New Zealand theatre reviews, performace reviews and performing arts directory



New Zealand professional theatre & dance: reviews, news and your views

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Latest Theatre and Performance Reviews
THE 5 STAR COMEDY PREVIEW 2014 at SKYCITY Theatre, Auckland
reviewed by Andy Manning 24 Apr 2014
Varied, short and punchy
The stars are out tonight as I step into the gaudily lit SkyCity Theatre to have a peek at the upcoming international acts in The 5 Star Comedy Preview 2014. However, ’tis not the stars of Hollywood that pack out the 700 seat theatre; no brash Americans tread the boards with their smutty puns and outlandish laughs. No, tonight, old chaps, is a night of Britannia. [more]


ABSURDITIES at Gryphon, Wellington
reviewed by Charlotte Simmonds 24 Apr 2014
Fun for adolescents too
If Sam Beckett and Jean Paul Sartre were born in New Zealand in the 90s, met each other at uni and then decided to write a skit show together, I suppose it could look something like this. Sometimes the skits have punchlines and at other times they’re just pure absurdist theatre. [more]

See also reviews by:
 John Smythe

Photo by Heli Sorjonen
THE PIANIST at Circa Two, Wellington
reviewed by John Smythe 23 Apr 2014
A sublimely extraordinary tour-de-catastrophe
The concert pianist is a brilliant persona to bring into the realm of clowning, acrobatics and other circus genres. His default air of cultured superiority and sophistication just aches to be compromised by a clown’s compulsion to stuff it up in the process of pursuing excellence – which of course involves a whole new level of excellence. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Gail Tresidder
 Gin Mabey
 Uther Dean
 Laurie Atkinson (The Dominion Post);

CINDERELLA MEETS ALADDIN at Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch
reviewed by Erin Harrington 23 Apr 2014
Lively, dynamic, entertaining
Dan Bain’s lively direction is dynamic and entertaining. While the play features a smattering of the expected sight gags, Bain also offers some lovely visual moments, such as the connections formed between Cinderella and Aladdin through movement and gesture at the play’s opening. There is a lot going on in this show but it is tied together cleanly, and it’s really nice to come to a play like this and be genuinely surprised. [more]


RACECARS VS CUPCAKES at Gryphon, Wellington
reviewed by John Smythe 22 Apr 2014
Liberating kids from gender limitations
Writer-director Moana Ete and Kapitall Kids Theatre (KKT) are to be congratulated for producing an entirely original play for children that doesn’t come pre-branded with the title of a well-known folk tale or favourite children’s book. It’s a risk few companies are prepared to take, marketing-wise, but creating a play from scratch does bring special benefits. [more]


Photo by Stephen A'Court
OTHER DESERT CITIES at Circa One, Wellington
reviewed by John Smythe 21 Apr 2014
Astutely crafted to explode secrets
Moral dilemma, political allegory and something to play out in our imaginations after the final scene: these are three things I love in a play and Other Desert Cities delivers all three superbly in this impeccably-cast Circa production directed by Ross Jolly. Given Jon Robin Baitz, the playwright, created the TV series Brothers & Sisters, which ran for five seasons, and wrote episodes of The West Wing, it is no surprise that the family dynamics are riven with ambivalence, the dialogue is both loving and challenging, and the mix is potent. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Laurie Atkinson (The Dominion Post);

MR MCGEE & THE BITING FLEA at Hannah Playhouse (previously Downstage), Wellington
reviewed by John Smythe 20 Apr 2014
Great pleasure all round
The harmonised singing – often a cappella, sometimes with recorded backing, other times accompanied by the actors on guitar or ukulele – is sublime (composer, Timothy Sexton; musical director, Michael Nicholas Williams) and it often carries much of the story. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Laurie Atkinson (The Dominion Post);

Credit: Evan Li
COPPELIA at St James Theatre, Wellington
reviewed by Deirdre Tarrant 19 Apr 2014
Sumptuous sentimentalism
The company has many ensemble pieces and are in exuberant mood and strong. The opening act Czardas in particular fills the stage with Hungarian élan. The Townspeople and leads have some stunning lifts in Act 1. The key roles are well cast to tell the story with Sir Jon Trimmer an entertaining and irrepressible Dr Coppelius. [more]


BADJELLY THE WITCH at 4 Moncrieff St., Mt. Victoria, Wellington
reviewed by John Smythe 19 Apr 2014
An excellent holiday investment
What a polished production this is, presented with such assurance that the fun of it takes full flight. Director Daniel Pengelly has assembled a top-flight cast and crew to deliver a quality version of Alannah O’Sullivan’s adaptation of Spike Milligan’s Badjelly the Witch with just four actors and some cleverly manifested creatures and effects. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Laurie Atkinson (The Dominion Post);

THE WATER STATION at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
reviewed by John Smythe 17 Apr 2014
Rich in metaphor
It is almost unheard of for plays devised by companies to be reproduced by other companies even when they result in written scripts (think SEEyD Company, Indian Ink, Red Leap …). Even more unexpected is that a devised play without words from Japan, albeit a classic, would find new life in Aotearoa New Zealand. It has also been produced in India and Singapore. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Laurie Atkinson (The Dominion Post);

