New Zealand theatre reviews, performace reviews and performing arts directory

New Zealand professional theatre & dance: reviews, news and your views
Contributing constructively to the continuing conversation...

Centrepoint: 40 years of professional theatre in the Manawatu [more]
WILLEM WASSENAAR photographic tributes [more]  

NZ Improv Festival (Wellington) 28/10-1/11

RNZB: new Artistic Director appointed; 2015 programme announced
THE NEW ZEALAND ARTS AWARDS 3 Nov 2014 – On Sale Now [more

The 2015 PANNZ Market will be held in Auckland, 9-11 March 2015, apply by 31/10 [more
DUNEDIN FRINGE 2015, register by 31/10  2014 [more]

The Performance Arcade 2015, Wellington – Call for Internships,
apply by 31/10 [more]
DUFFY BOOKS IN HOMES seeks 6 ACTORS for 2015 NATIONAL TOUR, register interest by 12/11 [more]
Stage Manager, THE COURT THEATRE Christchurch, apply by 24/11 [more] 

Latest Theatre and Performance Reviews
CONARTISTS OLIVER TWISTED at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
reviewed by Alex Wilson 31 Oct 2014
Authentically grounded and monumentally silly
As pointed out by our effervescent host, Penny Ashton, Dickens is filled with larger-than-life characters and ConArtists do not disappoint, weaving a story filled to brim with Dickensian tropes of hidden identities, sudden turns of fortune and a hero undergoing a life of hardship, grief and toil. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Lexie Matheson

PLUS ONE at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
reviewed by Lori Leigh 31 Oct 2014
Delightful and satisfying
The show is divided into three segments, each featuring Haddad joined by one of his international scene partners. No musicians and no complicated premises or concepts here. The show is simply two actors meeting on an empty stage and playing from a place of listening, trust, and skill. [more]

IN THE PARLOUR at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
reviewed by Alex Wilson 31 Oct 2014
Truly a delight to hilariously flutter over trivialities
Anna Renzenbrink and Jenny Lovell play sisters Tilly and Flora Georgeson respectively: two delightful sisters from the small English country town of Cottesloe. Rezenbrink and Lovell have been developing these characters over the past three years and their time and dedication is on show. Tilly and Flora seem like they have stepped out of the pages of a Jane Austen novel. [more]

THE PAPER CINEMA’S ODYSSEY at Lower NZI, Level 1, Aotea Centre, Auckland
reviewed by Dione Joseph 31 Oct 2014
Sophisticated theatrical magic
Homer’s Odyssey is an epic journey that has become one of the touchstones of the literary canon. But at its heart is the journey of a father who wishes to reunite with his wife and son. Of course in true Homeric style the way home is scattered with obstacles that include monsters, unforgiving gods, descent into the underworld and ravenous suitors waiting to take his wife and kingdom – should he not return. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Reuben Hilder
 Barbara Frame (Otago Daily Times);
 Janet Whittington
 James Wenley (TheatreScenes: The Auckland Theatre Blog);

reviewed by Holly Shanahan 30 Oct 2014
A Variety Show with real class
Every time I have seen the Topp Twins it has been a total delight, and they certainly did not disappoint a full house at the TSB Showplace in New Plymouth (where they have had to add a show due to demand: go the Naki!). This show, however, differs from their standard format, playing out much more as a variety show, with some of the most talented country/blues performers NZ has to offer. [more]

Photo by Paul Lambert
LAST CHANCE CAFÉ at Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland LIVE, Auckland
reviewed by Cherie Moore 30 Oct 2014
A great sense of fun, openness and play
Each character in Last Chance Café is a creation of the actor playing that character. All are clearly defined, recognisable and sustained throughout the piece. Many are also very funny, and each seems to fit within this world and complement the others well. There is a strong sense of the ensemble at work and a true support of each other on stage. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Matt Baker (TheatreScenes: The Auckland Theatre Blog);

