Confession: I have seen The Lion King many, many, MANY times, but I have never actually completely read Hamlet. I have seen so many parts of it that I have come to understand the plotline and themes without ever watching the whole show. Living and dead academics squirm worldwide at my confession, but now I can announce I have seen a full Hamlet. And this time, Hamlet is a woman.
Order Up is a devised cabaret show inspired by the stories of hospitality workers in Wellington.It is also performed by a cast of mostly past or current hospitality workers. Order Up is a fun late night show which will make you laugh and cringe. But more than that, Order Up is both a critique and celebration of the hospitality industry that will make you think twice before you complain about shoddy service.
by Laura Ferguson
Fun Fact: the cinematic masterpiece that is She’s the Man starring Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum is a modernised version of Twelfth Night. Did I watch She’s the Man eleventy more times as “research” for this play? Yes, I did. Did I like this play better? My gawd, yes henny! Why? Because Anastasia Matteini-Roberts’ version has EVEN MORE DRAG! My personal opinion is that everything in life would be better with a little more drag tucked into it, so I was gagged to find out that one of plays in Victoria University’s Six Degrees Festival had made my queer little dreams come true.
Dolphins are fun, friendly, and full of energy, and Thinking Dolphins at BATS was also all of these things. As I walk up to the Heyday Dome, the doors are closed and I panic that the show has already begun! Thankfully, this was only to keep the mysterious stage smoke within the theatre. As soon as I stepped into the space, the actors greeted me and spoke enthusiastically to the audience. Their energy juxtaposed the ominous smoke and the moody blue and green lighting palette.
Cyndi Lauper’s Time after Time, quickly followed by Madonna’s Material Girl, welcomes me into BATS Random Stage to see a show about women, sex, and beauty standards. Low Level Panic by Claire McIntyre, directed by Six Degrees Festival’s Harriette Barker, ticks those three boxes, as we watch flatmates Mary (Charlotte Glucina), Jo (Amy Dean), and Celia (Zoë Christall) as their bathroom turns into a place to confide in each other and to the audience.
Retold dreams are typically incoherent rambles only interesting for the teller. I usually don’t want to hear about your dream unless I was in it. Director and writer Shona Jaunas, however, delivers a lucid odyssey into the subconscious of her protagonist in The Dream. The experimental theatre piece layers film, psychedelic soundscapes and dramatic lights to illustrate just how our dreams can be more than the sum of its random images.
Why Are We Still Here? follows four young women dealing with grief. During a storm they break into an abandoned theatre for shelter. They are visited by two ghosts overnight, who help them explore their pain, while working through their own. A solid debut from Tempest theatre, Why Are We Still Here? is a successful exploration into the ways we grieve.
The Attitudes: Refusing Performance at BATS Theatre is an examination of whiteness, an art piece that opens a long overdue conversation and asks for pākehā to look within and start the change we want to see in the world.
by Laura Ferguson
It’s my first time at Powwow, the small upstairs bar tucked away on Courtenay Place. The intimate atmosphere of people milling about causes an ambient throb to hum throughout the room. It seems entirely fitting for the premise of tonight’s show: we have come tonight to participate in a swinger’s club and brothel run by octogenarian (and show name sake), Pat Goldsack. But Pat Goldsack’s Swingers Club and Brothel is by no means seedy or uncomfortable. In fact, as I get a warm hug from Pat herself as I enter the space, I feel welcomed and ready for a fun romp. *wink*
by Laura Ferguson
It’s my first time at the Newtown Community & Cultural Centre and the polished wooden floors and echoing high ceilings are transporting me right back to my roots in my small hometown where I first became enamoured with theatre. The people milling around are excited, talking and laughing together for the opening night of Gutenberg! The Musical! by Anthony King and Scott Brown. Gutenberg is one of my favourite historical figures, he who created the mass production of books and, therefore, my love of reading possible. This show intends to chronicle the invention of the printing press in a charming, earnest yet completely inaccurate fashion. So, if you haven’t guessed, this is a comedy.
Feminist fruit comedy punk band The Rotten Cores are back from their award winning Fringe season. In Discharge is Rotten to the Core, directed by Christine Brooks, friendships, old and new, are put the test during an intense band practice. The show is a fresh, vibrant, laugh out loud musical with lots of artificial colours and naturally funny flavours.
by Laura Ferguson
I arrived at BATS Theatre ready to laugh. I love comedy shows and have had brilliant experiences this year with sketch comedy in particular. Fuq Boiz: The Resurrection from Hamish Parkinson and Ryan Richards promised madcap humour, the blurb on the BATS website confidently stating “R18. No uggos”. With a statement like that, I was sure the evening would contain situations of the social determination “fuckboi”, a trope the internet generation has created. Even the title of the show, spelled is in the most fuckboi way possible, which gave every indication my hypothesis would come to fruition. Instead, the show shirks away from lambasting this modern phenomena. My hopes of social satire fading away faster than a fuckboi ghosting me after two and a half dates.
Ella Gilbert’s Soft Tissue has a rousing crowd for opening night. It’s the first time my partner and I have gone to a show so I’m excited to laugh as Soft Tissue is touted as “an affectionate comedy about the absurd performances of the ‘weaker’ sex”. In particular I was looking forward to how the show would move between “observations and conversations” as described in the blurb. Taking a seat, I’m looking forward to what is to come. That anticipation was thwarted quickly. Within the first five minutes of sole observation, I was gagging for the conversation. This, unfortunately, never came.
Directed by Rachel Lenart and written by Cherie Jacobson and Alex Lodge, Modern Girls in Bed is a comic and wholesome tale about family, sisterhood, and togetherness. I’ve been looking forward to this show since the promotional material started slipping around Wellington; I lapped at the chance to dive into a bit of New Zealand herstory and see just how our greats would clash with our modern girls. Yet, as great as the show’s performances are and as enjoyable as it was, Modern Girls in Bed is held back by an awkward show structure, lack of establishing context, and some stunning but unclear symbolism.
Sherilee Kahui presents a one-pigeon show. (A Smidge of) Pidge, directed by Hannah Clarke, is part stand-up and part sit-down-drink-wine. Kahui plays Pidge, the human unfortunately dressed as a pigeon. This black comedy offers a range of absurd skits that explore the big questions with flare and farce.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.