Dead Bird: Reflections on The Seagull (A New Version by Auckland Theatre Company)

June 10, 2020
During the Covid-19 lockdown, Auckland Theatre Company launched a four episode adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull created within the constraints of social distancing at the time. Using the now widely used Zoom app as its mode of production, it was also set within the world of Zoom too, placing its characters squarely within the circumstances of our global pandemic. […]

REVIEW: Black Lover (Auckland Theatre Company)

March 16, 2020
[A Kiwi Hero in Zimbabwe] When Sir Garfield Todd denounced racial injustice in 1950s Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), he was fiercely hated by supporters of white minority rule. Among the pejoratives they called him was “black lover”. Stanley Makuwe’s Black Lover is an illuminating glimpse into an overlooked chapter of history: a remarkable chapter which saw the Invercargill-born Todd become Prime Minister of […]

SCENE BY JAMES: 2019 – A Theatrical Year in Review

December 30, 2019
[What could we do with sustainable practice?] The challenges of making a living out of the performing and screen arts are well known to the industry, but there is something about seeing the facts in black and white that throws the problem into stark relief. I’m talking about research commissioned by Creative New Zealand and NZ on Air released in […]

REVIEW: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Auckland Theatre Company)

September 17, 2019
[Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Funny] A chime is heard and backstage is onstage. The curtain has revealed an actors’ waiting room. Three plywood walls, a roll of green screen, a ladder leading nowhere, and a healthy scattering of exit signs, ominously glowing without their promised exits. Scaffolding is visible and there is a lighting bar lying across the back […]

REVIEW: Six Degrees of Separation (Auckland Theatre Company)

August 21, 2019
[Connect the Dots] John Guare’s 1990 play Six Degrees of Separation has helped to popularise the concept that we are all ultimately connected to one another.  The work also discusses how we often yearn to be connected to both famous and infamous individuals as a measure of the rich pageant of our lives. This critically acclaimed play has garnered numerous […]

REVIEW: A Fine Balance (Auckland Theatre Company)

June 21, 2019
[A Fine Partnership] A Fine Balance is a wonderful collaboration between the Auckland Theatre Company and Prayas Theatre that successfully stages diverse stories and bodies that are not heard or seen often enough on Auckland’s mainstages. With Q Rangatira configured as theatre in the round, with seating banks on four sides, the performance begins with a woman bent low, sweeping […]

REVIEW: The Audience (Auckland Theatre Company)

May 21, 2019
[God Save the Queen] Speaking to our fascination with what happens behind closed doors with one of the world’s most public figures, The Audience imagines and recreates Queen Elizabeth II’s weekly twenty-minute meetings with her Prime Ministers.  Written by Peter Morgan and directed by Colin McColl, The Audience spans a timeframe of over six decades, beginning with the Queen’s meetings […]

REVIEW: The Gangster’s Paradise (ATC Here & Now Festival)

April 29, 2019
[A New Turf] A bass beat plays and a rap song booms through the ASB Waterfront Theatre. Young actors dressed in school uniform rip up the stage with a hip hop number, battling it out in a Stomp the Yard set. Half of the students wear red bandanas and the other half wear blue bandanas with coloured shirts under their […]

REVIEW: 8 Reasonable Demands (ATC Here & Now Festival)

April 27, 2019
A sobering look at the underbelly of Auckland’s queer community In 8 Reasonable Demands, playwright Joni Nelson asks the audience to consider the extent to which we take fundamental living standards for granted. At the ASB Waterfront Theatre, six characters find their lives upended by a life-changing decision to hold the government to ransom using leverage acquired by the use […]

REVIEW: Watch Party (ATC Here & Now Festival)

April 27, 2019
[It is Watch Party my dudes] I hold the ATC ‘youth’ shows in high regard, attending in the past primarily to take a sneak-peek at the hot new talent rising within the ranks of the Auckland theatre scene. I also have a soft spot for devised theatre and the inclusive platform this type of theatre making can offer to a […]
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