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 […]

REVIEW: Blue Man Group (The Civic)

May 31, 2016
[Blue my Mind] Described as a comical musical & artistic show featuring lots of audience interaction with a blue-painted cast, Blue Man Group definitely do what they say on the tin. Besides seeing a very short YouTube clip about the show I made a big effort not to watch anything in advance so as not to raise expectations.  But in retrospect I […]

REVIEW: Flashdance the Musical (The Civic)

April 22, 2016
Leg-Warming It would seem like a no brainer to turn Flashdance into a stage musical. Nostalgia is a powerful seller, and many an 80’s kid rewound their VHS copies to oblivion. The 1983 film is told with the logic of a musical, with just enough dialogue to get us to the next MTV-like dance montage. The film, for all its […]

REVIEW: The Phantom of the Opera (The Civic)

February 12, 2016
[Far too many notes for my taste] I should declare my Phandom up-front: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece – yes, masterpiece – is a long-standing favourite. The moment Rob Guest’s mask was ripped from his face to reveal the Phantom’s awful disfigurement is a childhood memory burned into my mind. Amici’s pro-amateur production is the third version of the show I’ve […]

REVIEW: Le Noir: The Dark Side of Cirque (The Civic)

October 30, 2015
Le Blanc [by James Wenley] If you want to crack the Auckland market, sex and cirque sells. Already we’ve had the Spiegeltent adult-circus double-hit of Empire at Wynyard Quarter and Limbo for Auckland Festival. Le Noir comes from the bankable team behind The Illusionists phenomenon. If you are someone who knows their Cirques, you’ve probably seen most of these acts before here in […]

REVIEW: Singin’ in the Rain (The Civic)

May 3, 2015
Cloudy, with a chance of Glorious Feeling [by James Wenley] “Raining live onstage!” shouts the poster. Play back Singin’ in the Rain’s most famous scene for a moment, Gene Kelly tap-splashing as only a man possessed by love (and a real life raging fever) can do.  If there ever was a good argument for adapting the MGM film musical for the […]

REVIEW: The Sound of Music (The Civic)

October 6, 2014
Bloom and grow forever [by James Wenley] If you’re not completely won over by the time the Von Trapp children are skipping along to Do-Re-Me, you should see a doctor immediately to check for a heart condition. The template for the New Zealand touring production is Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 2006 production at the London Palladium (for which he cast Maria […]

REVIEW: The Illusionists 2.0 (The Civic)

September 4, 2014
Age of Illusion  [by James Wenley] The Avengers of Magic are back in Auckland, and they’re changing their line-up faster than the continuity of a Marvel comic book. Charming trickster and watch thief Jeff Hobson is the sole returnee from The Illusionists’ original line-up. This time he’s joined by magicians with names like ‘The Unusualist’, ‘The Deceptionist’, and ‘The Illusionist’ […]

REVIEW: Annie (The Civic)

June 16, 2014
We got Annie! [by James Wenley] Did the Global Financial Crisis lead to an increase in Annie revivals? Set in 1933, four years after the stock market crash, the tale of the 11-year-old red-headed orphan has as its backdrop the haves and have-nots of the Great Depression era. Six years after the 2008 crisis, the Broadway Musical is now playing […]
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