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 […]

REVIEW: Not in Our Neighbourhood (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 3, 2016
[Brave Faces]  How do you approach an important subject such as domestic violence in a theatrically engaging manner without exploiting it? The most obvious thing would be to present it as truthfully as possible. But there’s a tendency for storytellers to take on causes that aren’t their own and attempt to suggest they know better. For the privileged to impose […]

REVIEW: Twelfth Night (Pop-up Globe)

March 1, 2016
[Drowning in Illyria] It seems appropriate that a play which revolves around two shipwrecked siblings is victim to Auckland’s inconstant elements. While a rain-soaked atmosphere won’t be part of everyone’s Twelfth Night experience, the unpredictability of the weather is an integral part of attending the Pop-up Globe, especially for the exposed groundlings. The actors, despite having to compete with the […]

REVIEW: Henry V (Pop-up Globe)

March 1, 2016
[An Incomplete Herstory] They say history is written by the winners, yet Shakespeare, for all the nationalism evoked in Henry V, is conscious of the moral predicament that his hero (if he can be called that) faces. It’s important, then, where the production stands on the subject. Is this an anti-war narrative, a celebration, a history lesson or something else […]

REVIEW: People Like Us (Auckland Pride Festival)

February 19, 2016
[Same but Different] The heart of Joanna Jayne St John’s homegrown People Like Us is the binary-breaking love story between two trans-women, Bianca (Luke Bird) and Sheena (Ramon Te Wake), who meet at DOT’s Bar, a safe haven for the show’s transgender community. Like any good romance, they both have their own baggage and personal obstacles to overcome before they […]

REVIEW: Heteroperformative (Vibracorp Productions)

February 13, 2016
[Theatrical Realness] In Jennie Livingston’s seminal drag documentary Paris is Burning, performer Venus Xtravaganza exclaims, “I would like to be a spoiled, rich white girl. They get what they want, whenever they want it.” You’d be forgiven for finding the quote vapid or narcissistic, but you’d also be missing the point. For the minority communities in Livingston’s film, a mixture […]

REVIEW: Defending the J.J. MAC (Last Tapes)

February 3, 2016
[Addy in Wonderland] Addy has lost someone close to her, someone she calls her sunshine-maker, and she doesn’t know how to cope, except to withdraw into the safe haven of her imagination. The fantasy world setup is something you’ve probably seen before, from classics such as Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz to Where the Wild Things Are […]
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