In the Spotlight

REVIEW: First World Problems 3.0 (Basement Theatre)

by Jess Macdonald in Highlights

[Healing Together, Beyond Our Problems] As I arrive into the Basement foyer and navigate past the throng of bodies to collect my tickets, I feel instantly uplifted. Surrounded by so many members the South Asian community, we are lucky to be able to gather and witness the premiere of new homegrown writing. Yet I can’t help but feel a pang of homesickness for my Indian family back home in the UK – still isolated from one another due to Covid-19 restrictions – and think of the New Zealand citizens in India, barred from returning home. I wonder how many people [...]

REVIEW: Madagascar the Musical (Auckland Live)

July 12, 2021
[Move it, Groove it] Dreamworks’ Madagascar is a phenomenon – a franchise that a has netted over US$2.2 billion, entertaining kids and adults worldwide for over 15 years.  It boasts three sequels, computer games and enough merchandise to collapse the Star Wars universe. As a stage show Madagascar the Musical is clearly something that many families will want to experience, […]

REVIEW: Everything After (Brilliant Adventures)

July 8, 2021
[How Not to Survive a Plague] Why do some people move through the world with more ease than others? It’s something I think about a lot. A lack of trauma or baggage, I suppose. So what happens to a man who is a bundle of tightly wound trauma? Well, the expectations of dramatic narrative say we pull him apart and […]

REVIEW: Kūpapa (Te Pou Theatre)

July 5, 2021
[Existing In Between] “Kūpapa (noun) collaborator, ally, — a term that came to be applied to Māori who sided with Pākehā opposition or the Government. There has been a shift from a general meaning of neutrality to the modern use, which now sometimes has derogative connotations; traitor.” – maoridictionary.co.nz This play, however, is no straightforward indictment of protagonist and historical […]

REVIEW: Thoroughly Modern Māui (Auckland Live Cabaret Season)

July 5, 2021
[“No Longer Will I Be Painted with a Tainted Brush”] From the moment Rūtene Spooner hops out of the audience and onto the stage, requests a vodka soda, and welcomes everybody (particularly the “cuzzie’s on the comps”), we are taken on a journey of musical theatre, kapa haka, and essential kōrero. Spooner introduces himself as a ‘haka-boogie-hori’, and his sense […]

REVIEW: The Life of Galileo (Auckland Theatre Company)

June 29, 2021
[Use Science Wisely] The scene is 17th century Italy. Legendary astronomer Galileo Galilei is unsatisfied with what he has achieved in his life so far, and fixated on one subject in particular: the movement of the earth around the sun. Yet as Galileo tries fervently to share his discoveries with the world, it’s clear that there’s a big, black hole […]

REVIEW: Wonderful (Basement Theatre)

June 24, 2021
[First Period – Starring: Brother Vianney] Brother Vianney, played by Andrew Laing, begins the show in a warm spotlight, and delights us with Rogers and Hammerstein’s Shall We Dance, from The King and I. A tender beginning that then explodes, and our very own Deborah Kerr twirls and floats around the stage, not unlike Maria on the hilltop from another […]

REVIEW: Cake Baby (Basement Theatre)

June 23, 2021
[Nobody puts Cake Baby in the corner: fatness, art, and representation] The Basement stage floor is littered, quite literally, with trash – empty take-out boxes, wrappers, and containers of food – directly contrasted by diaphanous pink material strung grandly from the centre of the ceiling. It is immediately intriguing and the audience seems to be in a good mood, warmed […]

REVIEW: Barrier Ninja (Auckland Live)

June 22, 2021
[Medicine under the spotlight] The problem of othering has to be one of the biggest contemporary issues that is still only finding its light. The “us” vs “them” mentality places certain groups of people outside of what is considered “normal”, and they are then subjected to racism, inequality, isolation, and marginalisation with alarmingly harmful consequences. I was heartened that one […]

REVIEW: Bunny (Basement Theatre)

June 18, 2021
[A Comedic and Musical Meditation on Grief] The doors to the stage open and I am greeted with this immense sense of liveliness. Barnie Duncan, our sole performer, is playing a bass guitar, ushering us in with music and smiles as though he knows each of us personally. Above him is an LED sign reading, “haere mai” and “welcome”. Something […]

REVIEW: Paradise or the Impermanence of Ice Cream (Indian Ink)

June 13, 2021
[“The Secret to Life is Inconsistency”] From the moment the striking white lights brighten the black box of Q Theatre, Jacob Rajan captures the full attention of every audience member as Harvey Norman worker, Kutisar. He lies sprawled on a plinth, perhaps dead, or at least close to death. In swoops a Vulture, expertly animated by puppeteer Jon Coddington. The […]

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For reviews of theatre playing elsewhere in New Zealand, go to Theatreview.org.nz