REVIEW: Camping: Parker and Sainsbury (NZ International Comedy Festival)

April 25, 2016
[Fantastic Foursome] Set in a holiday home where two couples double-book for a honeymoon and an anniversary, the drawing room comedy becomes the primary target for parody in Chris Parker and Thomas Sainsbury’s Camping. It’s like a raunchier version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf with the serious drama cut out. Even the characters feel like grotesque Kiwi versions of […]

REVIEW: Moon Baby: Hamish Parkinson (NZ International Comedy Festival)

April 25, 2016
[Awkward Absurdity] Before we begin, as the pre-show announcement by Ricky Gervais is played, Hamish Parkinson seizes the opportunity to apply comedy in the most unexpected ways. It’s a perfect example of his willingness to push boundaries and conventions that makes his shows unpredictable and exciting to watch. Moon Baby is arguably a natural progression from Parkinson’s previous one-man comedy […]

REVIEW: WHITE/OTHER (The Basement)

April 14, 2016
[White Noise] “I feel most coloured when I am thrown against a sharp white background” —Zora Neale Hurston While never explicitly quoted in the show, this statement seems to inform the entire world of WHITE/OTHER. From the text to the set design to performer Alice Canton’s very own biracial identity, whiteness is everywhere. And Alice’s otherness—specifically, her Chinese half—becomes the […]

REVIEW: You Can Always Hand Them Back (Auckland Theatre Company)

April 6, 2016
[Generation Gap] The experience of watching a play clearly not designed for you can be an alienating experience. You Can Always Hand Them Back is unapologetic in this regard, directly addressing the intended audience right from the get go: “Are any of you grandparents? Of course you are or you wouldn’t be here!” And yet, here I am: gay, Chinese […]

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: 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 […]

REVIEW: Waves (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 10, 2016
[Lady in the Water] Inspired by her own love of swimming, and developed from an earlier short story, Alice Mary Cooper’s Waves is a piece of historical fiction that disguises itself as a true story. In fact, the presentation of the story was told so earnestly I didn’t realise the full extent of what was made up until I read […]

REVIEW: Tar Baby (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 5, 2016
[Invisible Woman] What does it mean to be the other? To be otherised is to be made invisible. To not only be unseen, but also to only be seen for what people think you are. You exist, simply, as blackness or a vessel. A void to be filled with contradictory stereotypes and assumptions. To be pigeonholed, tokenised or, worse, erased. […]

REVIEW: Marama (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 4, 2016
[In Praise of Shadows] In his famous essay on aesthetics, In Praise of Shadows, Japanese author Junichiro Tanizaki questions the traditional Western ideal of preferring the beauty of light over darkness, stating that the former can’t exist without the latter: “The quality that we call beauty, however, must always grow from the realities of life, and our ancestors, forced to […]
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