Be honest, at what age did you seriously consider becoming a magician? I was 7 when I saw someone on YouTube doing tricks and thinking it can’t be that hard, before realising I don’t even know how to shuffle a deck of cards. Jeremy Rolston did the same, except he actually put some mahi in and got very, very good at it. This is where we get The Best is Yet to Come - A Queer Magic Show, an hour of heartfelt stories, queer joy, and jaw-dropping illusions.
FADE - The Art of Dissociation
by Sean Burnett Dugdale-Martin
FADE - The Art of Dissociation is a 40-minute mixed-media work of contemporary dance, film projection, and an original sound score portraying choreographer Anna Groves' lived experience of leaving her body and the physiological challenges this creates. FADE examines the body's survival mechanism of dissociation and mutism.
Matt Parker and Ben Cleland of Tough Tiger Fist proudly proclaim that they’re the Flight of the Conchords your mum has at home. Which helps. Every artist has influences, and we all steal from them. Tough Tiger Fist is just a lot more blatant about it. The tone of their songs, their dead-pan humour, the constant jokes at their own sexual inadequacy, it’s all dead on Brett and Jermaine.
Despite its promises to “ask the hard hitting questions about the double standards of stuffing a bird” Get Stuffed isn’t a show about taxidermy. It’s a stand up comedy show loosely themed around animals, with two openers, a headliner, and a few stuffed animals on stage. Which is a fine set-up.
Only Bones v1.10
Storytelling in the theatre is a constantly evolving beast. With so much new technology at our fingertips and the constant reminder that ‘everything’s been done’, artists are forced to figure out new ways of conveying their stories. This is how we get Only Bones v1.10. In this version, Daniel Nodder spends an hour relegated to a small circle, making us question whether or not they even have bones in a ‘galaxy spanning piece of physical theatre’.
Moonroe’s Happy Hour is a variety show featuring song, circus and a touch of burlesque created and performed by Laura Oakley and Jackson Cordery. Variety is the name of the game with this show, with some acts proving to be genuinely astonishing while some were found lacking.
WATCH OUT GAY PANDA
Sean Burnett Dugdale-Martin
WATCH OUT GAY PANDA is a solo show devised and produced by Dennis Eir Lim which blends his skills as a songwriter and theatre performer. Eir Lim takes the perspective of a panda in Wellington, New Zealand, using a panda-translating-device (a loop machine on top of a keyboard) in order to communicate with humans.
Here we are, late on a Saturday night (like some theatre nerd?) and the intimate and excellently chosen venue The Studio at BATS Theatre has been somewhat transformed. The classic red box “Applause” and “Recording” signs mounted on the back wall and three mics with pop filters. I have no idea what I’m in store for.
I absolutely love the use of water on stage. I love the way it shines under stage lights, I love its unpredictability, and I love a splash zone. Flow is described by the award-winning company, Late Bloomers, as a show where the audience “meets the protagonist doing what they always do when they are grieving: taking a bath.” This line alone is enough to pique my interest, unfortunately, despite Marea Colombo’s obvious talent, the show lacks impact and as a water-loving theatre-goer, I’m left wanting.
Walking into the makeshift theatre space at Twofiftyseven, there are movie posters hung from the ceiling, two bar stools and two guitars. Immediately I’m getting lounge gig vibes. It feels comfortable. The set proves to be an excellent clue to the charming, familiar feel of the show that’s about to unfold.
What Keith Did
What Keith Did is the most original concept I’ve come across in fringe so far, exploring the everyday happenings of a dystopian alternate reality. In this world injections are required for your body to perform basic functions, humans live in shared dwellings split into Keiths and Kevins, they live only off of weetbix and milk. It’s odd, inventive and comes with a 36 page manual. So wtf is going on with What Keith Did???
Couple of things upfront.
Firstly, a disclosure. Wellington theatre is an incestuous mess. Because Sean Dugdale-Martin writes for Art Murmurs, there is no one on our team who can approach this show without some level of bias. I am friends with Dugdale-Martin, Daniel Nodder and Rebekah De Roo. Along with this, Ben Kelly and Anna Barker are my closest artistic collaborators, and two of my best friends. I have a lot of inbuilt love and respect for the RATKING team, and that undoubtedly, despite my best efforts, will seep into this review.
A Lovely Day to be Online
There’s no denying we’re all attached to our phones, this little supercomputer is practically attached to us like an umbilical cord. A Lovely Day to be Online forces us to confront this reality and sit with it, despite how uncomfortable it is to admit you’re addicted to a rectangle. Singer-songwriter and self-proclaimed self-obsessed internet addict Connor Morel spends an hour singing and dancing (and even stripping a little bit) about his time online, asking us why we’re really so addicted to these things.
To Be Frank
Entering Te Auaha's Tapere Iti, it's awash with hideous green. Stenn Francis-Deare is tucked stage right plucking atmospheric nothings on an electric guitar. From the moment Frank (Michael Hockey) erupts onto stage, the audience is utterly captivated.
Powersuit Productions’ touring show The Culture written by Laura Jackson is a warm and pacey inside view to the relationship of two flatmates as they navigate their past traumas and dating in the modern world. It is billed as ‘a story about deep and enduring friendship’, and it’s exciting to be able to sit in on the New Zealand debut of this Sydney-set production.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.