Big Ups [by Matt Baker]
Developing third year solo pieces is becoming an increasingly viable option for recent drama school graduates. Such is the case with Toi Whakaari grads Phoebe Hurst and Emma Fenton’s double bill show Big Mouths, but where others have stretched their content into an hour-long full-length production or a feature film script, Hurst and Fenton have kept to their 20-minute circumscription.
Kicking off with Kung Faux: Call of The Siren, Hurst bursts onto stage in an instantly recognisable and programme-referenced Beastie Boys ‘Sabotage’ homage. As Mike Fordstaff, Hurst is an amalgamation of Ron Swanson, Ron Burgundy, and Heath Franklin’s Chopper, and doesn’t hesitate to deliver on their philosophical, metaphor-riffing one-liner styles. Hurst immediately engages the audience with some light banter, before delving into a simple yet well-structured narrative. A bare stage, a projection, and a few odd props are all that were needed for Hurst to take us on a journey – the rest came down to her larger than life physical comedy and surprisingly effective character changes.
A timeless classic [by Sharu Delilkan]
Although The Lion in the Winter has been around since the 1960s, it's actor Brendan Lovell's first time acting in, let alone reading the play.
The 27-year-old actor admits he had never heard of American playwright James Goldman’s play, that debuted on Broadway in 1966, until the audition.
But he's by no means new to acting. Far from it, Lovell's been in the public eye since popping out of an oven as The Gingerbread Man at age 4.
And even though he didn’t go straight into acting following high school, his long hiatus came to a close in 2010 when he found himself back on stage in a series of pantomime plays, while studying screen acting at the South Seas Film and Television School.
“I didn’t realise how much I missed the buzz of being on stage until I did those pantomimes. I was playing a musician in Pinocchio and the reaction from the kids who booed me off stage and wouldn’t let me sing the song was absolutely amazing,” he said.