CHRISTCHURCH ARTS FESTIVAL: Six Picks

July 23, 2019
The Christchurch Arts Festival opens this week. Critic Nathan Joe selects his six must-see events that offer vastly distinct flavours and genres.  When you first look at the programme for the Christchurch Arts Festival you might be struck by the lack of international acts. What seems like a glaring omission, upon closer inspection, is an acknowledgement of Ōtautahi’s fiercely creative […]

REVIEW: The Space Between (Auckland Fringe)

February 27, 2019
[Getting Closer] What is connection? It’s one of the many questions stuck to the black curtains of the central playing space of the Town Hall Supper Room, and a provocation in the devising process of The Space Between, a multi-space, multi-disciplinary theatrical installation presented by Cherie Moore and Sheena Irving in the 2019 Auckland Fringe Festival. Connection is one of […]

Six Degrees of Gender Separation: The Problems with Auckland Theatre Company’s 2018-2019 Programme

October 29, 2018
[Where are the Women at the Waterfront?] During the uproar over the Pop-up Globe’s decision to use an all-male cast while invoking #MeToo in their promotion, Auckland Theatre Company did a Facebook post “Celebrating the amazing women of our 2017-2018 season!” ATC name checked their lead actors – “phenomenal matriarchs of the stage” – Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Alison Bruce and Jennifer […]

REVIEW: Strength & Grace (Royal New Zealand Ballet)

August 21, 2018
[Suffrage Embodied] Royal New Zealand Ballet Artistic Director Patricia Barker commissioned four new ballets in recognition of the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, coinciding with the company’s 65th year. Strength & Grace brings together one local and three international choreographers, comprising a balance of contemporary and classical vocabularies who view the season’s provocation through different lenses. Unusually, […]

REVIEW: Here & Now 2018: Tender, You First & Alice (Auckland Theatre Company)

April 21, 2018
[All-Stars] Is the original Shrek (2001) film the ideal model of romance for our times? That’s the theory espoused by Murdoch Keane in Tender, the first of three plays in ATC’s Here & Now Festival playing until Monday. Shrek doesn’t go out looking for love. As an Ogre, it’s not something he ever thought he’d find, never thought he’d be […]

REVIEW: Rēka (AUĒ Dance Collective)

October 27, 2017
[Totems and Taboos] Rēka grew from the short work AUĒ that won the Risk Taker Award at Short + Sweet Dance 2017. The original was reviewed as being restricted by the ten-minute time limit, and suggesting a longer work to come. True to the original, Rēka aims to be controversial and elicit a response from its audience; programme notes describe […]

REVIEW: Alexander Sparrow – DJ Trump and De Sade (Garnet Station)

June 25, 2017
After first encountering character actor Alexander Sparrow do his Trump impersonation on very same night that Trump won the 2016 election, Tim George went to Garnet station to check out two of Sparrow’s latest shows: DJ Trump and De Sade. [Christ Trump] I’ve always wanted to be roasted by a comedian. I never thought it would be by Donald Trump. Reprising […]

SCENE BY JAMES: The Battle for Shakespeare, or, is the Pop-up Globe as you like it?

April 30, 2017
[Pop-up Globe 2017 Season] At Auckland’s Pop-up Globe, Shakespeare is enjoying a 400-year-old career resurgence. Shattering any lingering perceptions that Shakespeare might be elitist or alienating, this year 80,000 people have paid paying anywhere from $1 to stand as a ‘groundling’ in the yard, to $299 for a royal room at the side of the stage. The atmosphere in the […]

REVIEW: Don Juan (A Slightly Isolated Dog)

November 1, 2016
[Juan Direction] The false illusion of immersive theatre is that the audience co-authors the play with the theatremakers. That without the audience the play would not be the same. But the reality is most interactive theatre experiences are as pre-determined and scripted as any conventional ones. Any sense of freedom or choice is mostly manufactured, never rising beyond a clever […]

SCENE BY JAMES: 2015 – A Theatrical Year in Review

December 21, 2015
Half Full / Half Empty [by James Wenley] So Auckland, how did we do this year? Were our generously marked up interval drinks full to the brim, or running on empty? If you’d asked me this question at the beginning of September, say between shows at Auckland Live’s decadent Cabaret season, I would have responded gloomily. Programming choices were tepid, and […]
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