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...

Photo by Liesha Ward Knox

Playmarket Plays for the Young – 2014 winners
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]

Latest Theatre and Performance Reviews
THE BOOKBINDER at St Peters at Founders Park, Nelson
reviewed by Melanie Stewart 25 Oct 2014
Creative storytelling at its best
The story is told through a clever combination of narration, puppetry, shadows, and a pop-up storybook. McCubbin Howell plays all roles, flowing from one character to the other with ease, including manipulating countless props that represent a variety of people, objects and places. [more]

See also reviews by:
 John Smythe
 Laurie Atkinson (The Dominion Post);
 Terry MacTavish

THE STATUS OF BEING at Hannah Playhouse (previously Downstage), Wellington
reviewed by Sam Trubridge 25 Oct 2014
provocation, polemicism, playfulness, physicality
The really stand-out sequences occur in the third act when the dancers occupy individual movement spaces on stage, thrashing and dancing freely to the music with wonderful abandon. They collapse from time to time, falling always close enough to catch one another. As this desperate and jubilant sequence develops, the bodies condense, knotting together tighter and tighter, until they form a large embrace. There is something hopeful and incredibly beautiful here when the dancers, the audience, and the choreographer lose themselves in a moment and entertain some possibility that despite all the political angst - there is maybe something that can be done. But of course it must fall apart. So the knot of bodies separates as the dancers begin to tangle and climb on one another, maintaining elaborate conversations as they do. [more]

See also reviews by:
 val smith
 Bernadette Rae (NZ Herald);
 Debbie Bright
 Holly Shanahan

BLACK FAGGOT at Suter Theatre, Nelson
reviewed by Gail Tresidder 25 Oct 2014
Brave and powerful with large doses of humour and humanity
Rave reviews from all over: two booked out performances here, the first ending with a stand-up ovation. A latish start – some wag called out “it must be island time” – and into the hurly-burly of Auckland Samoan life we catapult. No props, a bare stage, snatches of music from here and there with lighting to set the mood – and two very fine actors: Iaheto Ah Hi and Taofia Pelesasa. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Naomi Cohen
 Matt Baker (Theatre Scenes - Auckland Theatre Blog);
 Cameron Woodhead (The Sydney Morning Herald);
 Ewen Coleman (The Dominion Post);
 John Smythe
 Johnny Givins
 Dione Joseph

OUT OF THE BOX HIP HOP SHOWCASE (2014) at Q Theatre, Rangatira, Auckland
reviewed by Kerry Wallis 24 Oct 2014
Way beyond the norm for hip hop
‘Influencing Development’, choreographed by Joshua Cesan is a personal favourite of mine. Four dancers starting in a spotlight, one moves forward and is instantly manipulated by the other three dancers as if on a mechanical production line. A bigger group of male performers joins them and the production line becomes 12 strong. Cesan moves naturally down the line while being manipulated by all the performers. When the line repeats, one by one, the rest of the production line falls behind and they all use mechanical sounds to replicate the machinery. An absorbing beginning to change formation. The idea of influence continues well throughout the work and there are arrays of contrasting movements, which are appealing to the eye. [more]

THE MALL at Allen Hall Theatre, University of Otago, Dunedin
reviewed by Alison Embleton 24 Oct 2014
The comedy and horror of consumerism, commercialism and violence
The main storyline follows Dean, a depressed and increasingly unstable chain cinema employee who works in the titular mall. Dean shares his inner thoughts and daily grind with the audience through diary entries. Frustrated by his lack of purpose and inability to motivate himself beyond basic tasks his story grows and morphs from mundane and bitterly comedic to utterly horrifying. [more]

Photo by Jem Cresswell
SPIEGELWORLD EMPIRE at Horncastle Hub at Horncastle Arena, Addington, Christchurch
reviewed by Matt Powell 24 Oct 2014
Sexy, sumptuous, spectacular
From the minute we walk into the beautifully appointed Spiegeltent, the performers are all around us, between us, and on top of us, inviting us to play with them as they dance, juggle, take selfies, and suggestively peel carrots. They are testing the boundaries of a fresh audience, yes, but also blurring the line between the show as rehearsed, and the instance of its performance. The stage itself is tiny, but we are drawn into it. [more]

