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”.
Spoiler: Will and Brendan Are Cancelled was in fact, not cancelled. The title of the show is just the first snafu of many in this messy, but somehow endearing sketch comedy show.
Blue Flicker Productions offers up an ethical dilemma about pain and the power of knowledge through a feminist lens. Is it better to forget your trauma? Should you tell someone the truth if all it brings is suffering? In Should Have Said No, directed by Zoe Christall, it’s up to the audience to decide.
The suburb of Mount Victoria in Wellington is home to many character houses, they sit picturesque with pillars upon porches to shelter the front door, and key fumblers, from rain. In one such home, I enter Luke Scott’s Little Theater of Big Dreams. The charming folks at the theatre company Horse With No Name have entered another thoroughbred of a show into this year’s Fringe Festival. This time we enter a world of shadow puppetry and more stories that will make you laugh, cry and some that will hug you with a feeling of warm familiarity. All of it is ecstatically, fantastically amazing.
Wellington actor and theatremaker Jean Sergent may have her sun in Aries and moon in Libra, but damn, she must have some kind of special relationship with Pluto.
Her new solo show Change Your Own Life is a warmly presented and sharply observed take on life after death – not for those in heaven, but for those on Earth still writhing in the hellish pain of loss.
Inquiet Moments, written and directed by Campbell Wright, is a physical theatre piece that explores anxiety and its impacts on relationships. Caught in a panic attack, Riley (Abby Lyons) is haunted by Wisp (Tom Hughes) and Nightmare (Emily Griffiths), the personifications of her anxiety, as she navigates memories of her relationship with Rowan (Prea Millar). It is a fast-paced and non-consecutive collection of vignettes that seems to draw its inspiration from plays like Constellations by Nick Payne, giving the audience snippets of the story to piece together as they go.
Feminah is a funny, feirce and furiously feminist ‘f*** you’ to the power structures that be. Creator and performer Charlotte Otton is so watchable that even during curated moments of deep discomfort, I cannot keep my eyes off her. The patriarchy is ‘going down on us but not in a good way’ and Otton is here to save us from shit sex and even shitter sexism. The show promises an ‘explosion of gritty femininity’. While it delivers vulgarity in bucket loads, for this reviewer who is all too familiar with feminist theory, it takes off admirably but never quite lands on anything we haven’t heard before.
Transhumance explores gender and what it means to exist between locations. What’s it like to take your best guess at womanhood, or at manhood? How do we get treated by society when we occupy these spaces? And how does this make us feel? This clown show slowly unpacks these concepts, uncoiling in front of the audience, showing us what it might feel like to not quite belong in one, or the other. Ania Upstill takes a train of sorts, between each experience of gender, and endeavours to follow a map of “female” and “male” at each destination. Upstills’ physical struggles to maintain these genders and their larger than life attempts to occupy them provokes both laughter and empathy.
OK, I love Dungeons & Dragons. I run a game and am a player in another. I collect dice. I obsess over reddit threads discussing how to best fight beholders and I have over 70 characters created on the DnDBeyond website. So you can imagine how excited I was to see Diceratops Presents: When Dwarves Cry. The show involves Dungeons & Dragons played live on stage within the ongoing story that Diceratops has on their podcast. The Dungeon Master, Morgan Davies leads the story, creating the world and plot as the three other players interact with it. Hilarity and intrigue abound, dice are thrown, successes are cheered, failures are met with sympathetic hisses. This is definitely what I expect from DnD.
Four dancers step into the void. Light slowly creeps on to the stage. Three of the dancers are masked. Delicate music builds with the light. The masked dancers stalk our protagonist. They latch on to him like ghoulish parasites. He cannot escape.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.