For the spookiest week in October, The Witching Hours has taken over BATS theatre. Produced by a Mulled Whine and boasting an impressive cast of New Zealand's best writing and performance talents, each night promises a unique blend of comedy and chills.
The Glitter Garden, written by George Fowler and Lori Leigh, and directed by Lori Leigh, is a one-of-a-kind children’s musical which uses drag to explore themes of friendship, queerdom, kindness and accepting ones-self. We follow the enigmatic Hugo the Gardener (played by Hugo Grrrl) who is determined to grow his own garden - but only if it’s perfect. Will he be able to overcome the fear of failure and imperfection, and embrace who he really is? (Let’s find out!)
Close to You is a new improvised theatrical offering from Wellington improv stalwarts Best on Tap. The show explores closeness, far-ness, and how distance impacts on people and relationships across all walks of life. Based on audience suggestions, these generous and intelligent improvisers shared a delightful show full of surprises to an adoring Thursday night crowd.
HOLE is a black comedy with a call for environmental sustainability. Set in 1986 Antarctica, HOLE is the story of Greenpeace activist Bonnie, atmospheric scientist Stella, Navy Seal Ioane, and the elephant in the room - a huge hole in the ozone. As ideologies collide we are reminded of the fragility of our planet, and the complex personal and political factors that distract us from protecting it as we should.
By Corey Spence
Is one person ever enough? Playwright Liam Coleman and director Tom Sainsbury ask audiences to consider this multi-layered question about our love lives with Play, a story of a gay man trying to figure out what’s right for him and whether that love can exist outside the bounds of traditional monogamy. They promise to reflect an “absolute true-to-life-ness” we can see in the people we know and the lives we live. Is this statement accurate? Well, sometimes.
A cabaret-style show dedicated to women and non-binary musical theatre writers, That’s All She Wrote is a warmly presented show centred on the incredible voice and stage presence of its solo performer, Cassandra Tse.
After having to cancel their debut season due to COVID-19, Colossal is back with Laser Kiwi #2, the second iteration of their sellout show, Laser Kiwi, and it is well worth the wait. It follows the same unique form that can only be labelled as ‘circus sketch comedy’, with all new, never-before-seen content and the same manic energy.
You’re at a party. You don’t really know anyone but you’ve got a very excited host making sure you have a good time. It doesn’t matter that nobody here is the type that likes parties - because this is the last party before we are devoured by a black hole. DEEP and MEANINGFUL, written and starring Alayne Dick, produced by Toi Ngākau, and directed by Jennifer O’Sullivan is one final hurrah before the end of the world as we know it.
Finally! Beloved Wellington drag king Hugo Grrrl (also known as George Fowler) gets an entire hour to show off his many talents. In this “one-trans” show, Fowler takes us on a journey through his own coming-of-age tale, which involves more than a few closets and one particularly nasty skeleton.
Courtney Rose Brown
Horny & Confused, Big Estrogen Energy’s debut show is a nuanced comedic triumph. Katie Hill and Charlotte Glucina bring wit, spice and every delight to retellings of their sexual experiences as they charm all with their upbeat Taylor Swift-esq (but woke-er) musical numbers and Hill’s stand up.
Sara and Jordan Aren't Supposed To Be Here is a very funny, cringe comedy, a little reminiscent of the America Office. Sara and Jordan are members of the most popular up and coming Wellington band, T-Sauce and the Unexpected Mannequins. They haven’t played their first gig yet, in fact they don’t know how to play any instruments, but that hasn’t stopped them from putting together a workshop - how to start a wildly successful band. We are their first paying customers, and there will be no refunds.
Waiting for Shark Week is an hour of feminist buffoonery, sincerity and rage that charms, entertains and educates – and possibly also startles a non-menstruater or two. Directed and co-written by Dr Lori Leigh with performers Stevie Hancox-Monk, Pippa Drakeford-Croad, Maggie White and Sarah Bergbusch, this show is a powerful sketch-based comedy that calls out sexism in the theatre industry, veiled as the preservation of (male) playwrights’ visions.
Years ago, Andi Snelling was bitten by a tick while on holiday in New Zealand. The resulting Lyme Disease left her unable to perform, unable to do much except fight to stay alive. Happy Go Wrong is the show she never thought she would be able to make. That description makes the show sound rather tragic, but Snelling presents us with a moving take on suffering - That it’s not until you are close to death that you truly know how much you want to live. The result is a celebration of life that is profoundly moving, joyful and life affirming.
You’re a Good Man, Doctor Pirate is the latest offering from cult-classic comedian Gillian English. I sit down next to a Fringe regular who informs me that they saw English’s show at last year’s festival and “she’s brilliant”. The bar is set high, and English leaps over it pulling the finger and probably yelling “F**K THE MAN”.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.