REVIEW: Tide Waits for No Man (Auckland Fringe)

February 22, 2019
[Treading the Imprints of Cultural Traditions] As the light slowly fades up to the sound of ocean waves breaking, a line of Chinese calligraphy is revealed stretching across the scrim that forms the backdrop to the stage. The bleeding line of ink might represent a jagged mountain range, but perhaps also a fracture or rip in the identity of the […]

REVIEW: I am Rachel Chu (Auckland Fringe)

February 21, 2019
[Will the real Rachel Chu please stand up?] Co-created and performed by Nathan Joe, Amanda Grace Leo, Ravi Lloyd Gurunathan and Angela Zhang, I am Rachel Chu is a parody, critical response, and humorous ‘rewrite’ of the story of Rachel Chu — the heroine from the Hollywood blockbuster and bestselling novel Crazy Rich Asians. Described as an attempt ‘to liberate […]

SCENE BY JAMES: 2018 – A Theatrical Year in Review

December 31, 2018
[Representation Matters] Silo Theatre’s production of Mr Burns presented a vision of theatrical futures. In the play by American writer Anne Washburn, survivors of an electricity-ending event band together to form a travelling theatre troupe specialising in the recreation of classic The Simpsons episodes. I begin with Mr Burns here because, while it presents a bleak image for our planet, […]

REVIEW: Work Do (Basement Theatre)

December 3, 2018
[Merry XXXmas] December, 1997. Princess Diana is dead. The Spice Girls are four months away from going Geri-less. The employees of travel agency Go Away gather for their end-of-year party, unaware that the proverbial is about to hit the fan: the company’s finances are a mess, and boss Linda (Jodie Rimmer) is going to have to close it down. With […]

REVIEW: Jacinda (The Actors’ Program)

November 20, 2018
[Angels in Aotearoa] Programming a grad show for any acting program is tricky business, balancing the needs of roles required and finding a suitable showcase, all while crafting a satisfying narrative. In choosing to commission a brand new work by Auckland playwright Sam Brooks, rounding off a knockout year in collaboration with director Sam Snedden (Twenty Eight Millimetres and Burn […]

REVIEW: Bad Mood (Basement Theatre)

November 8, 2018
[Collage of Womanhood] As artist in residence for the Basement this year, Bad Mood is Tallulah Holly-Massey’s third and final work following Mammoth and Tender is the Night.  I had watched Mammoth earlier during the year, and was excited to see how Holly-Massey’s final work would play out.  Performed by four distinguished dancers — Kelly Nash, Nancy Wijohn, Zahra Killeen-Chance […]

REVIEW: Such Stuff as Dreams (Basement Theatre)

November 8, 2018
[Half asleep] Presented by Dusty Room Productions, Such Stuff as Dreams, by Camilla Walker, advertises itself as a love story between Claire, a “wanderlusting waitress”, and Alfie, a busker with schizophrenia, played by Catherine Yates and Tyler Wilson Kokiri respectively. Mental health is a common theme in New Zealand theatre, and such theatrical representations require not only a deft hand, but […]

REVIEW: Violent Bloom (Basement Theatre)

October 31, 2018
[Reaching Across the Divides of Time] I walk into the familiar environs of Basement Theatre’s larger space feeling particularly absent-minded, and am pleasantly ushered through a series of recurring paper streamers into a black-box space designed to transport us to a new world while leaving all cares of ours at the door. The set (designed by Christine Urquhart and constructed […]

REVIEW: A Lost Cause (Basement Theatre)

October 27, 2018
[Women on the Verge of  a Nervous Breakdown] Despite a ‘Decade of Disruption’ being The Basement’s motto for this year, it’s the prominence of mental health issues that seems most notable in their programming. With works such as Near Death Experience, Breathe and Paper Planes being just the tip of the iceberg. Loren Black’s A Lost Cause may be the […]

REVIEW: Paper Planes (Basement Theatre)

October 6, 2018
[A dog, a moon and a Belarusian walk into a bar…] Late one night, Fran (Holly Hudson) lies awake in bed while her neighbours party the night away. Unable to sleep, her insomnia is exacerbated by her canine companion Dog (a superlative performance by puppeteer Tamara Gussy), who insists on playing while her Belarusian landlady, Mrs Withers (another puppet performed […]
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