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 […]

REVIEW: Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical (The Civic)

October 20, 2016
[And so you’re back… from overseas] When the Priscilla bus last made a stop at the Civic in 2008, it was the first time that the Aussie musical had made an international trip. We were a try-out as they continued to evolve the show, and Aucklanders certainly showed their love with a rush for tickets. Since then, the Queen of the […]

REVIEW: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (NZ Opera)

September 18, 2016
[Fleet Street Clean Sweep] While he has never stayed in one place for all that long, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, first seen in 1979, has continued to set up his establishment in production after production world-wide. Written by Hugh Wheeler with music and lyrics by the incomparable Stephen Sondheim, it has attracted headliners like Angela Lansbury, Kelsey […]

REVIEW: The Phantom of the Opera (The Civic)

February 12, 2016
[Far too many notes for my taste] I should declare my Phandom up-front: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece – yes, masterpiece – is a long-standing favourite. The moment Rob Guest’s mask was ripped from his face to reveal the Phantom’s awful disfigurement is a childhood memory burned into my mind. Amici’s pro-amateur production is the third version of the show I’ve […]