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DOG at The Basement, Lower Greys Ave
reviewed by Stephen Austin 20 Aug 2014
Heart-breaking and sobering situational comedy
... writer Ben Hutchison has meticulously created a socially conscious realist comedy that’s as concerned with its wider themes as it is with the welfare of the day-to-day workings of the inner lives of its three characters. Out of disparate, oddly paired people, he crafts a story that packs plenty of emotional wallop in its tail, while never going overboard on the sentimental. In fact it’s just the right balance of well-observed Kiwi naturalism, packed full of sub-text that director Jeff Szusterman taps into to pull it all together with excellent purpose and detail, making this emotionally engrossing work sing so well. [more]

Edinburgh Fringe 2014
EDINBURGH FRINGE 2014 WRAP #2 at Various Fringe venues
reviewed by Dione Joseph 20 Aug 2014
Illuminating; Frustratingly safe; A clipped classic; Powerful interrogation
RACE by David Mamet Race has had many different iterations. Audiences may be familiar with the London, Broadway or the South Africa productions (and there are others as well) but this year's Fringe reincarnation as part of the South African season is different – and once again adds to the list a rather unique rendition of how we engage, explore and debate race. [more]

DOG at The Basement, Lower Greys Ave
reviewed by Matt Baker (TheatreScenes: The Auckland Theatre Blog) 20 Aug 2014
Rough Mutt
Dog "has been through a number of development phases", however, while playwright Ben Hutchison states that this production understood what he "was aiming to achieve", the result seems ironically underdeveloped. The play starts off promisingly, with a strong balance of both verbal and physical humour, setting a well-pitched comedic tone in regards to the context, however, under the direction of Jeff Szusterman, this tone and pace never changes. [more]

TAKE BACK THE HOOD at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon
reviewed by Sophie Melchior 20 Aug 2014
Personal and powerful insight
Little Red Riding Hood is pissed off and she isn’t going to take it any more. From the moment that Deborah Eve Rea takes the stage as Little Red Riding Hood you know that this isn’t a soft interpretation of the classic fairy tale. Red has taken to the road to make sure the truth about her story gets out. [more]

HAIRSPRAY at SKYCITY Theatre
reviewed by Janet McAllister (New Zealand Herald) 18 Aug 2014
Great numbers, first-rate performances and many surprises
This bright, feel-good musical left us so happy that we were possibly high on hairspray fumes. The volume's pumped up on the dancing and charisma as well as on the ratted hair in this tale of "pleasantly plump" Tracy and her black friends in 1962 Baltimore, who wish to dance on TV like the thin white kids do. [more]

Edinburgh Fringe 2014
BLACK GRACE at Assembly, Roxy
reviewed by Dione Joseph 17 Aug 2014
People, story and movement
Black Grace is one of New Zealand's most successful dance companies and if you're lucky enough to catch one of their shows at this year's 2014 Edinburgh Fringe you'll know why. This is inspired, sculpted, contemporary dance alive with stories. [more]

Edinburgh Fringe 2014
TAKI MAORI HAKA EXPERIENCE at Dance Base
reviewed by Dione Joseph 17 Aug 2014
Playful and whimsical
Produced by Mika and Jay Tewake, the Taki Maori Haka Experience is not a tourist export, although it is clearly developed for an international audience. It is playful, whimsical and very whanua (family) orientated, welcoming children and adults to engage and experience Maori culture in an informal setting. [more]

Arts On Tour NZ 2014
MUNTED at Playhouse, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts
reviewed by Mark Houlahan 17 Aug 2014
Honest and heart-warming
The scenario of Munted is easy to grasp. Three actors on a stage strewn with chairs, some lamps and many mugs for survivors to sip tea out of. Between them they voice fifteen survivors of the February 22, 2011 quake in Christchurch. [more]

HAIRSPRAY at SKYCITY Theatre
reviewed by Kate Ward-Smythe 17 Aug 2014
Fun-filled upbeat entertainment in a can
While my 10 and 11-year-old companions adore Hairspray from start to finish, and are captivated by the costumes and larger than life characters, for me it is a rare moment of pathos that will resonate louder and longer than all other offerings. Lavina Williams’ gospel lament ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’ is heartfelt, vocally stunning and wins the night. [more]

CHOICE!! at Meteor Theatre
reviewed by Ross MacLeod 17 Aug 2014
Darkly surreal
There’s the brightly coloured, multi layered set, packed to the brim like a hidden object puzzle. There’s the hyperactive, exaggerated characters in weird costumes going about over-the-top renditions of everyday life. There’s the surreal drift between scenes. And there’s the message – here one of consumerism – ever present but most of the time held back from feeling heavy handed by sharp writing and strong performances. [more]
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