Q opens in triumph, Fringe overshadows Festival, Outfit Rise, Rugby, Rugby, Rugby, and the Death of the Theatre. [by James Wenley]
Attending the recent Hackman Theatre awards, Auckland Theatre circa 2011 would appear to be in rude health. Rude being the word, hosts Nic Sampson and Joseph Moore proudly observing it was a record year of nudity on stage, from the very brave Mr. Sam Seddon in The Only Child to the Dame bosoms of the Calendar Girls. It was certainly year that didn’t leave much to the imagination, containing everything from dildos to knitted phalluses, bath tubs to swimming pools.
The Hackmans were a big communal pat on the back for the industry, a brash and bold celebration of a huge year in theatre. As Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Robyn Malcom closed the awards night performing in a Thomas Sainsbury play that he had written under duress that very night, there was a sense that anything and everything was possible.
As a critic moving from Craccum to my own Theatre Scenes blog this year, I’ve welcomed the end-of-year theatre break. Throughout the year, I could often be heard to exclaim: ‘Auckland Theatre: There is too much of you!’. It’s been exhausting going to opening to opening night after night. And immensely rewarding. While containing some duds for sure, my impression of the year is one of great strength and eclectic activity. There was no shortage of things to write about at least. There was always something on. Between fellow blogger Sharu Delilkan and me, we reviewed or previewed 96 different shows, and even that barely scratched the surface.
Cow, Tigerplay and Disorder. What a threesome! [by James Wenley]
If you haven’t already, rush to see the Young & Hungry Festival, there’s not much time left… there’s a Zombie apocalypse on don’t you know?
Under Auckland Theatre Company’s guidance, the third year of Young & Hungry in Auckland is arguably the strongest yet, containing two Young and Hungry classics – Cow by Jo Randerson (1997) and Tigerplay by the brilliant Gary Henderson (debuting in the first Wellington festival in 1994), finished off with a new play Disorder, a Zombie splatter-fest by Thomas Sainsbury, that has to be seen to be believed.
There’s a different energy at a Young and Hungry show. The young casts and crew radiate a hope, drive and a hunger to perform and put on excellent work. They work under an impressive mentorship team that includes Elizabeth Whiting, Simon Coleman, Brad Gledhill, and the shows are Production Managed by Andrew Munro. It’s a collective energy that puts many professional productions to shame – it’s immediate, exciting, sometimes raw, thrilling and unpredictable. It feeds and satisfies my theatre needs.