It’s school holidays once again, you know what that means? Another high quality children’s show at Circa Theatre, of course! I am delighted to see Mr Fungus Dreams (directed by Amalia Calder and Thom Monckton) on a blustery Saturday morning. The packed audience of Circa Two is mainly made up of those of the kindy-going age, none the less we are all entranced and entertained by the impressive performance of Fergus Aitken as the titular Mr Fungus.
If you are a parent looking to entertain both yourself and your child in the last week of the school holidays, have I got the show for you. The Adventures of Tahi and Kōwhai is the latest play by children’s theatre company, Little Dog Barking, and acts as a prequel to their previous work in 2021, The White Tree. The show follows the titular Tahi and Kōwhai, two adorable hoiho, as they fall in love and begin their lives together. Whimsically delightful, and filled to the brim with humour and charming puppets, The Adventures of Tahi and Kōwhai is another hit for Little Dog Barking.
Sean Burnett Dugdale-Martin
The Wasp produced by Alice Kirker, directed by Sam Snedden, and written by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm is a sharp reminder that if you don’t deal with your past, it is sure to deal with you. This production is a jaw-dropping, fist-clenching thriller and darkly funny throughout. It is a must-see and some of the best theatre Wellington has on offer.
The Magnificent Weirdos’ Tea with Terrorists, written and performed by Sameena Zehra and directed by Sabrina Martin, is a masterful solo show where comedic storytelling combines seamlessly with warmth and intimacy making every minute count. The triumph of this show is Zehra’s unapologetic approach to every retelling of her often dark, sometimes salacious (and always funny!) tales of her life in and across Kabul, Kashmir, and the UK. The skilled nuances to Zehra’s honesty demand she is listened to in the way that never feels, just that– demanding, it’s not just honesty– it’s an unaffected conviction in her ability to hold a room.
It was a cold and wintery night in Wellington. The vampires have all vacated Circa Theatre to make room for children’s theatre in the school holidays and a tröll… In the dungeon? No. In our very walls! Award-winning theatre company Trick of the Light give us TRÖLL, a 90s Icelandic-New Zealand dial-up internet story told by an enthusiastic and easily likable 11 year old Ottó (Ralph McCubbin Howell). Ottó really likes the internet because he’s able to connect to people who also like the Dark Ages, can be 12, and choose his own name. But when the internet takes a turn for the worst, Ottó falls into darker places, places where tröll’s grow…
Theatre company, Rollicking Entertainment’s latest offering to Circa Theatre is a deep dive into the world of hauntings and superstition. Inspired by performers Lizzie Tollemache and David Ladderman’s discovery (while on their honeymoon) of the many ghost stories which ruminate through the lands and minds of Central Otago, The Dunstan Creek Haunting is both a joyful adventure and spooky as heck.
Footnote New Zealand Dance presents five emerging artists in their short-term dance company, ChoreCo 2019. In Nobody Hears the Axe Fall the talented team suspend reality and envelop the audience in a visceral, haunting world.
by Laura Ferguson
One event I truly miss since moving from Christchurch is their annual World Buskers Festival. That’s one reason I look forward to the productions of Rollicking Entertainment starring husband-and-wife team Lizzie Tollemache and David Ladderman. Their latest offering, Seven Deadly Stunts, brings me more of what I crave in a busker festival-less world: excitement, thrills, fun and the bouncing curiosity of seeing feats even my imagination wouldn’t dare attempt.
Tollemache and Ladderman’s Seven Deadly Stunts is exactly as it sounds: seven sideshow acts that combine anticipation, vicarious fear and comedy. It delivers this in chainsaws, and no, that isn’t just an awkward substitution for spades.
by Laura Ferguson
Joan, “A play about a wonderful mum and an ungrateful son,” teasingly dances in front of me as I contemplate who Joan will turn out to be. An Irish immigrant who travels to New Zealand to be with her husband, bringing their twins with her, I imagine this woman to be enterprising and pioneering.
by Laura Ferguson
There is always something incredibly special about being at Circa Theatre, and tonight is no different. Gathered in the foyer, wine or beer in hand, we are here to see the opening night of Molière award-winning, The Father by Florian Zeller. The glitz and glam of theatre comes alive in our faces, a sparkle roguishly twinkles in an eye, dazzling smiles beguile, a sparking crackle of infectious laughter catapults through the room. Anticipation for Zeller’s black comedy creating a susurrus throughout the room... We sit, the lights dim, the play begins. I am immediately enthralled.
The Father is a black comedy surrounding the titular character André (Jeffrey Thomas) and his struggles with Alzheimer’s. His daughter, Anne (Danielle Mason), tries so hard to keep her father comfortable, while simultaneously attempting to lead her own life. In every scene, André is sure he is in his own flat, except the furniture and artwork continuously changes around him, so I know that can’t be true. The disintegration and reforming of what is true and what is not becomes a constant of The Father. I am forced to examine each new truth as André states them. We are in England, no, we’re in Paris. This is André’s flat, no actually, it’s Anne’s husband, Pierre’s. Zeller’s conceptual writing style creates a piece of art that looks disjointed and confused as I walk around it, but when I strike that perfect angle, everything lines up and makes sense. Sadly, this moment never quite comes for André and he wanders, endlessly lost, even as others consistently tell him he has seen it’s true form many times.
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