Omicron comes for the Arts: Holding on under Red

January 26, 2022
Aotearoa’s move into the Red light setting immediately and primarily impacts two intertwined sectors: hospitality and live events. While every New Zealander will be affected by a major outbreak of Omicron in the community and have to make changes under the Red restrictions, most industries (for now) are able to continue. But for hospitality and events, the public health gathering […]

SCENE BY JAMES: 2021 – A Theatrical Year in Review [PANDEMIC EDITION YEAR TWO]

December 31, 2021
[Weathering the Storm] On the 20th April, 2021, the Prime Minister, the Deputy PM and Aotearoa’s leading epidemiologist converged at BATS Theatre to watch an uncanny mirror image of our country’s 2020 Covid-19 lockdown. The play was Transmission, created by Stuart McKenzie and Miranda Harcourt, which used verbatim extracts of interviews primarily with Jacinda Ardern, Grant Robertson and Professor Michael […]

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, […]
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