Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland LIVE, Auckland

16/09/2015 - 19/09/2015

Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch

10/09/2015 - 13/09/2015

Christchurch Arts Festival 2015

Production Details

An Irish international theatrical hit fresh from New York, Paris and Edinburgh 

Fresh from sell out shows and five star reviews across the globe, Auckland Live proudly presents the acclaimed Irish theatre show, Swing is a heart-warming comedy about dancing, music, love, not settling and feeling like an eejit.  Being brave and having doubts, trying your best and trying new things, thinking outside the box and seeing things clearly.  Living as well as you can and giving it a lash and its rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack will make you want to dance!

Janet Moran who wrote and performs in the production alongside Stephen Blount explains how it all started: About ten years ago I danced with Stevie (Blount) at a party. He used to do swing dancing and when he danced I told him that it was the best dance of my life. Every so often when I’d bump into him I’d say, we should do a play where we get to dance because we dance brilliantly together!”

After its 2013 premiere, a string of accolades have  followed the production on its international tour –  The New York Times called the show ‘dazzling’ and ‘poignant’ and The Times, UK found it  “funny, touching and beautifully performed” to mention some of the high praise.  More recently, their season at the Christchurch Arts Festival next month has already sold out – even before the show opens! 

Steve Blount who wrote and performs in the production alongside Janet Moran is thrilled to be able to bring Swing to our shores.  “I am honoured and excited to bring our little story from our island in the Atlantic Ocean to your island in the South Pacific Ocean on the other side of the world. We hope you enjoy it and have as much fun as we do.”

“A treat of a show, go on – just go.” ***** – Herald Scotland

“Funny, inspirational and heartwarming” ***** – The Scotsman

10-13 September, 2015 
Isaac Theatre Royal 
Book www.ticketek.co.nz 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) 

Swing will run from Wednesday 16 to 19 September at the Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre. Tickets are available for pre sale Monday 10 August, 9am and will be on general sale Tuesday 11 August, from Ticketmaster. 

Fishamble: The New Play Company’s
Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre
16-19 September
Shows 8pm and Saturday matinee performance at 2pm
Opening performance (for reviewers Wednesday 16 September, 8pm)
TICKETS: Adult $35 | Concession (senior citizens, students, gold card holders, Actors Equity members) $25 | Group of 6+ $30
*Service fees apply
To discover more visit: http://aucklandlive.co.nz/swing.aspx 


Written by:  Steve Blount, Peter Daly, Gavin Kostick & Janet Moran
Director:  Peter Daly
Cast:  Steve Blount and Janet Moran
Producer:  Marketa Dowling
Lighting Design:  Mark Galione
Sound Design:  Ivan Birthistle

Fishamble: The New Play Company is funded by the Arts Council and Dublin City Council. Its international touring is supported by Culture Ireland.

Theatre , Dance-theatre ,

Swing when you're winning

Review by James Wenley 18th Sep 2015

They’ve got all the moves and turned up the Irish Charm to full for Swing, an affectionate two-step from Ireland’s Fishamble about how dance can help nudge your life in the right direction.

You’ve seen this story many times before. Two strangers meet at dance class and develop a connection (a local example would be Roger Hall’s A Shortcut to Happiness). In Swing class there’s a new dance to learn each week, and then the music is turned on for the open social until 11. May gives a class a go, and that might have been it, had not Joe asked her to stay for the social. She does have a boyfriend, which makes we wonder if this will promote the importance of platonic friendship, but Swing does end up conforming to a will-they/won’t-they romantic plot line. By going softly softly about it though, they do manage to resist the more obvious clichés. It’s sweet, not stale. [More]


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Captivating, endearing, heart-warming tale

Review by Raewyn Whyte 17th Sep 2015

From the first moments, when May (Janet Moran) arrives in a vivid, full-skirted dress with stiff tulle petticoats making it ready to flare as she spins, followed by Joe (Steve Blount) who quickly sheds his bicycle helmet and has to be prompted to untuck his suit trousers from his socks, SWING is captivating. Though it’s a two-hander, the actors quickly transform the bare black stage into a social dance class, leading the action as the effervescent instructors, bringing us the hopes and fears and individual stories of May and Joe, and providing brief snippets which vividly bring to life the ten or so invisible others in the class, as they dance their way from autumn to summer..  

