Fancy a Puck? [by James Wenley]
At the end of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, hobgoblin Puck famously excuses all that has gone before as a “weak and idle theme, no more yielding but a dream”. If so, it was a fantastic and crazy dream that the audience collectively dreamed in the theatre. While Puck undersells the thematic depths of the play, Auckland Theatre’s Company’s fast and furious streamlined show (no interval!) emphasises the fun and farce of love gone very, very wrong.
Midsummer Night’s Dream, though taking inspiration from several sources, is credited as being Shakespeare’s only original plot. It’s one of his most popular too – a comic plot that sees a love quadrangle of miss-matched Athenian youths Hermia, Helena, Lysander and Demetrius enter the woods, which also contains a group of amateur actors rehearsing a play for the wedding of Duke Theseus (Peter Daube) to his exotic bride Hippolyta (Goretti Chadwick), as well as being the home of mischievous fairies, reigned over by feuding lovers King Oberon (Xavier Horan) and Queen Titania (Alison Bruce).
I wish my own dreams looked like this. An almost unbearably bright red raked stage looks out at us, a fittingly unbalanced playing space which at various times the actors climb, slide and leap off. No subtly here then – the red of fervent passion and desire dominates. The gloriously styled black and white fashions of the four lovers – including Brooke Williams’ Hermia school girl burlesque chic topped with an upside-down cupcake tutu, and Josh McKenzie’s wrapped in a foppishly large bow tie and ankle high socks, take a bow designer Nic Smillie – gets considerably skimpier the longer the play goes on. Goretti Chadwick’s Hippolyta, going against received interpretation, is rather into her Theseus. And there are enough bare-chested men to rival the wolf pack of the Twilight films.
In Love with Shakespeare [by Sharu Delilkan]
It has been a journey of self-discovery for Xavier Horan, particularly since he has gone from being a ‘Shakespeare-phobe’ to acting in two of his plays within a matter of months.
Horan, who has recently performed at The Globe Theatre London in the ground breaking Maori production of Troilus and Cressida, is extremely excited about his role as Oberon in Auckland Theatre Company's latest production A Midsummer Night's Dream.
He is equally chuffed about being part of the 18-strong stellar cast which includes father daughter duo Stuart Devenie (Egeus) and Laurel Devenie (Helena) as well as Alison Bruce (Titania), Goretti Chadwick (Hippolyta), Peter Daube (Theseus), Andrew Grainger (Bottom), Raymond Hawthorne (Puck), Rima Te Wiata (Peter Quince) and Brooke Williams (Hermia).
A Midsummer Night's Dream features three interlocking plots, connected by a celebration of the wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens and the Amazon queen, Hippolyta, and set simultaneously in the woodland, and in the realm of Fairyland, under the light of the moon.
Horan admits that the whole Shakespeare experience was very scary at first, due to the fact that he was treading on unfamiliar territory. However he says working closely with veteran thespian Hawthorne has been his saving grace.
Perfectly Pitched Pacific Panto [by Sharu Delilkan]
The theatre was electrically charged as we scrambled to find our seats. In fact my mate Liz and I ended up sitting separately because it was so full. Not to mention the fact that they added almost 6 new chairs stage left to accommodate the stragglers. Seeing the theatre packed to the gunnels was a great sight to behold, especially since the show has been running for more than a week.
Looking at the stage it was equally electric painted in a multitude of vivid fluorescent colours, complemented by the chorus’ multi-coloured t-shirts. And when the MC said “sit back and enjoy the show and laugh your bum bums off” you knew you were in for the ride of your life.
Sinarella, yet another feather in the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts’ (PIPA) cap as a joint production with Auckland Theatre Company, follows the sell-out season of Polly Hood in Mumuland.
PIPA crosses the ditch [by Sharu Delilkan]
Although Joanna Mika-Toloa may be on her way to perform Where We Once Belonged in Brisbane for the first time, she will have her home team batting for her.
The recent graduate of the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts (PIPA) is beside herself about their impending Aussie performance.
The Where We Once Belonged overseas debut also marks the first time the Australian side of her family, some of whom live in Brisbane, will finally see her treading the boards.
“It’s going to be great, since they finally get to see me in action. Especially after hearing so much about my acting and seeing me online.”
Mumuland mesmerises Mangere [by Sharu Delilkan]
It was an evening of firsts for me. From experiencing a performance at the Mangere Arts Centre theatre for the first time, to seeing a Pacific Island flavoured musical extravaganza led by Goretti Chadwick, making her directorial debut.
Another first was also the collaboration between Auckland Theatre Company and the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts.
A clever twist on a traditional favourite, Little Red Riding Hood, the show is snappy and delivers in exuberant Polynesian style – all the elements of a great family show.
Watching the kids responding around me was a joy. They were enraptured and entranced from the very first Munchkin-like, helium-induced introduction into a fantasy world.
The key to enjoying the show is to go with an open mind and to allow yourself to be a kid again – something we don’t do enough of in our ‘adult’ lives.
The real triumph of the show is a credit to the entire cast, deft directorial touches and joyously inspired musical arrangements by musical director Tama Waipara in collaboration with the PIPA students.