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 […]

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: Rendered (Auckland Theatre Company)

September 26, 2018
[Trapped in a World of Opposites] The great 13th century Persian and Muslim poet Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī said: ‘Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing, there is a field. I will meet you there’. While there is some dispute about the accuracy of these translated words, the sentiment nevertheless expresses the Sufi desire to transcend binaries, to move […]

REVIEW: Filthy Business (Auckland Theatre Company)

August 28, 2018
[Business Smarts Required] It’s East London, 1968, and against all the odds, Jewish entrepreneur and matriarch, Yetta Solomon (Jennifer Ludlam) has built a thriving rubber business. A lavish set vivifies the business’s premises and shop – its worn bricks and mortar seemingly impregnated with the East End’s spirit of elbow grease and hustle, while offcuts of rubber and derivative belts, cushions, […]

REVIEW: The Cherry Orchard (Auckland Theatre Company)

June 16, 2018
[Mana Whenua] Chekhov’s final play finds itself uprooted from both its Russian origins and its familiar place within the Western theatrical canon in ATC’s latest production of The Cherry Orchard. It has been replanted, by several strokes of genius, in 1970’s Aotearoa – a New Zealand experiencing the death of the old new world, and the birth of a recogniseable […]

REVIEW: Mrs Warren’s Profession (Auckland Theatre Company)

May 10, 2018
[Working Title] Mrs Warren’s Profession was way ahead of his time – written by George Bernard Shaw in 1893, it was initially banned for the stage, and didn’t debut until nine years later. In Auckland Theatre Company’s production, a stellar cast (headlined by Jennifer Ward-Lealand) and talented creatives (led by Director Eleanor Bishop, known for deconstructing classic dramatic texts) promised […]

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: 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: Under the Mountain (Auckland Theatre Company)

February 11, 2018
[Mountain-eerie] Written by Maurice Gee in 1979, the story of Under the Mountain takes many of back to our childhood bookworm days, our imaginations set ablaze by children’s adventure stories such as The Famous Five, Where the Wild Things Are, The Adventures of Tintin, and Swallows and Amazons. The plot is a truly Kiwi story,  inspired by the land and […]

SCENE BY JAMES: 2017 – A Theatrical Year in Review

December 29, 2017
[Theatre by the Numbers] 150,000 Aucklanders can’t be wrong, right? These are the approximate combined totals of audiences who flocked to the Pop-up Globe and Pleasuredome: The Musical in 2017. Compare that with the record-breaking 130,000 who went to Adele’s Auckland concerts this year. And that’s not even including the Globe’s jump across the Tasman, where their productions are still […]
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