VICE at The Basement Studio, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
reviewed by Nik Smythe 16 Apr 2014
Revels in abnormal behaviour
When a mysterious shadowy man with no face in a smart suit takes your ticket and directs you up a graffiti-art covered back stairway festooned with beer crates, wine bottle candles, exotic dolls and such, into a room with a stark white stage where the cast of seven lurk awkwardly and wistfully and so on, and the auditorium floor, walls and half the ceiling thickly papered with thousands of pages of advertising junk mail using sticky tape, it’s fair to assume that what ensues probably won’t be typical, usual or normal. [more]

See also reviews by:
 James Wenley (TheatreScenes: The Auckland Theatre Blog);

COLT at Suter Theatre, Nelson
reviewed by Janet Whittington 15 Apr 2014
Phenomenal work
The degree of physical complexity builds into a series of stunning poses, romantic, tender, requiring great strength and skill from the performers. Sarah-Foster Sproull’s direction and choreography augmented by the dancers own input is acknowledged in the opening credits of the programme. Her thoughts about community are portrayed by the community spirit that went into this phenomenal piece. I think this combined choreography is what finally lifts this performance into a class of its own and validates Foster-Sproull’s concept. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Jonathan W. Marshall

Chat Back
"This just in direct from Kati Mantere the costume designer in Finland (in response to Thom's enquiry as to wha..." - Editor   [read full comment]

"I feel I should add, to better represent the play without giving the surprises away, that the moral dilemmas i..." - John Smythe   [read full comment]

"I have no problem perceiving the premise of the production and its title. Wake Up Tomorrow captures the half-d..." - John Smythe   [read full comment]

"It's worth noting that Plato's 'Apology of Socrates' was what we would now call an apologia. This from Wikiped..." - John Smythe   [read full comment]

"Thanks for the critique, Vanessa. Much appreciated. Just for the sake of clarity though, Chris O'Connor compos..." - Gary Henderson   [read full comment]

"To be honest Lexie, I barely see his lips moving when I can see his face.  That's why it's harder to tell..." - nik smythe   [read full forum post]

"Another goodie can be seen here: http://www.listener.co.nz/current-affairs/politics/geoff-robinson-linked-wit..." - Michael Smythe   [read full forum post]

"Thank you all for the great contributions - some very good laughs in there. Let's see how much proves to be pr..." - John Smythe   [read full forum post]

"Jeeze Wain we've been off the wagon for donkeys." - Jim Gilbert   [read full forum post]

"Oh dear me. I don’t suppose that Labour lot care two hoots about the Eketahuna & Environs Gilbert &a..." - Muriel Wainwright   [read full forum post]

"I, also, have been communicating with Winston. I asked him some pertinent questions and his response was 'read..." - Lexie Matheson   [read full forum post]

"The list seems to have overlooked the Aotearoa Gucci Socialist Right-to-Party-After-All-Live-Performance-Event..." - Linda Ashley   [read full forum post]


News
22 Apr 2014 - Victoria University of Wellington SUMMER SHAKESPEARE 2015 CALL FOR DIRECTORS The Victoria University of Wellington Summer Shakespeare Trust is seeking a director for the 2015 Summer Shakespeare Production. Directors will be asked to choose from one of the following plays:   [more]

14 Apr 2014 - BATS THEATRE LIMITED NOTICE OF 20TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Notice is hereby given that the 20th Annual General Meeting of BATS Theatre Limited will be held at BATS Theatre, Corner of Cuba and Dixon Streets, Wellington, on Saturday 3rd May 2014 commencing at 2.00pm.   [more]

9 Apr 2014 - HELPING BATS FLY HOME The launch of BATS theatre’s fundraising campaign has taken off – with a bit of help from their friends. And with friends like theirs… An event last night hosted by Te Radar at Wellington’s latest waterfront venue, Shed 6, featured Fly My Pretties and, in a dream-come-true scenario, Flight of the Conchords.   [more]

9 Apr 2014 - 2014 READ RAW SEARCH FOR A GREAT PLAYSCRIPT Auckland Playwrights Collective & The Auckland Performing Arts Centre (TAPAC) announce The 2014 Read Raw Search for a Great PlayScript is now open   [more]

1 Apr 2014 - PERFORMING ARTS POLICIES FORESHADOWED As the General Election looms a political analyst has sifted through the mostly hard-to-find Arts policies of political parties and summarised the implications for the performing arts as follows...   [more]

29 Mar 2014 - ADAM NZ PLAY AWARDS 2014 The dilemmas of modern reproduction examined in award-winning play. IVF isn’t foolproof and IUDs aren’t failsafe. iPhones come with ovulation apps and being married doesn’t mean you have to breed. Seed follows four women as they try to get pregnant, stay pregnant or become un-pregnant.   [more]

25 Mar 2014 - THE PRIME MINISTER’S AWARDS FOR LITERATURE These awards recognise notable literary achievement and are offered to writers who have made a significant contribution to New Zealand literature. Individuals and organisations are invited to nominate writers for these awards.   [more]

24 Mar 2014 - DUNEDIN FRINGE 2014 AWARDS The 2014 Dunedin Fringe Festival has ended on a high note with an elaborate Awards Night at the Dunedin Railway Station. 14 awards were handed out at the ceremony that acknowledged the achievements of hundreds of participating artists. Increased ticket sales and a number of sold out shows has left Festival organisers up-beat about the future of the Festival.   [more]