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Nelson Arts Festival 2014
BLACK FAGGOT at Suter Theatre
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]

THE STATUS OF BEING at Hannah Playhouse (previously Downstage)
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]

Nelson Arts Festival 2014
THE BOOKBINDER at St Peters at Founders Park
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]

THE MALL at Allen Hall Theatre, University of Otago
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]

OUT OF THE BOX HIP HOP SHOWCASE (2014) at Q Theatre, Rangatira
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]

Photo by Jem Cresswell
SPIEGELWORLD EMPIRE at Horncastle Hub at Horncastle Arena, Addington
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]

Nelson Arts Festival 2014
THE ROAD THAT WASN'T THERE at Suter Theatre
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]

PERFECT PLACE at The Basement, Lower Greys Ave
reviewed by Matt Baker (TheatreScenes: The Auckland Theatre Blog) 23 Oct 2014
Icarian Heights
While there are no new stories under the sun, Colin Garlick's complete lack of an attempt to re-imagine, or at the very least thinly veil, one iota of the stories he has haphazardly drafted onto the page is frankly insulting, with the "stranger in a new world" stumbling over the "freedom of choice" tied together with a borderline plagiarised Tyler Durden-Mark Renton monologue. [more]

HELA at Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St
reviewed by Sharu Delilkan (TheatreScenes: The Auckland Theatre Blog) 23 Oct 2014
Clever, Compassionate and Concise
It appears as if the play has already begun as we file into Q’s Loft space. Solo actress Adura Onashile busily writes on the blackboard with her back facing us and occasionally turns around to mouth words to her ‘other actors’ on stage. Before long you find yourself sucked into Henrietta Lacks’ world, retold with absolute clarity and compassion by the astute and talented Onashile. [more]

I’LL BE FINE at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon
reviewed by Laurie Atkinson (The Dominion Post) 23 Oct 2014
Like Woody Allen on speed
No one in a play or movie who goes on a road trip ever goes for the hell of it; there’s always an important discovery to be made, not about the trip but about the trip through life so far. Ben Wilson dives head first into these well chartered waters in his first two-hander play with a couple of mates, Jude and Brian, leaving behind their misspent youthful lives in the fleshpots of Courtenay Place. [more]
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