Remember sleepovers? The delirious, sugar-fuelled bonding. Being allowed to stay up past bed-time and share everything while your parents weren’t listening. Heartbreaker Productions has used that time and those memories as a playground to dance, play and laugh in their newly devised anthology Midnight Confessions – and it’s an absolute delight!
Ephemeral Theatre’s RAW! ASMR is a devised solo feminist clown show by Amy Atkins and, according to the programme, is the first of its kind in Aotearoa. Directed by Sara Hirsch and devised by Bethany Miller, Amy Booth, Liz Butler, and Pája Neuhöferov, the show is 45 minutes of whispered chaos, and as an avid ASMR fan, I feel ecstatic that this niche corner of YouTube content has been given some theatrical legs. While evidently a development season, RAW! ASMR is bright, fresh, and Atkins is a skilled entertainer.
Now Face the World by Curvebox theatre company is a devised show about every arts student’s worst nightmare: graduating. Their Fringe description promises ‘an irreverent fever dream of our greatest artistic career hopes and heartbreaks’, and I would say that a ‘fever dream’ is somewhat close to what is delivered.
Shitspeare is a rapid-fire devised piece, cutting together words from various Shakespeare plays to reframe them from a feminist perspective. It examines gender power imbalances in modern day Aotearoa and calls for change.
This is Fine: A Musical, directed by Pauline Ward and James Wenley, is an ambitious piece for Fringe. It is fully devised and weighs in at a whopping two and a half hours in length. Originally, this show was devised a year ago as part of a Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington 300-level theatre paper, but, due to COVID-19 complications, it has only just hit the stage now with an expanded cast and crew.
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.
Claire Waldron is the sole performer (the only stupid b*tch?) in this Six Degrees Festival show, a suite of productions by Victoria University’s Master of Fine Arts – Theatre programme.
Like most creatives, I have a list of people I want to make a show with. Some are obvious: friends of mine from the spoken word scene, previous collaborators, talented peers. Some are farther reaching: the writer of that play I reviewed which I couldn’t find fault with, or directors I have followed for decades. But nowhere on this long and inclusive dream list have I included anyone I was ever in an actual relationship with. The closest I got was making a solo show about a particularly memorable break up. We hadn’t spoken for a year when I performed it to a room full of strangers, but even that was too close for comfort.
Comedy connoisseurs Eli Matthewson (The Male Gayz) and Brynley Stent (Funny Girls) are far braver than I.
Once There was a Woman is a poignant plunge into grief that hurtles between airborne imaginative sequences and the stark reality of losing a loved one. This slickly performed solo show from writer/performer Beth Kayes, chronicles the loss of her mother, from the shock of diagnosis to the agony of the final goodbye. Whilst some of the choices don’t quite reach their peak, Kayes is a masterful storyteller who brings warmth, humour and delicacy to this all too familiar experience.
Order Up is a devised cabaret show inspired by the stories of hospitality workers in Wellington.It is also performed by a cast of mostly past or current hospitality workers. Order Up is a fun late night show which will make you laugh and cringe. But more than that, Order Up is both a critique and celebration of the hospitality industry that will make you think twice before you complain about shoddy service.
The Attitudes: Refusing Performance at BATS Theatre is an examination of whiteness, an art piece that opens a long overdue conversation and asks for pākehā to look within and start the change we want to see in the world.
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.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.