REVIEW: Aladdin – The Musical (The Civic)

January 12, 2019
[Putting Agrabah on the Map] Whether recognised from its Chinese origin or by Robin Williams’ signature improvisational skills, the story of Aladdin is by no means new to the international literary or dramatic canon. The pauper-to-prince protagonist plot, antagonised by an evil sorcerer, is a staple narrative in not only its multiple adaptations, but also the varying interpretations of the […]

REVIEW: OrphEus – a dance opera (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 10, 2018
[Look Back in Splendour] OrphEus – a dance opera (Orpheus, Eurydice and Us) is a large and ambitious project for The New Zealand Dance Company, conceived, created and directed by Michael Parmenter. The extensive programme notes and the work itself both indicate the academic depth of research and inspiration that have culminated in this large-scale production. Parmenter draws together past, […]

REVIEW: Matilda the Musical (The Civic)

August 27, 2017
[Children will Listen] Matilda the Musical asserts its ambitions in the opening number, ‘Miracle’. Precocious children at a birthday party, dressed as ballerinas, princesses and superheroes, sing about the positive messages they have internalised from their parents as they make havoc about the stage on an ADHD sugar high: “Ever since the day doc chopped the umbilical cord, it’s been […]

REVIEW: West Side Story (The Civic)

June 25, 2017
[West Side for Life] A whistle. The Jets gang lounge around like the they own the city. A beat. One starts clicking. The others join in. They get together and strut. On the lighter notes their arms and legs slide out for a balletic flourish. They stop in their tracks when members of the Sharks arrive. Whites versus Puerto Ricans […]

REVIEW: Million Dollar Quartet (The Civic)

June 11, 2017
[Rock ‘n’ Roll Avengers] There’s a bit of scuttlebutt as to what happened when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins got together in Memphis at Sun Records on December 4, 1956 for an impromptu jam session (that, after years of legal wrangling, became an album in 1981). Cash is said to have only turned up for the […]

REVIEW: Horror (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 23, 2017
[Here’s Johnny (and other references)] If you adore the horror genre, then Jakop Ahlbom’s masterpiece is an absolute must-see. As spectacles go Horror is as spectacular as you can get. The show is a true homage to the horror genre and begs for a cult following. The attention to detail is magnificent in both the set design and costume, and […]

REVIEW: Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical (The Civic)

October 20, 2016
[And so you’re back… from overseas] When the Priscilla bus last made a stop at the Civic in 2008, it was the first time that the Aussie musical had made an international trip. We were a try-out as they continued to evolve the show, and Aucklanders certainly showed their love with a rush for tickets. Since then, the Queen of the […]

REVIEW: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (NZ Opera)

September 18, 2016
[Fleet Street Clean Sweep] While he has never stayed in one place for all that long, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, first seen in 1979, has continued to set up his establishment in production after production world-wide. Written by Hugh Wheeler with music and lyrics by the incomparable Stephen Sondheim, it has attracted headliners like Angela Lansbury, Kelsey […]

REVIEW: Lennon: Through a Glass Onion (The Civic)

August 11, 2016
[Come Together] Lennon: Through A Glass Onion is a unique experience at The Civic which epitomises a live concert combined with the most entertaining chronological tapestry of commentary.  For children of the 60s likes us it gives you a nostalgic trip down memory lane or, for the punter born after the Lennon/Beatle years, a great historic snapshot of the iconic band […]

REVIEW: Nederlands Dans Theatre (The Civic)

July 1, 2016
[Towards Perfection] Let’s get one thing out of the way, even as someone who can’t claim to know much about dance, I can confidently say Nederlands Dans Theatre have created some of the best pieces of theatre you’ll see all year. The evening is made up of four distinctly different works of varying lengths (from 15 to 34 minutes): Safe […]
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