Mental Illness. Those words conjure images of black holes and dark thoughts. Well attempts to shed some light on a subject that is deep and personal to many people. A devised theatre piece made from the interviews of over 30 volunteers that speaks to the fears of those with mental illness and the misconceptions of those without.
MOM - Meet Our Mum is performed and devised by the Third Year students of Applied Arts at Whitireia and it is a challenging and thought-provoking performance. It covers a plethora of main issues we have in our world today, using interesting and unique ways to discuss them.
Courtney Rose Brown
Dust Pilgrim is a devised work with a focus on interweaving physical performance and theatrical magic. Presented by Red Leap Theatre and directed by Julie Nolan and Kate Parker, it is a simple story of a young woman named Panuelo’s fight for freedom. Dust Pilgrim is an enchanting production which is devised by Alison Bruce, Ella Becroft and Tom Eason. The creative team weave magic with their craft and the audience is captivated.
Courtney Rose Brown
Power Plays, directed by Leo Gene Peters, is part of the Ensemble Impacts 2016 school tour. The team of four performers: Katrina Wesseling, Calvin Petersen, Johanna Cosgrove and Shane Murphy have helped devised a structure around five of Arthur Meek’s plays to give bite sized servings of The Cottage, Charles Darwin: Collapsing Creation, On the Upside Down of the World, Mando the Goatherd, and Sheep. The cast present a satirical spin on the works, framing the extracts within the familiar form of a self improvement seminar as the audience is cast as students studying NCEA standards.
Courtney Rose Brown
SolOTHELLO is part of the 2016 Kia Mau Festival that is taking Wellington by storm this Matariki. Presented by Te Rēhia Theatre Company alongside the British Council, SolOTHELLO is a one man show performed by Regan Taylor and directed by Craig Geenty. As the name suggests, the show is William Shakespeare’s Othello, performed as a solo. However, Geenty and Taylor transform what could have easily been an ego trip, (tackling one of Shakespeare’s most ambitious plays solo) into something that is beautiful in the simplicity of deft storytelling. With the use of Te Mata Kokako o Rehia (traditional Maori mask) Taylor reclaims the story of Othello into the lands of Aotearoa, in telling the audience that William Shakespeare is a thief. SolOTHELLO is one man’s retelling of the jealousies and manipulation from Othello in a new and innovative way which brings an exhilarating life force to the text.
With expectations of Sex Dungeons, and stories of lust and sadism; I attended De Sade with great excitement and trepidation. I wasn’t disappointed. The start of the show full of imagery of decadence and pleasure despite his imprisonment. De Sade is written by, directed by and performed by Alexander Sparrow, who appears in full nakedness with riding crop in hand, beginning the show with a visceral introduction to what awaits.
Presented by InSite (THEA 311 students of Victoria University)
Directed by Kerryn Palmer
As we take shelter from the erratic Wellington weather on Sunday evening, we are greeted with a warmth that reverberates within the walls of the famed Thistle Inn, New Zealand’s oldest surviving tavern. This warmth comes not only from the lights and heaters but from the friendly faces of the THEA 311 students who welcome us with smiles, drinks, song and laughter. The Cheers theme is playing on the piano and a distinct feeling overcomes me: comfort. It is a feeling that would only grow stronger as the show progressed, with the company taking us on a journey of how this historic establishment has provided hope, solace and comfort over many a strife in the course of its one hundred seventy-six-year history.
I went to a comedy show tonight that not only made me laugh big snorting laughs, but also made me question my life, made me cry as I remembered my mother, and reignited my desire to do something more than just what I do everyday until I retire or die. Though I was a complete stranger, I hugged that comic hard. That comic was Alice Fraser and her show is Savage.
Courtney Rose Brown
Nelson’s Refinery warmly welcomes one of the last shows from Pat-A-Cake Productions tour of Where the Wild Woman Is, with a fully packed out theatre, as extra chairs are hastily added to already long rows. Where the Wild Woman Is, is a One woman show that is devised and performed by Ingrid Saker. Winner of ‘Best Actress’ and ‘Edgiest Show’ in Nelson Fringe 2016.
We enter into a pre-show of Saker interacting with the crowd, adopting a monkey like physicality, with clowning behaviour. At times, pre-shows can be jarring, creating confusion about whether or not the show has already started, or if as an audience member, you really have to pay attention to what is happening or not. Saker’s interactions however, create a relaxed atmosphere, where before the show has already begun she has introduced the idea of audience interaction, where everyone is game to participate. As the house lights dim, she has the audience leaning forward on their seats, fully engaged, as she is enchanting to watch.
When we think of the idiom The Wild Blue Yonder I think of heading off somewhere and never coming back, the internet describes it as when you go somewhere far away that seems exciting because it is not known. Heading into Brendhan Lovegrove’s show it explains pretty well how I felt. I’d heard a lot about his comedy and was excited to see the unknown for myself. He didn’t disappoint, he went some crazy places with his comedy but what a good time!
Career decisions to love life lessons, Louise Beuvink is having a Quarter-Life Crisis and she’s invited us along for the ride. Her dark humour and astute observation leads to some brilliantly funny confession stories and other sweet moments of introspection.
Nik Bruce-Smith never had an answer to the question: “What's your five year plan?” Plans also have a way of not working out for him like he thinks. One glorious day he found the answer and it turned out to be a question…. Marry Me, Taylor Swift?
Pressure Makes Diamonds and this show is a shining example of that. Laura Daniel is a 2016 Billy T Nominee and the pressure is on to compete with the other nominees for that coveted top spot. She promises us a spectacle and what she’s delivered is a rollercoaster ride of glorious glitter, dancing and comedy to sink your teeth into.
It’s a peculiar experience reviewing the opening night for A Trial because it is very clearly a part of a serial and its merit hinges on how the production unfolds as a whole. But for the purpose of this review, I will address my thoughts on this particular night’s show as objectively as I can. I’ve also chosen to review the second night, which I think is far more indicative of the show’s aims. As you would infer from the title, the show satirizes the proceedings of a trial. In this case, TVNZ takes an unnamed defendant to court for purporting that their infamous Kiwimeter survey is racist and that TVNZ themselves are propagandists serving the government agenda.
Disclaimer: I have existing relationships with members of the cast but I won't pull punches because I respect those relationships and am writing this review from a place of honesty and a desire to offer useful feedback for the creators of this work.
This is a show that knows it's being staged in a bar and uses that to its advantage. It wants you to have a few drinks. Which is a smart way for a show to be when it's also a show that hinges so much on audience participation.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.