Q opens in triumph, Fringe overshadows Festival, Outfit Rise, Rugby, Rugby, Rugby, and the Death of the Theatre. [by James Wenley]
Attending the recent Hackman Theatre awards, Auckland Theatre circa 2011 would appear to be in rude health. Rude being the word, hosts Nic Sampson and Joseph Moore proudly observing it was a record year of nudity on stage, from the very brave Mr. Sam Seddon in The Only Child to the Dame bosoms of the Calendar Girls. It was certainly year that didn’t leave much to the imagination, containing everything from dildos to knitted phalluses, bath tubs to swimming pools.
The Hackmans were a big communal pat on the back for the industry, a brash and bold celebration of a huge year in theatre. As Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Robyn Malcom closed the awards night performing in a Thomas Sainsbury play that he had written under duress that very night, there was a sense that anything and everything was possible.
As a critic moving from Craccum to my own Theatre Scenes blog this year, I’ve welcomed the end-of-year theatre break. Throughout the year, I could often be heard to exclaim: ‘Auckland Theatre: There is too much of you!’. It’s been exhausting going to opening to opening night after night. And immensely rewarding. While containing some duds for sure, my impression of the year is one of great strength and eclectic activity. There was no shortage of things to write about at least. There was always something on. Between fellow blogger Sharu Delilkan and me, we reviewed or previewed 96 different shows, and even that barely scratched the surface.
Slick, sick and sexy [by James Wenley]
Amy Waller, Claire Van Beek and Julia Hyde are a talented and triumphant trifecta. Starring as the Cheer Blacks in their play Death by Cheerleader, they deliver a 10/10 performance not only showcases some great acting and comedic flair, but some high energy and impressive cheerleading routines, restricted only by the height of the Basement.
When the preshow music has Rihanna’s ‘Rude Boy’ rocking loudly through the Basement, you know you are in for a good time.
The second of the ‘Rugby’ orientated plays on at The Basement this week (we at TheatreScenes promise to stop mentioning the Rugby soon!), Death by Cheerleader follows a dysfunctional cheerleading team who win the chance to cheer for the All Blacks in the 2015 Rugby World Cup in Dubai (nicely sidestepping any need for reality) after the mysterious death of the other three place getting cheer teams.
Amy Waller, a real life cheerleader for Sky City and NZ Breakers, must have had great fun skewering her sport. These cheerleaders are sick, twisted, deluded and very, very good looking – a dangerous combination. If anything, the play proves that the IRB should stay well away from cheerleading, and people should stay away from cheerleaders in general.