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
Photo by Heli Sorjonen
THE PIANIST at Assembly, Roxy, Edinburgh, Scotland
reviewed by Dione Joseph 22 Aug 2014
Magic touch has huge appeal
There comes a point in the fringe festival when you can become quite cynical. Desperate in fact. And that's when I start bargaining with the theatre gods to save me. Luckily they seem to be in good humour. Because after a series of less-than-average theatre viewing I go to see The Pianist. [more]

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

ECHOLALIA at Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, Scotland
reviewed by Dione Joseph 22 Aug 2014
Strong contribution to contemporary clowning and the conversation about autism
Repetition is the key. But sometimes repetition can get monotonous. And sometimes it is necessary. Like saying hello to your pals every morning. Calling the recruitment agency for a possible job and then pretending the line is bad, only so you can call again. Making coffee. Dusting. It is these mundane activities that keep the world together in dedicated, recognisable beats. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Caoilinn Hughes
 Norelle Scott
 Robbie Nicol
 Toby Behan

STRANGE RESTING PLACES at Assemby, George Square, Edinburgh, Scotland
reviewed by Dione Joseph 21 Aug 2014
Beautifully constructed, creative and engaging
The tales told highlight the new friendships formed between many of the Maori and local Italians, the tragedy that the nearby monastery was bombed when there were only civilians taking refuge within its walls and, on a fundamentally human level, the fact that language and culture are not limitations to our understanding of the world – rather they create spaces to build new relationships that relocate our perspective outside our often myopic vision. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Kathryn van Beek
 John Smythe
 Ewen Coleman (The Dominion Post);
 Lynn Freeman (Capital Times);
 Melody Nixon (The Lumiere Reader);
 Lindsay Clark
 Sian Robertson
 Kate Ward-Smythe
 John Smythe (2)
 Lindsay Clark
 Nik Smythe

MUNTED at 4th Wall Theatre, New Plymouth
reviewed by Holly Shanahan 21 Aug 2014
Charming openness and commitment
The appeal of this piece is in its simplicity. Bare Hunt Collective present these stories / interviews as they were told, switching between characters and stories to create snapshot impressions of the different experiences of those involved or affected by one of NZ’s worst natural disasters. [more]

See also reviews by:
 John Smythe
 Laurie Atkinson (The Dominion Post);
 Lynn Freeman (Capital Times);
 Lindsay Clark
 Robert Gilbert
 Stephen Austin
 Matt Baker (Theatre Scenes - Auckland Theatre Blog);
 Mark Houlahan

ON THE UPSIDE-DOWN OF THE WORLD at Assembly, Roxy, Edinburgh, Scotland
reviewed by Dione Joseph 21 Aug 2014
Interrogating multiple selves
It is always her version of history – more appropriately 'herstory' – that we are invited to listen to and it is through her lens that we become witnesses to a tale fraught with the challenges of immigration to a new land: two completely different value systems in conflict and a maternal tenderness that locates this story very firmly within the female and feminised world. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Nik Smythe
 John Smythe
 Lynn Freeman (Capital Times);
 Vanessa Byrnes
 Gail Pittaway
 Gail Tresidder
 Pip Harker
 Candice Lewis
 Erin Harrington
 Alison Walls
 Brenda Rae Kidd

SUNSET ROAD at Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland
reviewed by Vanessa Byrnes 21 Aug 2014
Clarity, mystery and presence
It’s the opening night of a new New Zealand play* and my companion and I enter with great expectations. This is a beautifully produced work with an expert team from Tawata Productions behind it. Miria George’s new play promises much in its anticipation, but for my money doesn’t really deliver the punch it seeks. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Sharu Delilkan (TheatreScenes: The Auckland Theatre Blog);

ALLEGRO: FIVE SHORT BALLETS at Civic Theatre, Invercargill
reviewed by Kasey Dewar 21 Aug 2014
Audience whooping well deserved
The final performance of the night is Megalopolis, also choreographed by Larry Keigwin. The costume designs are by Fritz Mason and are by far my favourite of the night – each dancer’s costume is different and features a combination of black, sparkles and an amazing looking wetsuit-like grey material. The scene is so well conveyed in this piece – fluoro bar lights on the back wall mimic a club atmosphere and the bright light works well to hide the dancers gathering at the back of the stage. The dancing pitches blocks of very formal group movement to Steve Reich’s Six Marimbas contrasted against blasting club songs by MIA with sassy finger waggling individuals. It’s easy to see the dancers are having fun with this piece – I couldn’t see one dancer who wasn’t into all the shimmying and flourishing which was awesome. This piece is the perfect way to end the evening’s performance on a high and the applause and whooping from the audience was well deserved at the end. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Jenny Stevenson
 Bernadette Rae (NZ Herald);
 Debbie Bright
 Kim Buckley
 Ann Hunt (The Dominion Post);
 Lyne Pringle

