REVIEW: Les Misérables (Auckland Music Theatre)

November 12, 2019
C’est Magnifique Les Misérables at the Civic is nothing short of spectacular. So often Kiwi audiences flock to touring overseas shows, based on the premise that “it’s come from New York, London or Sydney –  it must be amazing”. Consequently, it’s thrilling and heartening to see Boublil and Schönberg’s Les Misérables done with such flair, panache and extravagance on our […]

REVIEW: Green Day’s American Idiot: The Musical (The Civic)

October 12, 2019
[Still feeling the angst 15 years on] An American musical, an English cast, a Kiwi audience: can the early 2000s hit pop-punk band Green Day deliver a musical that crosses both time and culture? Drawn from the 2004 rock-opera style album American Idiot which responded to American anxiety following 9/11, the public divide over the Iraq war, and the Bush […]

REVIEW: MADIBA the Musical (Bruce Mason Centre)

January 27, 2019
[Long Dance to Freedom] A pretty much full house at the Bruce Mason Centre on the lead up to a long weekend has to be a very good sign.  And it is clear that the decision to open MADIBA the Musical, a celebration of Nelson Mandela, in the heart of Auckland’s South African community is undoubtedly an astute move. Many […]

REVIEW: Aladdin – The Musical (The Civic)

January 12, 2019
[Putting Agrabah on the Map] Whether recognised from its Chinese origin or by Robin Williams’ signature improvisational skills, the story of Aladdin is by no means new to the international literary or dramatic canon. The pauper-to-prince protagonist plot, antagonised by an evil sorcerer, is a staple narrative in not only its multiple adaptations, but also the varying interpretations of the […]

REVIEW: Shortland Street – The Musical (Auckland Theatre Company)

December 1, 2018
[Make No Bones About It] The question of whether the result of Shortland Street the television series can be considered successful need only be measured by one fact: 26 years. But with new mediums come new risks. For every The Lion King and The Producers stage musical adaptation there is a Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and The Fly. Fortunately, Shortland […]

REVIEW: City of 100 Lovers (SkyCity Theatre)

October 21, 2018
[100% Bland] When Phil Goff assumed the mayoralty in 2016, he put the kibosh on a $500,000 branding exercise which had proposed using ‘The Place Desired by Many’ as a slogan for Auckland. An English translation of Tāmaki Makaurau, the phrase was the centrepiece of a rebrand developed by ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) to tell an ‘Auckland […]

REVIEW: Pleasuredome: The Musical

September 30, 2017
[A Long Way From Home] It’s one of the most audacious and head-spinningly ambitious theatrical endeavours ever mounted in New Zealand. Promising to transport us to 1984 and the notoriously hedonistic underground New York clubs (the last hold-outs from the disco era), audiences arrive in Henderson and enter, via a subway station portal, a NYC wonderland. You walk a block-long […]

REVIEW: Matilda the Musical (The Civic)

August 27, 2017
[Children will Listen] Matilda the Musical asserts its ambitions in the opening number, ‘Miracle’. Precocious children at a birthday party, dressed as ballerinas, princesses and superheroes, sing about the positive messages they have internalised from their parents as they make havoc about the stage on an ADHD sugar high: “Ever since the day doc chopped the umbilical cord, it’s been […]

REVIEW: West Side Story (The Civic)

June 25, 2017
[West Side for Life] A whistle. The Jets gang lounge around like the they own the city. A beat. One starts clicking. The others join in. They get together and strut. On the lighter notes their arms and legs slide out for a balletic flourish. They stop in their tracks when members of the Sharks arrive. Whites versus Puerto Ricans […]

REVIEW: Million Dollar Quartet (The Civic)

June 11, 2017
[Rock ‘n’ Roll Avengers] There’s a bit of scuttlebutt as to what happened when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins got together in Memphis at Sun Records on December 4, 1956 for an impromptu jam session (that, after years of legal wrangling, became an album in 1981). Cash is said to have only turned up for the […]
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