BACK OF THE BUS at Founders Heritage Park, Nelson
reviewed by Janet Whittington 23 Oct 2014
Inspired and inspiring bus ride performance
This performance is truly unique. Almost every patron is included in the performance at some stage, so is not for the faint hearted or the professional by-stander in life. The effect is very energising, most patrons chatting animatedly to new friends and strangers as the exited the bus. I see a growing audience for this calibre of interactive dance. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Lyne Pringle
 Helen Moore
 Kasey Dewar

THE ROAD THAT WASN'T THERE at Suter Theatre, Nelson
reviewed by Adrienne Matthews 23 Oct 2014
Multiple talents delight
Essentially this is a tale about following a dream. Maggie, played by Elle Wootton, is thought of by the local community as being demented. She is variously called a “cartographic criminal” and “typographic terrorist” due to her habit of stealing maps from everywhere she can, including books in the local library, but we soon realise that all she is trying to do is find again a map of long ago that showed a paper road. [more]

See also reviews by:
 John Smythe
 Ewen Coleman (The Dominion Post);
 Matt Baker (Theatre Scenes - Auckland Theatre Blog);
 Lexie Matheson
 Erin Harrington
 Barbara Frame (Otago Daily Times);
 Kimberley Buchan
 John Smythe (2)
 Laurie Atkinson (The Dominion Post);

TE MANU AHI (THE FIREBIRD) at ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland
reviewed by Dr Linda Ashley 22 Oct 2014
Celebrating dance and live music
Organising 140 children to enter and exit a stage once would be impressive but this dance relies on continual smooth transitions between a plethora of different groupings, and there is not one collision to be seen. Slowly forward moving rows of dancers, whirling circles, clusters using dancers on high, low and medium levels as if molten liquid glues them together. Also in the dancers’ timing, the trademark throws and catches amongst the groups, the various lifts and duet balances are carefully set-up amongst the waterfall of other movements so that they seem to appear from nowhere. Much of the large group vocabulary is undoubtedly simple running, jumps to falls, crawling, slithering, distorted creature shapes, side-to-side reaching, stretching up and down but wholly appropriate for the range of ages and abilities. [more]

FOR THE LOVE OF DANCE at Q Theatre, 305 Queen St, Auckland
reviewed by Kerry Wallis 22 Oct 2014
A world of love with bells and character finesse
In the first work, Romeo and Juliet, Amuthini Prasanna and Gopika Gnanakumar enter the stage in a beautiful fusion of cultures as they were traditional dress but show us the Shakespearean world by holding masks. AV shows different scenes within the dance and for a moment each individual character has an internal monologue expressed by voiceover talent in a spotlight. Both dancers are highly expressive and dance well together and when they have solo material. A strong duet with both dancers using the stage well. [more]

I’LL BE FINE at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
reviewed by John Smythe 22 Oct 2014
Playwright Ben Wilson is quick to declare his inspirations for this his first play were Eli Kent’s The Intricate Art of Actually Caring (which he saw) and Vivienne Plumb’s The Cape (which he read). He and Script Supervisor /Director Ryan Knighton have assembled many of the potentially potent ingredients of both ‘road trip’ plays and put them together in their own way without really understanding how those particular recipes work in principle to produce compelling performance. [more]

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

Chat Back
"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]

"Having witnessed the emergence of feminist political theatre – memorably Betty Can Jump at The Pram Fact..." - John Smythe   [read full comment]

"Yes, I saw the show in Auckland and agree with this review. I too was underwhelmed by what i thought would be ..." - Hannah McQuilkan   [read full comment]

"The most interesting thing about Trees Beneath the Lake for me – taking the exemplary writing, performan..." - John Smythe   [read full comment]

"On the advice of The Theatreview Trust this forum thread is now closed." - Editor   [read full forum post]

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]

3 Oct 2014 - NEW ZEALAND IMPROV FESTIVAL – a tasty theatrical treat The best of the nation’s talent spiced up with international flavour Towards the end of October the sixth incarnation of New Zealand Improv Festival hits Wellington. With a line up that includes old favourites from around the country, and brand new international guests from as far away as Mexico, this year’s programme will give Wellington audiences a taste of the diversity and quality present in the ever-growing world of improvised theatre.   [more]

3 Oct 2014 - EWEN GILMOUR It is with deep sorrow that we confirm that comedian Ewen Gilmour has passed away of natural causes in the comfort of his own home overnight, at the age of 51. The whole comedy family here in New Zealand and across the world are grieving the shock loss of a comedy legend and a great friend.   [more]