Hamilton Gardens, Rhododendron Lawn, Hamilton

19/02/2016 - 19/02/2016

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2016

Production Details

Outdoor , Multi-discipline ,

3 hours

Anticipation well satisfied

Review by Dr Debbie Bright 21st Feb 2016

The evening is perfect – clear, still and mild. The chairs are laid out in front of the specially constructed stage on the Rhododendron Lawn. The food and drinks stalls are active, the canopied bar area packed and buzzing. Some groups have brought picnics and set up on the grass. Others purchase drinks and sit on chairs. While there are still many empty seats, there is anticipation in the air. And the evening’s artists do not disappoint!

After a brief warm-up of the audience by the compere for the evening, we are thoroughly entertained by Australian musicians Jamie McDowell (singer-songwriter and guitarist) and Tom Thum (human beatbox extraordinaire). Evident are their incredible talent, wit and virtuosity, yet they come across as unpretentious, and clearly enjoy their music, their light-hearted banter, and the continually evolving possibilities of their combined act. Jamie McDowell’s virtuosity and witty lyrics, and Tom Thum’s brilliant range of human and non-human microphoned sounds have the audience constantly laughing, gasping and applauding. An impressive and thoroughly entertaining first half!

Then the stage is re-set for Melbourne Calypso band The Mighty Duke and the Lords. This group of highly talented and well-rehearsed musicians bring a sudden explosion of music, dance and colour, as they raise the volume, the energy and our pulse rates to the rhythms and harmonies of Calypso bass, brass, percussion and voice. Partying, dance, love, humour and fun. I am transported to the beach clubs of Latin America and the Caribbean. We are urged to come forward and dance, and then to dance some more. Beach balls are tossed through the crowd. The evening ends too soon!

Calypso DJ Juan Vesuvius (aka Barnie Duncan) is ill and unable to perform tonight. Nevertheless, the show is a treat for the senses, and a worthy beginning to the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival.  


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council