SCENE BY JAMES: 2016 – A Theatrical Year in Review

December 30, 2016
[Engaging with our Worlds] The meme that gained exponential currency as 2016 trudged along was that 2016 was a terrible year. Aleppo, terror, celebrity deaths, Brexit, Harambe, and the coming of Trump – what started as a joke seems to have become a genuine expression of the globe having entirely written off this fucked up year. Yes, this contemporary perception is all […]

REVIEW: Valerie (Auckland Live International Cabaret Festival)

October 2, 2016
[Emotional Resonance] The Auckland Live International Cabaret Season kicked off this past week with Valerie, an unconventional cabaret written and performed by Last Tapes Theatre Company. The piece first appeared at Hotspot Cabaret and has developed into an entirely different creature since then. The Basement Theatre space has been transformed into a loungey cabaret den, lit by candles and kept […]

REVIEW: Mating in Captivity (Last Tapes)

August 21, 2016
[Page to Stage] There is a significant step missing in Auckland’s theatre industry. Between independent producers and production companies presenting their own works, whether old or new, there are few of either who dedicate themselves to introducing new playwrights, actors, designers, and directors to Auckland audiences. Enter Last Tapes: First Steps season, which is “dedicated to supporting and staging debut […]

REVIEW: Defending the J.J. MAC (Last Tapes)

February 3, 2016
[Addy in Wonderland] Addy has lost someone close to her, someone she calls her sunshine-maker, and she doesn’t know how to cope, except to withdraw into the safe haven of her imagination. The fantasy world setup is something you’ve probably seen before, from classics such as Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz to Where the Wild Things Are […]

REVIEW: Earnest (Fractious Tash and Last Tapes Theatre Company)

August 29, 2014
Earnest goes Wilde [by Sharu Delilkan and Tim Booth] It’s interesting that The Importance of Being Earnest is often performed as a ‘straight’ interpretation, which is ironic given the gay essence of the closeted homosexual playwright’s well-known work. And to be honest a key reason I was keen to see this version was its premise of a fresh innovative take […]

PREVIEW: The next generation VERBATIM

November 11, 2013
Twenty Years Later [by James Wenley] “New generations of actors and directors keep theatre alive” says NZ Theatre legend Miranda Harcourt, who toured New Zealand prisons with Verbatim, about a home invasion that ends with a murder, in the early 1990s . Miranda had been studying drama therapy in London and returned to New Zealand to create a project with the women […]

REVIEW: The Last Five Years (Last Tapes)

March 4, 2012
A show to fall in, and out of love.. [by James Wenley] In the middle of Musical The Last Five Years, Jamie and Cathy pledge their loves and their lives in the song The Next Ten Minutes, which  features both a tender proposal (“Will you share your life with me / For the next ten minutes? / …. And if […]