TAKE BACK THE HOOD at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
reviewed by Sophie Melchior 20 Aug 2014
Personal and powerful insight
Little Red Riding Hood is pissed off and she isn’t going to take it any more. From the moment that Deborah Eve Rea takes the stage as Little Red Riding Hood you know that this isn’t a soft interpretation of the classic fairy tale. Red has taken to the road to make sure the truth about her story gets out. [more]

See also reviews by:
 James McKinnon
 Lori Leigh
 Terry MacTavish
 John Ross

EDINBURGH FRINGE 2014 WRAP #2 at Various Fringe venues, Edinburgh, Scotland
reviewed by Dione Joseph 20 Aug 2014
Illuminating; Frustratingly safe; A clipped classic; Powerful interrogation
RACE by David Mamet Race has had many different iterations. Audiences may be familiar with the London, Broadway or the South Africa productions (and there are others as well) but this year's Fringe reincarnation as part of the South African season is different – and once again adds to the list a rather unique rendition of how we engage, explore and debate race. [more]


DOG at The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
reviewed by Stephen Austin 20 Aug 2014
Heart-breaking and sobering situational comedy
... writer Ben Hutchison has meticulously created a socially conscious realist comedy that’s as concerned with its wider themes as it is with the welfare of the day-to-day workings of the inner lives of its three characters. Out of disparate, oddly paired people, he crafts a story that packs plenty of emotional wallop in its tail, while never going overboard on the sentimental. In fact it’s just the right balance of well-observed Kiwi naturalism, packed full of sub-text that director Jeff Szusterman taps into to pull it all together with excellent purpose and detail, making this emotionally engrossing work sing so well. [more]

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

CHOICE!! at Meteor Theatre, Hamilton
reviewed by Ross MacLeod 17 Aug 2014
Darkly surreal
There’s the brightly coloured, multi layered set, packed to the brim like a hidden object puzzle. There’s the hyperactive, exaggerated characters in weird costumes going about over-the-top renditions of everyday life. There’s the surreal drift between scenes. And there’s the message – here one of consumerism – ever present but most of the time held back from feeling heavy handed by sharp writing and strong performances. [more]


HAIRSPRAY at SKYCITY Theatre, Auckland
reviewed by Kate Ward-Smythe 17 Aug 2014
Fun-filled upbeat entertainment in a can
While my 10 and 11-year-old companions adore Hairspray from start to finish, and are captivated by the costumes and larger than life characters, for me it is a rare moment of pathos that will resonate louder and longer than all other offerings. Lavina Williams’ gospel lament ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’ is heartfelt, vocally stunning and wins the night. [more]

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

Chat Back
"SPADA and EQUITY NZ strike a deal over 'Hobbit Law'. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&..." - Editor   [read full forum post]

"Thanks John, I got it.   BUT! I checked out a number of reviews, followed the titles back to the web-si..." - Ian Mune   [read full forum post]

"Hi Ian. Sometimes if you go to the production page (click on the production title at the top of the review) yo..." - Editor   [read full forum post]

"The reviews are so informative and show us the amazing quality and scale of NZ Theatre.   ANY CHANCE of..." - Ian Mune   [read full forum post]

"Hi Chris, Apologies about that but I was in a no-win situation at the time and so followed the programme note..." - Linda Ashley   [read full comment]

"Remedied - thank you. The reviewer replies that without reference to the programme notes she assumed that the ..." - Editor   [read full comment]

"As much as I enjoyed this review. The hotel was set in Paris not Berlin. There was even an Eiffel tower in the..." - zooley   [read full comment]

"This from Mark Lawson in The Guardian: Because of the ticket-selling power of the film star Anne Archer, you ..." - Editor   [read full comment]

"Fear not, MR, "the conversations between Bryan and (Hadlow playing) his desperate, needy penis as a character"..." - Editor   [read full comment]

"Does he play his penis, as in "play with" or "pretend to be". I guess I want to clarify how much actual live p..." - MR   [read full comment]

"Now corrected, Chris. Fantastic music, so variegated and sensitive to what is going on between the performers...." - Raewyn Whyte   [read full comment]

"Hi Linda, If its not too much trouble, would you mind correcting my last name in this review? Its Chris O'Con..." - Chris O'Connor   [read full comment]


News
12 Aug 2014 - DUNEDIN FRINGE REGISTRATION DATES AND ARTIST FUNDING ANNOUNCED The Dunedin Fringe Festival will be back in 2015 with another incredibly entertaining programme of artistic experimentation and any artist can be part of it. As an open access Festival we welcome all artists and all art forms. Anyone can register an event and be part of our next Festival which runs from 12-22 March.   [more]

7 Aug 2014 - KISS THE FISH ticket giveaways for special Auckland shows Go in the draw to win a double pass to Indian Ink’s KISS THE FISH at Q Theatre (Auckland) on either Friday 29th or Saturday 30th August Directed by Justin Lewis / Written by Jacob Rajan and Justin Lewis Starring Jacob Rajan, Nisha Madhan, Julia Croft, James Roque, Dave Ward Be part of the magic, as INDIAN INK return to Q THEATRE for a special recording of their hit show.   [more]

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 http://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/taking-dean-parker%27s-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]