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: Macbeth (Pop-up Globe)

February 11, 2018
[Fresh Daggers in Familiar Smiles] Directed by Tom Mallaburn, the Pop-up Globe’s production of Macbeth is mostly a traditional take on the material. I say mostly, because the show’s creators make one interesting addition right at the top which causes ripples throughout the rest of the show. There has always been a theory that the Macbeth’s had lost a child [Lady Macbeth […]

REVIEW: Julius Caesar (Pop-up Globe)

January 26, 2018
[Bloodbath and Beyond] For all the controversy surrounding the Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar last year, casting a Trump-like leader in the title role, the Pop-up Globe’s rendition of the play is a far less critical reflection of our contemporary world. Outside of a few banners with familiar taglines and some playful anachronisms, director Rita […]

SCENE BY JAMES: 2017 – A Theatrical Year in Review

December 29, 2017
[Theatre by the Numbers] 150,000 Aucklanders can’t be wrong, right? These are the approximate combined totals of audiences who flocked to the Pop-up Globe and Pleasuredome: The Musical in 2017. Compare that with the record-breaking 130,000 who went to Adele’s Auckland concerts this year. And that’s not even including the Globe’s jump across the Tasman, where their productions are still […]

SCENE BY JAMES: The Battle for Shakespeare, or, is the Pop-up Globe as you like it?

April 30, 2017
[Pop-up Globe 2017 Season] At Auckland’s Pop-up Globe, Shakespeare is enjoying a 400-year-old career resurgence. Shattering any lingering perceptions that Shakespeare might be elitist or alienating, this year 80,000 people have paid paying anywhere from $1 to stand as a ‘groundling’ in the yard, to $299 for a royal room at the side of the stage. The atmosphere in the […]

REVIEW: Othello (Pop-up Globe)

March 12, 2017
[All About Iago] The problematic racial politics of Othello are scrutinised for a good reason. You have a play that centers around a dark-skinned man being tricked by, typically, a light-skinned man, into killing his white wife. So, looking at it as a modern audience, is it an examination of otherness or a perpetuation of it? Director Ben Naylor’s production […]

REVIEW: Antony and Cleopatra (Pop-up Globe)

April 3, 2016
[Cleopatra comin’ atcha] I have not read Antony and Cleopatra in years. It was never one of my ‘go-tos’, so my knowledge of its intricacies and minor details is almost non-existent. However, even if you have not read the play, Antony and Cleopatra are not exactly obscure. Ask anyone on the street and they could tell you something about them— the […]

REVIEW: Titus (Pop-up Globe)

March 15, 2016
[Bad Taste] Originally staged as a Unitec graduate show with an all-male cast in 2012, and subsequently revived at Q Theatre in 2013, Titus returns for a third time at the Pop-up Globe. While I can’t speak for the quality of the previous seasons, I can safely say that you won’t see a more accessible version of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus […]

REVIEW: The Tempest (Pop-up Globe)

March 2, 2016
[The Globe is full of Noises] The problem with The Tempest is that even with its self-awareness as a play, or perhaps in spite of it, it is not a dramatic work. Events of action both past and present are relegated to exposition. There is no onstage conflict; no scene in which two characters fight for opposing objectives. There are, […]

REVIEW: Twelfth Night (Pop-up Globe)

March 1, 2016
[Drowning in Illyria] It seems appropriate that a play which revolves around two shipwrecked siblings is victim to Auckland’s inconstant elements. While a rain-soaked atmosphere won’t be part of everyone’s Twelfth Night experience, the unpredictability of the weather is an integral part of attending the Pop-up Globe, especially for the exposed groundlings. The actors, despite having to compete with the […]
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