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: 1984 (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 13, 2018
[1984, Today] The world is having a 1984 moment. The world has always been having a 1984 moment. When Robert Icke and Duncan MacMillan’s stage adaptation premiered in Nottingham in 2013, the backdrop was all about big data and surveillance anxieties. Edward Snowden’s revelations around NSA spying had many turning to George Orwell’s 1984 for literary parallels. Big Brother was […]

REVIEW: The Piano: The Ballet (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 10, 2018
[Colonised Form] Choreographic and design duo Jirí and Otto Bubeníček originally staged The Piano: The Ballet in Germany, 2014, as part of a triple bill. In its latest incarnation for the Royal New Zealand Ballet it has been reworked into a full-length narrative ballet, closely following Jane Campion’s award-winning film. The set design is a real strength for this production, […]

REVIEW: OrphEus – a dance opera (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 10, 2018
[Look Back in Splendour] OrphEus – a dance opera (Orpheus, Eurydice and Us) is a large and ambitious project for The New Zealand Dance Company, conceived, created and directed by Michael Parmenter. The extensive programme notes and the work itself both indicate the academic depth of research and inspiration that have culminated in this large-scale production. Parmenter draws together past, […]

REVIEW: Bless the Child (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 10, 2018
[It Couldn’t Happen Here] The work of Tawata Productions is notable for showcasing topical issues. The kōrero of Bless the Child is no different. This dark, albiet vital work reveals the world that we’re part of, where our tamariki are not always protected by their whānau. Written by the acclaimed Māori writer Hone Kouka, Bless the Child shines a spotlight on this […]

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 […]
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