BLACK GRACE PRESENTS XMAS VERSES (2014) at Playhouse, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, Hamilton
reviewed by Debbie Bright 30 Oct 2014
Dance that sparkles with freshness, exuberance and wit
We are treated to a programme of projected moving and still images, humour, and high energy, high impact, high velocity dance. The first section is a video of the work Mother Mother (Music: Fat Freddy’s Drop), hugely energetic and fast with gaspingly high lifts and throws of dancers; this piece is then presented live as the danced finale. The rhythms are often toe-tappingly enjoyable. The dance is extreme in energy and accuracy. The audience’s response turns from giggling to outright laughter, particularly during the antics of boys who have had too much to drink, and the girls who try to manage them. All sections of the work are enhanced by back-dropped visuals featuring cleverly designed images of the company, and holiday and backyard scenes. These visuals, of course, add to the humour, atmosphere and general entertainment of the work. [more]

THE UNDERARM at Hannah Playhouse (previously Downstage), Wellington
reviewed by Maryanne Cathro 30 Oct 2014
Laughter with insight – and a chance to throw cans
It has been my experience of the middle-aged man that he does not express how he feels except under extreme duress. How appropriate then, that the action unfolds at the Basin Reserve between two middle-aged brothers, trying to fill in time after the catastrophic news that the start of the test has been delayed for an hour. Duress indeed! [more]

LE FRANGLAIS IMPROV COMEDY SHOW at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
reviewed by Shannon Friday 30 Oct 2014
A different kind of thinking
Bonus points of awesomeness for doing both languages at the same time. Because that's one of improv's key drivers: the people working so hard in front of you might just fail spectacularly. Sometimes you're here to watch a train wreck; conversely you might hope for a miracle. [more]

PANTO at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
reviewed by Alex Wilson 30 Oct 2014
Infectious reckless abandon
Pantomimes are a carnival. They offer a liminal space where tyrants can be mocked, fools are our heroes and the audience can come together as an infantile mass to celebrate all that is vulgar, admonish all that is uncharitable and break any sense of theatrical decorum with shouts of “He’s behind you!” [more]

THE MAP at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
reviewed by Shannon Friday 30 Oct 2014
Great setup compromised by not accepting audience offers
This show has such a great setup. At the beginning of the night, we as an audience get to make a map. This map will form the landscape for the scenes the rest of the night. I love the engagement with the crowd and openness to suggestions. After an early split between a hot and a cold location, we wind up with a tropical island, complete with a geyser, shipwreck, a giant lagoon, a tribal village surrounded by magically-unmelted snow, and a cave of snakes. [more]

Photo by Douglas Chubb
BLUE STOCKINGS at The Long Hall, Roseneath, Wellington
reviewed by John Smythe 29 Oct 2014
As enlightening as it is entertaining
Who knew? I didn’t. Having now seen this splendid play, it seems astonishing ‘The Battling of the Blue Stockings’ – note: battling not battle – (1896-1948) is not as lodged in our consciousness as the countless other events that brought fundamental change to Britain back when we still called it ‘home’. [more]

Chat Back
"A minor correction: I was in the aerobics love triangle scene, but the set up was by Laura Irish :) " - Jennifer O'Sullivan   [read full comment]

"I am pleased that the critics of my review connected more with this production of Anne Boleyn than I did,..." - Richard Howard Reviewer   [read full comment]

"I'm not going to complain about the review, the individual above me has said anything and everything that is m..." - Stephaine   [read full comment]

"This review is highly unprofessional, and makes about as much sense as a film reviewer writing about how Trans..." - Baffled Community Theatre Member   [read full comment]

"The skill of director Jonathan Alver has now been acknowledged in this review. Apologies for missing it in the..." - Editor   [read full comment]

"Many thanks Jennifer for a perceptive review. People can find about/contact details at http://peaceandloveina..." - Bronwyn Judge   [read full comment]

