic it is, is a […]

REVIEW: Pool (No Water) (The Basement)

May 24, 2018
[Unreliable Narrators] A successful artist invites her less accomplished and bitter “friends” for a reunion, resulting in a terrible accident involving the titular pool. Her newly comatose body then becomes the subject and object of the group’s newfound success. The result is a searing examination of exploitation and jealousy in the art world. British playwright Mark Ravenhill, most famous for […]

REVIEW: Matt Okine: The Hat Game (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 23, 2018
[A Fine Balance] With his laid-back presence and intelligent humour, Matt Okine’s latest show is a highly watchable evening of stand-up. With just the right brand of Australian colloquialism, Okine’s manner translates well to our Kiwi stages without unnecessary pandering. In between the jokes Okine masterfully weaves something like a rags to riches story into the tapestry of his material. […]

REVIEW: Brynley Stent & Rhiannon McCall: “Why Does This Feel So Good?” (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 17, 2018
[Bad Education] Playing exaggerated versions of themselves, Brynley Stent and Rhiannon McCall use high school sexual education as the subject of their comedy show. Treating us as a high school students, the evening is structured simply but effectively (Puberty, Sex, Birth, Sexuality and Gender Equality), though often derailing itself with comedic asides and character drama to great effect. While the […]
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