2007 Wellington Theatre in Review
03/01/2008 - 03/01/2008
Lynn Freeman looks back at the year that was in the Wellington theatre scene.
Saluting the unsung heroes
Review by Lynn Freeman 08th Jan 2008
This year I want to salute the unsung heroes of the theatre industry.
Some of them are so unsung and so niche, that there isn’t a category for them in the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards. Yet, without them, the theatre would indeed be "a poor shadow", to quote the Bard.
Andrew Brettell is a case in point. When it comes to audio visual work, he’s nothing short of a genius. Fat Pig, Bright Star, Copenhagen, Albert Speer (I think I’m right on that one), all terrific audio visual work that enriched each production. But is he set? Or lighting? Or a category of his own?
Same with set painting. Scenic artist Eileen McCann is nothing short of brilliant – think Masterclass, Monarchy, I’m Not Rappaport, just a handful of the sets she’s worked her magic on. She’s Chapman Tripp standard, we just don’t know exactly where to put her.
Puppet makers, mask makers, set builders, ushers, production photographers and of course the hard working stage managers, fight and dance choreographers, sound and lighting operators, they’re all part of the theatrical family.
And of course the sponsors, because without them, some shows just wouldn’t make it to the stage.
The Chapman Tripps recognise excellence. This year particularly in the acting categories, and most original work, the judges struggled to whittle down our lists.
One of my personal regrets is that Tanea Heke wasn’t on the best supporting actress list alongside the other three. George Henare gave heart wrenching performances in Heroes and I’m Not Rappaport, Ray Henwood was terrific in both too, and the third member of the Heroes cast, Ken Blackburn, was a treasure.
I was awed by the originality of (in no particular order) the enchanting Lovers of Central Park, Leilani Unasa’s His Mother’s Son, Fight or Flight, For Your Safety, Willem Wassenar’s Antigone, Angie Farrow’s The Bowler Hat, Sara Brodie’s The Kreutzer, Scratch ‘n’ Fly, and one of my greatest delights in 2007, Grant Buist’s Fitz Bunny – Lust for Glory.
The Royal Shakespeare Company packed out, with the double appeal of Ian McKellan and this legendary acting troupe. Their Chekhov was excellent, their much touted King Lear disappointing. I missed the Bacchanals’ version but am not surprised to hear it was better, without the star power and big budget.
Miriam Margolyes, however, was a charmer with her Dickens’ Women.
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