Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

21/09/2012 - 06/10/2012

Production Details


The Red Chair, a unique blend of a sophisticated New York cabaret and the sultry seduction of an intimate European piano bar, is coming to Auckland’s ‘Q theatre’ for just two weeks from September 21 – October 6, 2012. 

It’s a cabaret show with a twist – discover cabaret gems that haven’t been done to death, and experience some favourites in a way they’ve never been heard before.

The Red Chair is a live music show devised by up and coming producer/director Aaron Tindell with musical direction by Robin Kelly. It offers everything from Noel Coward to Boy George, with a dash of Sondheim, Weill and Porter, along with other singing greats.

The show is performed in a classic table and chair cabaret setting – perfect for sharing with friends over a platter of nibbles and a bottle of wine – available for purchase with tickets.

One of the intriguing aspects to The Red Chair is the specially lit red chairs, which serve as performance spaces at selected tables in the audience. “The audience becomes part of the performance without being the performance,” says Tindell. “The eclectic performances in The Red Chair all have a common thread – the exploration and confession of the many perspectives within relationships, and the obsessive emotions and feelings these bring out in all of us.”

The Red Chair is a showcase of emerging New Zealand talent and celebration of some more established performers. The cast includes Will Barling, who featured in Auckland Theatre Company’s production of Cabaret in 2010; award-winning actor Andrew Laing, a familiar face on stage and screen in New Zealand including Spartacus and Legend of the Seeker; New Zealand’s Got Talent semi-finalist Melissa Nordhaus; and Roz Turnbull of Outrageous Fortune, The Almighty Johnsons and Shortland Street fame.

The best of New Zealand furniture design is also going to be on display in The Red Chair, with Essenze providing designer Todd Stevenson’s Evolute chair as the visual focal point of the show. Other brands lending their support include Elizabeth Arden, and renown Central Otago winery Akarua, along with funding support from the Friedlander Foundation and Whitecliffe College of Art and Design – where Tindell is completing his Masters of Arts in Arts Management. Tindell is using The Red Chair as part of his Masters to provide the research for an auto-ethnographic study in producing music theatre in Auckland.

“Essentially, I am investigating the day to day experience of producing,” says Tindell. “This research project is unique in that there are very few studies looking at theatre producing from the inside, in fact, there are few ethnographic studies on theatre-making in New Zealand, fullstop.”

Q Loft
September 21 – October 6, 2012
8pm (approx 90 minutes)


Musical theatre needs MC

Review by Paul Simei-Barton 24th Sep 2012

The inaugural production from Dionysos announces a serious commitment to musical theatre with a song cycle presented in an elegant cabaret set-up with the audience at tables.

The decidedly eclectic song selection offers a tantalising glimpse of the vast range of musical theatre, with familiar classics scattered among gems from shows that are unlikely to ever be produced here.

Sampled productions include a musical Boy George wrote as a salute to the 1980s New Romantic movement, and a Broadway adaptation of the movie Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. [More]


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Cleverly hidden themes amid the fun

Review by Adey Ramsel 22nd Sep 2012

A style of cabaret rarely seen in Auckland welcomes us to the Loft at Q Theatre for the next two weeks.  

The Red Chair, created and directed by Aaron Tindell, promises “a journey of music – like that of a cinematic montage”. It delivers just that, with a subtle, at times too subtle, theme of love and obsession running through it.

First off, the setting is class, in fact so is the production as a whole but the venue sets the standard. Draped in black and red with candle-light, subdued lighting and live music discreetly tucked into a corner, it’s a place you don’t mind settling into. It’s the kind of atmosphere that lends itself to groups.

Whatever Jessika Verryt’s brief was as set/venue designer, she has carried it off well, with no small contribution from lighting designer Nik Janiurek. Janiurek makes sure the smoky cabaret elegance is maintained throughout, enabling us to view everything with ease. Between them both they have created the perfect cabaret ambience.

A fun streak runs through the choice of songs, chosen well by Aaron Tindell, and the fact he has had fun in his creation shows through.  It’s nice to hear the mix of old (Porter, Jule Styne, Rodgers & Hart) and contemporary (Jason Robert Brown, David Yazbek). Never try to educate an audience they say and I think just the right balance has been found here. 

With such a collection of songs, some obscure, your attention could peak and flow but if you keep your eye on the cabaret as a whole you’ll find the links. The themes are there, cleverly hidden. Seek them out. 

Throughout, hard work and thought results in a slick, well-paced, professional piece of work. The fact that no one wanted to leave at the end speaks volumes. 

Andrew Laing has all the suave, sophistication and smarm needed to open and lead the troupe of four. Roz Turnbull’s acting pedigree shines in her patter and character songs, which speed the themes along.

Melissa Nordhaus is a delight to watch and hear. Tender and serene, she’s a joy to be entertained by. Will Barling, completes the quartet as the ‘younger man’ and delivers a splendid interpretation of ‘I Who Have Nothing’.

I see the vision is to present the idea of The Red Chair with different performers and themes. Good idea, and if a revamp is on the cards then how about a fifth character to spice things up, or delve deeper into musical theatres shelves to seek out those numbers that speak directly to the point Tindell is endeavouring to make, whilst maintaining the class act he has created.  


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