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: The Haka Party Incident (Auckland Theatre Company)

April 4, 2021
[The Last New Zealand War] There’s something about watching local history onstage — history so recent that some members of the audience sitting beside you were participants in the events portrayed. Written and directed by Katie Wolfe, The Haka Party Incident is a resonant piece of documentary theatre revisiting what its advertising calls “the last New Zealand war.” This describes the […]

REVIEW: The Griegol (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 20, 2021
[Dark Craft] A darkened space; a crash of piano notes; a candle carried wordlessly onstage. A man plans his elderly mother’s funeral as his young daughter stands behind him, uncomprehending. All she has left of her grandmother is a key she cannot fit into any lock, and the stories her grandmother would spin of the Griegol, a shape-shifting demon made […]

REVIEW: Two Ladies (Auckland Theatre Company)

February 14, 2021
[Smartest in the Room] It was Lady Bird Johnson who said a first lady is “an unpaid public servant elected by one person, her husband.” Nancy Harris’s 2019 play Two Ladies puts the women in the shadows centrestage. Deliberately not-so-fictional, its titular ladies Hélène (Jennifer Ward-Lealand) and Sophia (Anna Jullienne) are transparently based on Brigitte Macron and Melania Trump; they […]

REVIEW: Black Lover (Auckland Theatre Company)

March 16, 2020
[A Kiwi Hero in Zimbabwe] When Sir Garfield Todd denounced racial injustice in 1950s Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), he was fiercely hated by supporters of white minority rule. Among the pejoratives they called him was “black lover”. Stanley Makuwe’s Black Lover is an illuminating glimpse into an overlooked chapter of history: a remarkable chapter which saw the Invercargill-born Todd become Prime Minister of […]

REVIEW: Carcinus Rex (Auckland Fringe)

February 28, 2020
[Crab Pincers and Prophecies] Most of us have heard of the deeply unlucky Oedipus, whether we are familiar with Sophoclean tragedy or Freud’s infamous Oedipus complex. Devised by Stray Theatre Company, Carcinus Rex offers a loose, highly comic interpretation of the story: What destiny awaits Carcinus, best crab in Thebes?  A group of squabbling gulls narrate the opening sequence, introducing […]

REVIEW: #UsTwo (Auckland Fringe)

February 27, 2020
[Sisterhood and Solidarity] With its name a clear nod to the #MeToo movement, it is reasonable to expect an engagement with power structures in #UsTwo. That this show roots the political within the personal is signalled right away by its intimate set, resembling a bedroom shared by two sisters. It is in this room that real-life siblings Catherine and Sarah […]