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New Zealand International Comedy Festival 2015
PENNY ASHTON - HOT PINK BITS at Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St
reviewed by Kathryn van Beek 26 Apr 2015
A sizzling giggle stick to wrap you laughing gear around
If you enjoy songs, sensuality and sexual innuendo, you’ll want to get up to the Q Theatre Loft to have burlesque madam and master manipulator Dr Love, AKA Penny Ashton, satisfy your desires. The show opens when the hostess with the most chest takes to the stage in a pink lab coat. She gets the audience in the mood by promising “sex, sizzle and hot wax on nipples… " [more]

NZ International Comedy Festival 2015
CRAIG CAMPBELL'S THRILLING MIC HUNT at The Classic
reviewed by Nik Smythe 26 Apr 2015
Politely confrontational exchanges and frenzied rants
Campbell hits the ground running to the sound of rambunctious drumming and within sixty seconds has acquainted himself with a couple in the front row. Five minutes later he’s scored a tequila out of them, which he reckons hasn’t happened before but being a stand-up comedian there’s no need or expectation to believe anything he says. [more]

UPSURGE 2015
DAFFODILS [INSPIRED BY TRUE EVENTS] at Turner Centre
reviewed by Alan Scott 26 Apr 2015
Rocked by the noise of love and the music of life
As the star-crossed lovers Eric and Rose, Todd Emerson and Colleen Davis are perfectly cast and deliver superb performances. They face the audience and never each other. Though separated by space, with eyes out front, you feel and hear the intimacy of conversation sparking between them, at first playful and then loving. They both have big singing voices ... [more]

NZ International Comedy Festival 2015
NEXT BIG THINGS HOSTED BY BEN HURLEY (2015) at Q Theatre, Rangatira
reviewed by Raewyn Whyte 26 Apr 2015
A richly variegated array of teasers
Ten guest slots are filled by an array of "talented up and comers … comedians you're gonna want to see again." Each has a bare 6 minutes to impress and entice us to buy tickets to their show, and Hurley keeps them strictly to time, so there's a cracking pace overall. [more]

NZ International Comedy Festival 2015
GUY WILLIAMS - YOU CAN SENSE THE DESPERATION at Montecristo - Upstairs
reviewed by Chloe Baynes 26 Apr 2015
Plenty of laughs and thought-provoking social commentary
Nuanced interactions with the internet culture of our time prove Guy to be clued in to our relationship to social media. Particularly standing out are parodied inspirational insta-quotes, life hacks and twitter drafts, drawing laughs all round at the cheeky, absurd and playfully inappropriate. [more]

DON JUAN at Circa Two
reviewed by John Smythe 26 Apr 2015
Cleverly crafted fun
The ensemble nature of this Leo Gene Peters-directed production – played in sexy French accents by Maaka Pohatu, Andrew Paterson, Susie Berry, Comfrey Sanders and Jonathan Price but constantly referencing Wellington in the here and now – renders Don Juan himself a rather elusive character. And those he encounters are even more two-dimensional. So the complex and contrapuntal intricacies of sexual desire and social conventions – let alone the morality, amorality and torments of addiction – are not up for thorough investigation or interrogation here. Or are they? [more]

EMBODY2 at BATS Theatre, The Dome, 1 Kent Tce
reviewed by Chris Jannides 25 Apr 2015
Provokes wider speculation
The two dance contributors to this programme - Juliet Shelley and Jeremy Haxton - work in very different ways. Yet both create choreographic scores that have a reflective narrative element - Shelley's internal and personal, Haxton's external and impersonal. [more]

COALTOWN BLUES at The Dark Room, Cnr Pitt and Church Street
reviewed by Joy Green 25 Apr 2015
Creates a whole and engrossing world
Coaltown Blues is autobiography but with a number of fictional twists, because as The Boy, our narrator, tells us, fiction is truer than life sometimes, and “more symmetrical”. So the story opens as the boy is born – in his fiction, if not in fact – on the night in 1935 when Michael Joseph Savage and his first Labour government are elected. [more]

Photo by Matt Grace
UPSURGE 2015
THE DEMOLITION OF THE CENTURY at The Pear Tree
reviewed by Alan Scott 25 Apr 2015
Cabaret-style enhances the reading
This fusion of two different presentation styles is both a strength and a weakness of the show. Sarkies’ skill at reading brings the pieces vividly to life. His voice is rich and varied in tone. He knows just when to hold a pause and how to phrase a line, and how to mine the text to bring the emotion of the piece to the surface. [more]

Festival of Colour 2015
THE BOOKBINDER at Wanaka Masonic Hall
reviewed by Caroline Harker 25 Apr 2015
Sure to entertain
Once upon a time there was a festival in a little lakeside town called Wanaka. Every festival included some plays. In 2015 there is one called The Bookbinder. The people who see the play love it very much. They feel very lucky because the play is on for just three days. [more]
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