New Zealand theatre reviews, performace reviews and performing arts directory

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

Auckland Theatre Company Establishes Fellowship to Support New Zealand Play Writing, submit by 20/10 [more]
DUNEDIN FRINGE 2015, register by 31/10  2014 [more]
The Performance Arcade 2015, Wellington – Call for Internships,
apply by 31/10 [more]

Latest Theatre and Performance Reviews
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]

IF I ONLY HAD A HEART at The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
reviewed by Dione Joseph 22 Oct 2014
Almost offensively safe
A few feeble attempts at raunchiness (aimed almost exclusively at one individual in the front row) doesn’t quite raise the sex appeal or scandal-o-meter to any mind-blowing heights and the little choreography included is less than average. It may also just be opening night nerves but as a group there seems to be a distinct absence of comraderie during the night and an obvious lack of team showmanship for the ensemble pieces. This was all a real pity because the voices of Rebecca Wright, Cherie Moore and Jessie Cassin are very good. [more]

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

SURI VS SHILOH at The Office at CBD Bar, 208 Madras St, Christchurch
reviewed by Erin Harrington 22 Oct 2014
High energy, inventive, outlandish
The show opens like a sitcom: in the not-too-distant future, BFFs Suri Cruise (Susannah Smith-Roy), professional clothes horse and A-list actress, and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt (Phoebe Borwick), social justice crusader and (allegedly?) reluctant celebrity, are young adults trying to navigate their way in a celebrity culture populated by burnout and screw ups, while sitting firmly in the shadows of their über-famous parents. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Maryanne Cathro

THE PAPER CINEMA’S ODYSSEY at Theatre Royal, Nelson
reviewed by Janet Whittington 22 Oct 2014
Tight, talented, professional, unexpected, special
The drawings are clear and detailed. The movements of the figures, landscapes and special effects are plausible to the tiniest movement. Together with Imogen Charleston he presents a unique live animation style. Rowling even draws the first few scenes with an ink and nib pen to lead the audience gently from reality into his world of Homer’s Odyssey. [more]

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

HELA at Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland
reviewed by Vanessa Byrnes 22 Oct 2014
A tragic, marvellous, fascinating, true story told with lucidity and ease
Onashile’s dramatization – based on Rebecca Skloot’s highly-praised The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – breathes life into the story of a woman who died too young, loved dancing, and who was possibly overwhelmed by the medical jargon of the black section of the John Hopkins Hospital where she died some months after the initial cancer diagnosis. Overall, though, it is the issue of informed consent that drives the narrative. [more]

See also reviews by:
 Erin Harrington

PERFECT PLACE at The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
reviewed by Nik Smythe 22 Oct 2014
Middle-of-the-road immersion
The goal is not joy or happiness as too much of a good thing is deemed unproductive; instead the catchword is ‘contentment’, the ideal middle-ground between misery and ecstasy – as explained in Ernest’s enlightening daily regulation seminars. The relentless pastels perfectly illustrate this policy: not too dull, not too bright. [more]

THE STATUS OF BEING at Meteor Theatre, Hamilton
reviewed by Debbie Bright 21 Oct 2014
Extreme physicality, active questioning
Through confrontation and humor, attention is focussed on the power of choice within ourselves over how we respond to the world, an awakening of decision-making inherent within our own views, and empowering sense of responsibility for ourselves and our planet. Ultimately, The Status of Being questions an engineered sense of control. After all, how much choice do we really have in our choices? [more]

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

PEACE AND LOVE IN AFRICA at Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland
reviewed by Jennifer Nikolai 20 Oct 2014
Drumming, singing, playing, dancing
The message: Dance is an agent for change, connectivity with a community and personal awareness. Dance is a source of belonging and encourages listening to ancestral wisdom that leads to personal insight and advocacy. [more]

REQUIEM FOR THE FALLEN at Town Hall, Dunedin
reviewed by Brenda Harwood 20 Oct 2014
Stunningly impressive and emotionally draining
The way in which Requiem for the Fallen weaves chorus, string quartet and taonga puoro together to tell a cohesive story of young men leaving home in high spirits to go off to war and the horror of their experiences on the front is impressive. The sheer beauty and sadness of the music and the historic images of young New Zealanders in wartime adds a poignancy that makes the work deeply emotionally affecting. [more]

SHENG DONG: A MOVING SOUND at Theatre Royal, Nelson
reviewed by Janet Whittington 20 Oct 2014
Appreciated greatly by aficionados
The costumes, particularly for the men are truly magnificent, with gold thread outlining the red and black accented shoulder wings in traditional Asian style. Hsieh’s bodice and skirt glitter in richly adorned brocade. The shimmering colour holds the audience gaze, while she dances, through the instrumental pieces, hands held Thai style. Hsieh’s vocal range is phenomenal – I swear she must reach High C above High C. [more]

Chat Back
"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]

"Thanks. I really hope people from the production I commented on speak up as I'd love to hear if these viewpoin..." - Matt Baker   [read full forum post]

"Further to Nik and Raewyn’s responses, Matt: We used to work to a calendar year. When we didn’t ..." - John Smythe   [read full forum post]

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]

24 Sep 2014 - Book School Holiday THEATRE WORKSHOPS to The Little Yellow Digger! We present full and half-day theatre workshops, that encapsulate the whole theatre experience. Activities include drama games, a backstage tour of a working theatre, and hands on workshops geared around the show as well as tickets to see The Little Yellow Digger, by Betty & Alan Gilderdale live on stage at the Pumphouse Theatre, Takapuna.   [more]

17 Sep 2014 - AUCKLAND THEATRE COMPANY ESTABLISHES FELLOWSHIP TO SUPPORT NEW ZEALAND PLAY WRITING Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) is delighted to announce the inaugural ATC Patrons' Playwright Fellowship. The fellowship is designed to provide a playwright who has an on-going commitment to write distinctive and ambitious plays, with the opportunity to join ATC for six months, while writing a new play for ATC main bill presentation.   [more]