New Zealand theatre reviews, performace reviews and performing arts directory

New Zealand professional theatre & dance: reviews, news and your views
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The Bacchanals’ South Island Tour of Dean Parker's ONCE WE BUILT A TOWER [more]
ELIZABETH O’CONNOR 1956-2014 [more]

Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School Auckland visit
4-8/8 [more
CNZ To Invest In National Touring
Open Letter from The Clitlective

Join the PAD as a Company, Co-op, Individual or School, or
Donate to TheatreviewStep up for THEATREVIEW – [more]

Playmarket: Plays For The Young, submit by 31/7 [more]
THE PERFORMANCE ARCADE 2015, Artist Forum 27/7; submit by 1/8 [more]
Summer Shakespeare Wellington 2015 seeks Marketing and Publicity Manager, apply by 1/8 [more]
FLY BATS HOME update + fundraising deadline 1 August [more]
ATC: The Next Stage Festival of New Work, submit by 4/8 [more]
SILO: WORKING TITLES 2015, submit by 20/8 [more]

Latest Theatre and Performance Reviews
ALLEGRO at ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland
reviewed by Jenny Stevenson 31 Jul 2014
Dancers fizzing with enthusiasm and exuberance
Choreographically, the works vary from the elegant classicism of Russian-American choreographer, George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante first performed in 1956, through to the world premiere of New Zealand’s own Daniel Belton’s technologically-inspired work Satellites. They are literally worlds apart. Between these polarities are the sprightly ballet, Les Lutins by Danish choreographer, Johan Kobborg and the urban glamour of New York choreographer Larry Keigwin’s two works, Mattress Suite and Megalopolis. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Bernadette Rae (NZ Herald);

AN UNSEASONABLE FALL OF SNOW at The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
reviewed by Nik Smythe 30 Jul 2014
Simplicity belies complexity and vice versa
This one-act mystery play by celebrated Kiwi playwright Gary Henderson, written in 1998, is an intriguing psychological study of the innermost private depths of the human condition, as mysteries often are. Precisely ‘what is this mystery?’ is the initial overriding mystery: a defensive young man is being interrogated by an officious investigator about a serious incident the previous night. But why? [more]

See also reviews by:
 Janet McAllister (New Zealand Herald);

ALBERT BLACK JUKEBOX KILLER at The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
reviewed by Johnny Givins 30 Jul 2014
Infectious commitment and energy
Albert Black tells of a young Belfast boy who survives the WWII Blitz and death of his father to become, at 19, a ‘10 Pound Pom’ immigrant to NZ. Importantly Albert Black is a Bodgie; just the sight of him enflames the conservative NZ society. Albert tells his story directly to the audience. He is charming, naughty, with Irish lilt and sparkling eye. [more]

NO MAN'S LAND at Shed 1, Corban Estate Arts Centre, Auckland
reviewed by Bronwyn Elsmore 30 Jul 2014
Deepening storylines in polished production
An onion field in West Auckland is hardly the place to go on a chilly winter night. Neither is the venue for this play, I’ve been there before, and it’s pretty much that: a shed. But I’m hoping the story is warming and worth leaving the comfort of home for. It has the necessary ingredients to make it so: the playwright Suli Moa has proved himself with two earlier plays (Kingdom of Lote, and A Heart’s Path), and the cast and Director are all well trained in Toi Whaakari New Zealand Drama School. As it turns out, my hopes are not only met, but exceeded. [more]

reviewed by Ruth Allison 28 Jul 2014
Much more than our money’s worth
Liz Kirkman brings American Jazz singer of the ’50s Anita O’Day to life with a full repertoire of fifteen songs and a narrative told through an imagined conversation mainly with her mother. The spirit and vulnerability of O’Day is captured in the constant battle O’Day had with her mother and the father she never really knew but mostly with her producers over her wish to sing her own way. She may have been known as the Jezebel of Jazz but she was also the queen of improvisation. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Michael Wray
 Gail Tresidder (Nelson Mail);