"My friend and I thoroughly enjoyed this performance, which was vibrant and exciting, and just the sort of new ..." - classical lass   [read full comment]

"Thank you Rachael - As noted at the end of the review, production information may also be found by clickin..." - Editor   [read full comment]

"Hello, I am the general Manager/Producer for Okareka Dance Company and I must appologise for the lack of prog..." - Rachael Penman   [read full comment]

"Dear Geni Thank you for reading my review thoughtfully! It is always a relief when us reviewers actually feel..." - Linda Ashley   [read full comment]

" I am not in agreement with lumping the five (I counted only 5) performances in the Prime Program as some..." - geni   [read full comment]

"For my Realtime Australia review of Dan Belton's Satellites, see:-" - Dr Jonathan W Marshall   [read full comment]

31 Oct 2014 - CENTREPOINT: FORTY YEARS OF PROFESSIONAL THEATRE IN THE MANAWATU Centrepoint Theatre in Palmerston North is celebrating its 40th anniversary, as New Zealand’s only professional theatre outside the main centres. To celebrate the anniversary, novelist, playwright and actor Peter Hawes has written a history of Centrepoint, which will be published online, and in a limited, hard copy version. An illustrated calendar, based on the history, will also be sold to help raise funds for the theatre.   [more]

31 Oct 2014 - Stage Manager – THE COURT THEATRE Applications are invited for the position of Stage Manager at The Court Theatre in Christchurch starting late in 2014. The Court Theatre is an established theatre company creating at least 15 productions each year. The Stage Manager is responsible for preparing for rehearsals, attending all rehearsals and performances as well as assisting in all areas of the theatre as required.   [more]

24 Oct 2014 - The 2015 PANNZ Market will be held in Auckland, 9-11 March 2015. Applications are now open for pitch spots. If successful, Artists/Producers have 10 minutes to profile their work with audio visual support. This is a curated programme of tour ready work.   [more]

23 Oct 2014 - DUFFY BOOKS IN HOMES are looking for six actors to join our 2015 national tour of 'The Duffy Show' Tour Information: 'The Duffy Show' consists of two Auckland-based teams (three actors in each team) to tour for a period of approximately ten months travelling from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island. Performing in Duffy schools with audience sizes ranging from 10 to 400, this is a great way to see the country while practising your craft and getting paid.   [more]

14 Oct 2014 - A NEW FUTURE FOR THE KATHERINE MANSFIELD MENTON FELLOWSHIP The Winn-Manson Menton Trust has joined with the Arts Foundation of New Zealand to set up a permanent capital fund that will secure New Zealand's iconic Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship for the future.   [more]

9 Oct 2014 - TROLLS, DRAGONS AND MAJOR LIFE DECISIONS The annual PLAYMARKET PLAYS FOR THE YOUNG competition attracts submissions of the most innovative, provocative and original NZ plays for young people. Previous winners of the competition, now in its sixth year, include Sarah Delahunty, Richard Finn, Joey Moncarz, Emily Duncan, Holly Gooch and Stephanie Matuku. PLAYMARKET, the agency and service organisation for New Zealand playwrights, is delighted to announce the winning playwrights and we congratulate them and all who submitted.   [more]

8 Oct 2014 - WILLEM WASSENAAR photographic tributes WILLEM WASSENAAR died in Holland last weekend. He was a galvanising force in the Wellington theatre scene. Will we ever see his like again?   [more]

7 Oct 2014 - The Performance Arcade 2015, Wellington – Call for Internships The Performance Arcade is inviting people to get involved in the 2015 Arcade, with registrations for Internships now open. The Performance Arcade takes place 18-22 February 2015. An Arcade Internship is an opportunity to work in a professional environment on a large-scale dynamic arts event. The Arcade team is experienced in developing roles for interns and ensuring that the experience will be of benefit to your future career. Interns are a valued part of the Arcade team.   [more]