‘Tis A Pity She’s A Piglet by Paul Foot has drawn a packed-out theatre to Hannah Playhouse. We sit listening to classical music (a nod to Foot’s pop-culture cluelessness) and await our host’s arrival. As the house lights dim, Foot comes prancing onto the stage like an energetic pixie that has recently frequented an oddity-laden op-shop. His appearance invariably includes a bright, fat tie and tonight is no exception; the silk tie bounces light like a prism. There is no preamble and he gets stuck into the show. He comes off stage, gets right in our faces, and describes imagined scenarios from the virtual depths of Twitter. I’m not entirely sure if these are rehearsed or made up on the spot, but they are wonderfully funny regardless.
“The Exorcist meets Sesame Street” is no stretch of the imagination for Hand to God. It’s not your typical puppet show: R-rated and chock-full of sex, sin, and swear words. Hand to God centres around a young boy from present-day Texas and how he’s coping six months after the death of his father. Oh, and there’s a possessed hand puppet. Clearly, not everything is as it seems. This show is about scapegoats and hidden feelings as much as it’s about religion and loss. What comes from this rendition of the Broadway success is a production that upheaves all the comedy we could ever want and filters those themes subtly, but surely.
Naked Girls Reading is a bi-monthly show that aims to desexualise and intellectualise the naked female form. It’s feminist, it’s badass and it’s thoroughly entertaining. This month’s theme is Fantasy, which is apparently the most requested theme of all. Everyone, no matter their age, identity or preferences, can escape into a make-believe story (and if you don’t believe me you should google fantasy fan-fiction - it’s prolific).
Paper Shaper is a story about a long-faced but cheerful rubbish man (Peter Wilson) who meets the marvellous yet mischievous Paper Shaper (puppeteered by Kenny King). When the two first meet in a park, they start out as rivals who battle over the park’s rubbish bin. However, as they decide to take a chance on one another, they become best friends. While there’s a subtle, underlying lesson about recycling, it’s not the point of Paper Shaper. Instead, the focus is a story about a friendship between two unlikely companions, and Paper Shaper is all the better for it.
The BATS foyer is abuzz with patrons – mostly parents and young children, bundled up against the weather and hoping for some heart-warming entertainment against the winter chill. “What a treat!” I hear one parent exclaim. The kids are universally wide-eyed, talkative, and bubbling with infectious excitement. I can’t help but hope Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge pays dividends to their anticipation.
Seeing a Shakespeare play which you know absolutely nothing about can fall into two camps: an exhausting challenge or a pleasurable surprise. This is the risk the Lonely Shakespeare Collective take on in its mission to present Shakespeare’s lesser performed works. Their latest offering is Cymbeline: a tricky text stuffing many of Shakespeare’s most infamous plot devices and character tropes into a two hour play. The result is at times chaotic and overwhelming, but thankfully the Lonely Shakespeare Collective help make it a smooth ride.
by Laura Ferguson
Walking in from the cold, biting wind, I am delighted to find Circa Theatre is dotted with lively characters from one of my favourite sub-cultures: steampunk. The Victorian era in which Mr and Mrs Alexander Sideshow and Psychics! is set has brought them out in droves and it is always a happy occasion when I get to see a show with such an enthusiastic crowd. On entering the theatre, the row behind us engages in debate about tertiary magician training, the lights dim and a foggy blue and red-lit 19th century ether descends upon the stage. I wriggle excitedly as crackling, gramophone-esque music plays a twinkling piano tune.
Mrs Alexander enters in the fashion of a silent movie, with exaggerated movements and no dialogue as she places utensils upon a table. She pauses, staring us down with a loaded look until we clap and cheer before she gracefully curtsies and leaves the stage. Her husband, Mr Alexander, follows in this wordless introduction, performing the classic “stubborn suitcase” mime trick to prepare us for the spirited nature of the show. I can tell, even now, that much of what we will experience today will be a cavalcade of carnival accoutrements and I’m grinning already in anticipation.
by Laura Ferguson
Ah, the Raw Comedy Quest. The epitome of future champagne-swilling, nonchalant hand gestured “Well I saw them when” experiences. Raw is like the gift-giving celebration of comedy, each performer a new and exciting present to unwrap, making discoveries, reacting with the unbidden enthusiasm of a six-year-old on those hallowed occasions. Sometimes you get that toy that looked cool in the ad, sometimes you get something you’re not quite sure of but it seems interesting. Yes, sometimes you get socks, and weird ones with cats on them at that, but sometimes you get exactly what you wanted. That present that builds a bubble of delight inside you and makes you giddy with happiness. I got all of these at Raw.
by Laura Ferguson
The Opera House was sparkling with titillation as I sat down to await the beginning of Cosmic Shambles LIVE! This was a new type of show for me, encompassing an intriguing blend of comedy, music and science. The lights dim and my excitement mounts. A short movie begins playing and yet another theatrical medium is introduced; to my utter delight, we get treated to a comedy sketch with puppets!
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.