THE GOOD SOUL OF SZECHUAN at Q Theatre, Rangatira, Auckland
reviewed by Lexie Matheson 28 Jul 2014
Funny, outrageous, unpleasant at times yet very moving
It’s only with the appearance of Malcolm’s alter-ego Shui Ta that we realise just what a fabulous transformational actor Malcolm is. The characters are poles apart and it’s hard to believe that they’re created by the same actor, often in almost the same breath. This production is so incredibly good – ATC’s best for yonks – that to say Malcolm’s performance alone is worth the ticket price is to minimise the whole but there, I’ve said it anyway and I’m happy to stand by it. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Paul Simei-Barton (New Zealand Herald);
 James Wenley (TheatreScenes: The Auckland Theatre Blog);

CONSTELLATIONS at Circa Two, Wellington
reviewed by John Smythe 28 Jul 2014
Variations on a relationship
Initially it seems he’s tossing around different options for how a relationship might start when Marianne and Roland meet at a barbecue, and the actors – Erin Banks and Richard Dey, in this Rachael Lenart-directed production at Circa Theatre – are testing the options for him. But of course the variations are the point, although her opening gambit about licking elbows remains a constant. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Laurie Atkinson

FALL AND RECOVERY at Hagley Open Stage, Christchurch
reviewed by Sheree Bright 28 Jul 2014
Sheryl Robinson's legacy celebrated in style
Thisperformance of Fall and Recovery celebrated her legacy and raised funds for the Sheryl Robinson Memorial Scholarship which is awarded every year towards tertiary study to a current or former member of the Hagley Dance Company. The evening featured works from Rebound Dance Company, Hagley Theatre Company, Hagley Dance Company, graduates and professional dancers. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Paul Young

AN AWFULLY BIG ADVENTURE at Hannah Playhouse (previously Downstage), Wellington
reviewed by John Smythe 27 Jul 2014
Entertainingly potent and poignant
Ignorance, naiveté and an engaging inquisitiveness are the keynotes for the start of An Awfully Big Adventure, devised and developed over nearly three years through “a huge collaborative effort from many artists … guided by [director] Leo Gene Peters,” according to Capital E National Theatre for Children’s Creative Producer Stephen Blackburn. [more]

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM at Globe Theatre, Dunedin
reviewed by Terry MacTavish 26 Jul 2014
Delicious wavering between delicate illusion and rude reality
The Globe’s tribe of eager young actors is set to enchant a new generation with this wildly enthusiastic production of Shakespeare’s completely perfect comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The overflowing auditorium is buzzing with the friends who have flocked to see them, theatrical and totally non-theatrical types, inspired by the lively Facebook page which has tantalised with such delights as ‘prequels’ – from aspirational audition tapes, to a back-story for Helena and Hermia charmingly filmed in the Botanic Gardens. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Barbara Frame (Otago Daily Times);

KISS THE FISH at Forum North, Whangarei
reviewed by David Stevens 26 Jul 2014
Warmed by Indian sun, vitality and imagination
If my mood is somewhat winter grumpy, that changes within minutes of Kiss the Fish starting. Happily, the theatre is full and I soon have a great big smile on my face (initially charmed by a group of chattering monkeys), and I do not stop smiling for one second of the next two and a half hours. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Mark Houlahan
 Nik Smythe
 Sharu Delilkan (TheatreScenes - the Auckland Theatre Blog);
 Paul Simei-Barton (New Zealand Herald);
 Simon Wilson (Metro Arts);
 John Smythe
 Laurie Atkinson (The Dominion Post);
 Gail Tresidder
 Karen Beaumont

Chat Back
"The Hobbit legislation has now become an election issue: Labour's work policy includes "restore the right of ..." - Editor   [read full forum post]

"Thank you for your review, John (i particularly appreciate the deliberate obliqueness) You are right to muse y..." - Rachel Lenart   [read full comment]