With a running time of barely an hour, the pace is cracking, and all kudos to the actors who have to pretty much keep moving on the balls of their feet throughout, dancing while they talk, sustaining the personas currently in play along with the underlying rhythms of whatever dance they are performing, regardless of whatever else might be happening. The essential steps and counts of four swing dances are introduced: East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop replete with jazz hands, monkey walk and fish bum, The Charleston, and the Frankie Manning Shim Sham with its boogie walks and air steps. Each class is followed by an open floor dance session, just it would be in any swing dance studio around the world.

Both May and Joe have things missing from their lives. Graphic designer May is in her late 30s, her boyfriend is often away overseas, and when he returns there’s always a sense of estrangement and something not quite right. When it comes to dancing, May is an absolute beginner, nervous about the whole dance class experience. She takes tiny steps as she marks out the class exercises, slowly gaining confidence and starting to enjoy herself.  It’s great when May cuts loose in the final swing dance and you see that she really can move freely across the floor, swing and spin and do si do, and take advantage of those petticoats to get her skirt flaring as it was designed to do.

Joe is divorced, lives in a bedsit and was recently made redundant with the closure of his father’s printing firm. He has grownup children living in Australia and the USA with whom he plays long distance phone tag, and he has gone back to school to study horticulture, inspired by his experience as a lumberjack in California’s redwood forests during his 20s.  He’s been taking classes for a while and he takes May under his wing, helping her with the steps, coaching her into relaxing and – using the shopping trolley analogy to brilliant effect – helps her learn to accept being led by him as her dancing partner. He’s a fluid and versatile dancer, well able to communicate the various other personas through their often eccentric movement styles.

Their growing friendship is replete with hiccups and hesitations, bold statements and subtle nuances, declarations and self-undermining observations — all delivered with subtlety and shaded with enough emotion to make this an endearing tale that hooks you into wanting a happy ending.

SWING is a fine example of work that is derived from real life experiences, is first developed for presentation in the Fringe (in this case Dublin Fringe 2013), is funded for further development, and goes on to tour the world, most recently New York, Paris, Edinburgh, Christchurch Arts Festival 2015.  It is examples like this that have encouraged Creative NZ to embrace the model, starting with Edinburgh Fringe exposure, with recent investments now starting to pay off in terms of further international engagements.


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Can, should, and will go further

Review by Grant Hindin Miller 11th Sep 2015

Forties swing music greets the incoming audience, the scent of wine is in the air (patrons carry glasses to their seats). The theatre space is intimate in an upstairs room of the remodelled Isaac Theatre Royal, which is gorgeous. 

A mirror ball and two chairs comprise the ‘set’ for Swing, a light-hearted Irish play about a couple who meet at a dance-class. Whilst light in tone it is physical theatre and demanding of the two actors, Janet Moran and Steve Blount, who dance their way through the entire performance. They need the memory of elephants, the fitness of lions and the lightness of gazelles. Fortunately they are up to the challenge and I find them both charming and endearing.

Swing is a good concept, exploring the lives of dance class attendees, the joy of rhythm and movement, and a burgeoning romance. The two actors adopt various personas during the performance but the main storyline is that of May and Joe, who know there is something missing from their lives and have come to the class to expand their horizons. That storyline is at the heart of the piece and it is this magnet which holds the tale together.

It is their interactions that we care about; the unfolding of their individual stories, what’s happening in their lives, and the possibilities of their fresh liaison. If the old adage ‘to leave them wanting more’ is a criterion of success then the play succeeds. Filled with witty allusions and good humour, I would, however, have liked to see this story go further, to be deepened and strengthened. Having said that, the interactions between these two characters captivate our attention and there is a satisfying resolution.

I want more music. Many of the dance movements (admittedly exercises) are done without sound. I find myself longing for the unifying element of sound, if only a background rhythm. There are one or two flagging moments and it may be that the local Irish references are not immediately exportable (the programme contains a glossary of Irish allusions and references used in the dialogue). I imagine a Dublin audience exploding with laughter and brushing tears from their eyes. 

Swing is delightful. I can see it translating successfully as a film, which would afford the time and ventilation to explore the characters in their home lives. As actors, Janet Moran and Steve Blount are equally generous and sympathetic, and they work well together. I loved the rare moments of stillness when an emotional nerve is sensitive, and would love to see such moments explored and intensified.

It’s a fast-action show and can handle a varying dynamic. I sense that we haven’t heard the last of Swing – that it can, should, and will go further.


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