REVIEW: Akram Khan’s Giselle (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 2, 2018
[A Masterpiece] The build-up to Akram Khan’s Giselle opening in Auckland has been significant: a visit ten years in planning by Auckland Arts Festival Director Jonathan Bielski; nearly one hundred cast and crew on English National Ballet’s first visit to New Zealand; a significant reinterpretation of a well-loved romantic ballet by a bold, modern choreographer; the debut international performance occurring […]

SCENE BY JAMES: The 2017 Auckland Arts Festival in Review

April 1, 2017
[Giving Auckland Something to Believe in] By the end of Eli Kent’s 3&1/2 hr epic Peer Gynt [recycled], we’ve crashed a wedding, attended a troll kink-party, seen the author give birth to a baby Henrik Ibsen, escaped from a spiritualist retreat, hung out with Milo Yiannopolous, given James Cameron a taste of his Titanic medicine, and confirmed that onions, like […]

REVIEWS: The Bone Feeder & Rice (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 28, 2017
Nathan Joe reports back about two final shows at the recent Auckland Arts Festival, branching out into Opera and Dance: [The Bone Feeder: No Place Like Home] Let’s get one thing out of the way: an opera with a primarily East Asian cast is a big deal. This is doubly the case in light of NZ Opera’s recent production of […]

REVIEW: Horror (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 23, 2017
[Here’s Johnny (and other references)] If you adore the horror genre, then Jakop Ahlbom’s masterpiece is an absolute must-see. As spectacles go Horror is as spectacular as you can get. The show is a true homage to the horror genre and begs for a cult following. The attention to detail is magnificent in both the set design and costume, and […]

REVIEW: The Encounter (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 16, 2017
[Expanding Storytelling] Having the voice of Richard Katz whisper into your right ear is a profoundly intimate encounter you wouldn’t expect from the comfort of your chair situated ten metres from the stage, yet, as Katz demonstrates in his preshow demonstration, technology can take theatre to places we have never experienced before. For one hour and fifty minutes Katz manages […]

REVIEW: The Biggest (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 14, 2017
[Touching Masculinity] Writer and director Jamie McCaskill has a knack for capturing the way real people speak, whether it’s the inhabitants of a woman’s refuge (Not in Our Neighbourhood) or a men’s prison (Manawa). In The Biggest, McCaskill turns his ears to the older Kiwi male. You know the one, the classic bloke, often reduced to a simple stereotype. Set […]

REVIEW: LA SOIRÉE (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 9, 2017
[Join the Party] It is not surprising to learn that LA SOIRÉE scooped up the prestigious Olivier Award for Best Entertainment for their London season. It would be a lie if I said I was expecting amazing things from tonight’s performance, having seen a slew of passable to mediocre cabaret/circus shows in the recent past.  However it’s not often that you get […]

SCENE BY JAMES: The 2016 Auckland Arts Festival in Review

March 25, 2016
If for nothing else, I’ll personally remember the 2016 Auckland Arts Festival for a kiss. It was in Tar Baby, when I found myself playing the role of race relations commissioner and sex object. Already I had been called up to the Spiegeltent stage in a group to help re-enact the history of slavery in the Americas, picking up sugar […]

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: Nixon in China (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 18, 2016
[APO Saves the Day] How wonderful to hear the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) again in flawless form and to see them front stage in this production of Nixon in China. Never before produced in New Zealand, it is always great to experience new-to-Aotearoa works that are presented with such panache and passion. Despite the sometimes unfortunate sightlines of the Auckland […]
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