"By which you mean no woman characters, I take it, Hannah. And yes, good point. There were none in Once on Chun..." - John Smythe   [read full comment]

"I really enjoyed the show, but I was suprised (and a bit disappointed) that there were no women in it at all." - Hannah Smith   [read full comment]

"I saw this play on opening night and was completely captivated. The transition between characters vis voice an..." - sarah jane   [read full comment]

"If so - would it be a blessing or a curse ? Discuss." - james packman   [read full forum post]

"This production does everything it should with real flair.  I am particularly impressed with the way the ..." - John Smythe   [read full comment]

"Thanks Dan, fixed now - and my apology for not picking it up at the time." - Editor   [read full comment]

"Thanks for a lovely review. Important to note that the grandma in this season is played by Hamish Parkinson, n..." - Dan Bain   [read full comment]

"This is a very clear rendition of OTHELLO. I discover things I haven’t realised before and some of the i..." - John Smythe   [read full comment]

"Thanks for taking the time to respond to my comment Candice, I really do appreciate it and the points that you..." - Christopher Stratton   [read full comment]

"Hi Christopher, I also wondered about these portrayals. I deliberately didn't say too much about much of the d..." - Candice Lewis   [read full comment]

29 Jul 2014 - TIMON OF ATHENS auditions, Wellington, 13 & 14/9 New Zealand's first production of Shakespeare's Timon of Athens in 150 years! Want to know how a city’s most popular and successful man can end up bankrupt and destitute? The Summer Shakespeare Trust is thrilled to announce that 2015’s Victoria University of Wellington Summer Shakespeare will be Timon of Athens, directed by Brett Adam, Head of Directing at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School.   [more]

27 Jul 2014 - The Bacchanals are taking Dean Parker's ONCE WE BUILT A TOWER to the South Island The Bacchanals are a multi-award winning company based in Wellington, dedicated to exploring text-based theatre, redefining classic works, and ensuring that theatre remains a place for social, spiritual, political and psychological debate. The Bacchanals believe that theatre should be accessible to all - economically, intellectually and geographically - and that audiences should be able to access theatre outside of the main centres.   [more]

21 Jul 2014 - ELIZABETH O'CONNOR 1956-2014 It is with great sadness that we note the passing of Elizabeth O’Connor, a theatre stalwart of Christchurch, a valued teacher, scholar, dramaturge, Literary Manager at the Court Theatre and a sometime reviewer for Theatreview and Radio NZ.   [more]

18 Jul 2014 - ARTIST FORUM The Performance Arcade 2015 Sunday 27 July, 2pm-4pm at The Hub, Toi Poneke, Abel Smith Street, Wellington. The Playground is running an informal artist forum and workshop for anyone applying to be part of The Performance Arcade 2015 or who is interested in making a contribution to the event.   [more]

17 Jul 2014 - SUMMER SHAKESPEARE (Wellington) 2015: Timon of Athens Marketing and Publicity Manager   [more]

17 Jul 2014 - SUMMER SHAKESPEARE WELLINGTON 2015 SEEKS STAGE MANAGER SUMMER SHAKESPEARE (Wellington) 2015: Timon of Athens   [more]

16 Jul 2014 - FEEDBACK REQUESTED TO AUCKLAND COUNCIL’S DRAFT ARTS & CULTURE STRATEGIC ACTION PLAN by 4pm 24/07 Auckland Council published the Draft Arts & Culture Strategic Action Plan (ACSAP) on Monday 22 June and has invited written feedback and input on the Draft Plan. Submissions close at 4pm Thursday 24 July. A copy of the summary of the Draft Plan is available online here – and printed copies are now at libraries and Local Board offices across Auckland.   [more]

14 Jul 2014 - Te Kura Toi Whakaari o Aotearoa New Zealand Drama School We're hitting the Auckland! Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School is heading up to the 'big smoke' this August! We'll be getting in touch with individual schools very shortly, if you'd like us to visit your school feel free to get in touch with us as well ...   [more]