In the Spotlight

SCENE BY JAMES: When will Arts in Aotearoa get the Green Light?

by James Wenley in Scene by James

In the same week Auckland Theatre Company and Basement Theatre confirmed they were closing for the rest of the year, I attended a one night-only performance of Back to Square One? at the Tahi Festival of Solo Performance at Wellington’s BATS Theatre. Back to Square One? is a Covid show, inspired by writer/performer Anders Falstie-Jensen’s conversations with his 95-year-old grandmother Inga during the early stages of the pandemic. The show is partly about Inga’s experience isolated in her home in Denmark, and what it meant to go back to square one after a brush with illness – back to her [...]

CHRISTCHURCH REVIEW: Little Shop of Horrors (Court Theatre)

December 5, 2021
[Camp Confectionary] I’ve always had a strange relationship with musical theatre, a genre that demands a level of sentimentality I don’t always believe it earns. In a way a musical has to work a lot harder to move me, maybe because deep down I can feel the wheels turning. The emotional beats too easily replaced by songs, arcs rushed, etc.  […]

REVIEW: Break Bread (Silo Theatre)

December 2, 2021
[Knead to See it] I will take a basic understanding of the condition of theatre in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland as a given in discussing Silo Theatre’s enrapturing latest offering Break Bread.  (If you are not aware of the difficulties posed by the on-going lockdowns and now by the fast approaching traffic-light system to the theatre community in Aotearoa I suggest […]

SCENE BY JAMES: When will Arts in Aotearoa get the Green Light?

November 20, 2021
In the same week Auckland Theatre Company and Basement Theatre confirmed they were closing for the rest of the year, I attended a one night-only performance of Back to Square One? at the Tahi Festival of Solo Performance at Wellington’s BATS Theatre. Back to Square One? is a Covid show, inspired by writer/performer Anders Falstie-Jensen’s conversations with his 95-year-old grandmother […]

CHRISTCHURCH REVIEW: Frankenstein (The Court Theatre)

August 13, 2021
[Man-made horrors] The corrupting influence of human nature versus nurture is at the heart of Frankenstein, both the original story and this stage adaptation. It’s one of those classics that speaks to the human condition in a timeless way. It’s one of those classics that barely needs introduction, its mythology so embedded into our cultural consciousness. The iconic tale of […]

REVIEW: Pork and Poll Taxes (Proudly Asian Theatre)

August 12, 2021
[Pulled from the Past] Anticipation for the opening night of Pork and Poll Taxes has been building within the Pan-Asian community for weeks – encouraged by a mesmerising trailer for the production which showcases the production’s fusion of movement and story. By opening night, the atmosphere in the foyer of the Herald Theatre is palpable.   It has been a long […]

REVIEW: The Firebird with Paquita (Royal New Zealand Ballet)

July 31, 2021
[Old Forms; New Visions] The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s double bill of The Firebird with Paquita presents two traditional, narrative classical ballets in boldly contrasting ways. Opening the programme, Paquita remains faithful to the Imperial Ballet style in approach and realisation. First staged in Russia in 1847, the work is retained in the repertoire of ballet companies worldwide, including Aotearoa, […]

REVIEW: The Mourning After (Agaram Productions)

July 27, 2021
[After the Mourning, Comes… ] Originally produced thirteen years ago by playwright and director Ahi Karunaharan, The Mourning After is a semi-autobiographical tale of what happens when the protagonist Shekar (Jehangir Homavazir) leaves New Zealand to visit his ancestral homeland of Sri Lanka in order to return his father’s ashes.  As we enter Q’s foyer, kind faces encourage us to […]

REVIEW: Yang/Young/杨 (Auckland Theatre Company)

July 26, 2021
[More than a Youth Show] In 2019 I wrote a review which included a meme that intimated that the ATC youth shows excite me more as an audience member than much of what appears in the main programme. Now in 2021 ATC, with the support of Proudly Asian Theatre (PAT), offers Yang/Young/杨 as part of the Here and Now season […]

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