REVIEW: Green Day’s American Idiot: The Musical (The Civic)

October 12, 2019
[Still feeling the angst 15 years on] An American musical, an English cast, a Kiwi audience: can the early 2000s hit pop-punk band Green Day deliver a musical that crosses both time and culture? Drawn from the 2004 rock-opera style album American Idiot which responded to American anxiety following 9/11, the public divide over the Iraq war, and the Bush […]

REVIEW: School of Rock: The Musical (The Civic)

September 9, 2019
[Essential Education] As we take our seats at the Civic we are immediately transported to the smoky bars of a bygone era synonymous with rock bands. The simplistic drum kit with brick wall backdrop is a clever device that instantaneously evokes that trip down memory lane. Instead of the customary ‘turn your cell phones’ announcement as the lights dim, we […]

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 […]
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