REVIEW: Aunty (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 3, 2018
[Cat on a Hot Tinnie Roof] Invited as extended family of Johanna Cosgrove’s titular Aunty, the audience act as guests and onlookers to the party at hand. It’s a recognisably bare celebration, featuring bags of chips, a box cask of wine, bikkies and whipped cream. Though essentially plotless, she weaves bawdy anecdotes and personal observations with a confidence and energy […]

REVIEW: Uther Dean: My Fat/Sad (NZ International Comedy Festival)

April 28, 2018
[2 for 1] A consummate craftsmen, Uther Dean’s writing glows with a self-awareness and wit that is rare in standup. It doesn’t always make for the most obviously funny jokes, but there’s a cleverness that is inarguable. Essentially two shows wrapped in one, Dean opens the first half with Fat and then finishes off with Sad. There’s a neatness to […]

REVIEW: Eamonn Marra: Dignity (NZ International Comedy Festival)

April 28, 2018
[Reaffirm] Eamonn Marra’s Respite was one of my theatrical highlights a few years back, a profoundly resonant hour of personal storytelling informed by depression and anxiety but often diffused with gentle, observational comedy. If the previous show was about his struggle with his mental health, Dignity concerns itself with the question of what happens next. But, while his life and […]

REVIEW: WEiRdO (The Basement)

April 21, 2018
[Minority Report] This is an office space where tokenistic cultural gestures are used to tick boxes. Where the line between appropriation and appreciation is blurred. Where microaggressions lurk around every corner. For some people this will never be a concern; for the rest of us, it’s a reality. WEiRdO, created by Waylon Edwards, William Duignan and Jane Yonge, is a […]

REVIEW: Tea (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 17, 2018
[When the Tea stops Pouring] I’ve followed the work of Ahi Karunaharan closely since The Mourning After, watching him grow and flex his muscles both as a writer and director time and time again. There is an ethos and authenticity to his works; at their finest, they’ve always struck me as being able to open up audiences worldviews without restoring […]

REVIEW: Still Life with Chickens (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 17, 2018
[Fowl Play] Stories don’t get much simpler than this: Mama, a lonely housewife, befriends a stray chicken. That’s it. Simple, yes, but it’s with this understated simplicity that D.F. Mamea’s Still Life with Chickens catches you off-guard. Maybe it’s John Parker’s idyllic backyard set or Goretti Chadwick’s warm and generous performance or Helen Fuller’s puppet chicken (puppeteered by Hannz Fa’avae-Jackson). […]

REVIEW: The Plastic Orgasm (Auckland Fringe)

March 8, 2018
[Radical Failure] The term ‘radical failure’ is used during the centrepiece of The Plastic Orgasm, a paganistic ritual that blows up the show, releasing a primal scream of questions and confusions onto the stage. The act of failure implies an attempt has been made. You can’t fail without trying. You can’t succeed without risking failure. So, to call The Plastic […]

REVIEW: Question Time Blues (Auckland Fringe)

March 8, 2018
[Delahunty’s Lament] We often talk about the personal as the political, but how often do we see the reverse? The political as personal. In Question Time Blues, former Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty takes the stage to vent about her time in and out of parliament. There’s a freshness to her presence, by sheer virtue of her being someone so […]

REVIEW: Wigging Out (Auckland Fringe)

March 2, 2018
[Split Ends] The conceit of two grown men dressed as female frenemies from high school is ripe for exploring, and the pun-filled potential of Ann Xiety (Hamish Russell) and Dee Pression (Tom Sainsbury) speaks for itself. You’d be forgiven for thinking Sainsbury has done a drag show before; his tendency towards camp is a natural fit for the medium. Russell’s […]

REVIEW: Watching Paint Dry (Auckland Fringe)

March 1, 2018
[Fresh Coat] It’s much more fun than it sounds. This might sound like a backhanded compliment, but it isn’t. Watching Paint Dry begins, as one might expect, with performer (and lighting designer) Sean Lynch slowly and deliberately painting a wall (opening night’s colour was ‘Adrenaline Orange’). But, with this simple premise, writer and director Anders Falstie-Jensen introduces a fair few […]
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