REVIEW: Mansfield Park (NZO)

June 10, 2024

[Let other pens dwell on misery] It is on an inclement Sunday evening that the New Zealand Opera invited audience members to brave the long drive up to Settlers Country Manor, some 10 minutes from Kumeū. Originally a dairy factory, the ‘Manor’ is now a lavish wedding venue, and, between the smoke hanging in the air and the plentiful dark […]

REVIEW: No Time to Dry (Basement Theatre)

May 30, 2024

No Time to Wait Basement Theatre’s Studio is so tightly packed with eager audience members before the premiere of playwright and director Lucy Dawber’s latest comedic offering No Time to Dry, that a Basement staff member ends up giving their seat to the final person to enter the room. There’s an anticipation in the air that I’ve rarely experienced like […]

REVIEW: Yeah Nah Pavlova (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 28, 2024

We’re almost at the end of the International Comedy Festival which has been packed with a number of outstanding shows, and Yeah Nah Pavlova is no exception. Loud Jess (Jess Loudon) and Sandra Pace make an incredibly likable duo from the get-go, starting the show with warm, gregarious, and larger-than-life energy. I grew up in Otaki, an hour’s north of […]

REVIEW: Whenua (Q Theatre)

April 21, 2024

The first part of Whenua closes with the voice of celebrated choreographer Rodney Bell (Ngāti Maniapoto), his words projected in red across a slanting white screen — “Ko au ko koe, ko koe ko au”: I am you, and you are me. Connections to one another and to the land are central themes of this striking double-bill from the New […]


March 24, 2024

AIGA is an emotive and visually spectacular devised performance piece, which deals with themes of interaction and desire as a Pasifika woman with disabilities. The performance piece consists of biographical vignettes made up of singing, dancing, poetry, and acted scenes. The main performer and subject of the piece, Lusi Faiva, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of two. […]

REVIEW: O le Pepelo, le Gaoi, ma le Pala’ai (Auckland Theatre Company)

March 16, 2024

The Road to Leadership is Through Service As soon as O le Pepelo, le Gaoi, ma le Pala’ai (The Liar, the Thief, and the Coward) starts, the audience is immersed in the Samoan language. The opening monologue by Vaofefe (The Village Vale), played by Jesme Fa’auuga, is recited fully in Samoan — no subtitles provided.  A bilingual production requires a […]

REVIEW: Te Tangi a Te Tūi (Te Pou)

March 14, 2024

Te Tangi a Te Tūī is a ground-breaking collaboration between Te Rēhia Theatre, The Dust Palace and The Cultch, which weaves together elements of Māori pūrakau, circus theatre, spectacular visuals, and stunning choreography to tell the story of the Tūī’s song which becomes an allegory for the beauty and persistence of te reo Māori. The Tūī’s birdsong is complex and […]

REVIEW: Cowboy Dreaming (Basement)

March 4, 2024

[The Ballad of Billy Bob and Bobby Bill] Pale pink and white fabric clouds hang in fluffy banks over the Basement Studio stage. On a single mattress are two, improbably still, denim-shorts-clad, cowboys. They lie on top of each other, stacked like flapjacks, with only the flashing of the silver studs on one of their belts giving the impression of […]

REVIEW: Sirens of the Silver Screen (Q Theatre)

February 28, 2024

Offered as part of Auckland Pride Festival 2024, Sirens of the Silver Screen is a charming and energetic drag cabaret, which pays homage to the plots and songs of popular films.  Miss Demeanour, Miss Givings, and Miss Manage provide renditions of songs which typify the nostalgia of films gone by. These performances were slotted into a loose narrative arc, which […]

REVIEW: Twelfth Night: A Queer Reimagining (TAPAC)

February 26, 2024

Presented as part of the Auckland Pride Festival 2024, Arden Ensemble’s Twelfth Night was variously advertised as a lesbian reinterpretation, an LGBTQIA+ retelling, and a queer reimagining. ‘Reimagining’ may best fit the bill. Director Rose Herda and her players have staged a vibrant rendition of Shakespeare’s comedy that delivers the usual laughs and shenanigans — with an unmistakably contemporary feel.  […]

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