The house was full for Wellington Repertory Theatre’s premiere of Nell Gwynn. The air is festive as we sit, orange-sellers of yore hawking their wares, bringing alive that 17th-century spirit. They stay while the play begins in earnest. A young actor flubbing his lines and the orange-sellers heckle him as if they were the crowd. I love this touch, the cheeky calls and the flustered character on stage turning red and more awkward. Nell starts speaking up and her quick-wittedness is apparent from the start. I laugh heartily at the innuendos and sly remarks, Ewen Coleman’s directing allowing for a spectacularly immersive opening.
by Laura Ferguson
As I sit in the corner of Circa Theatre, I notice the ever-building buzz of the crowd. Snippets of conversation filter through: ‘Well, Kinane’s Paua was…’ and ‘Oh, Wolfe directed Waru? It’s going to TIFF, right?’ This crowd is very familiar with the works of the playwright, Emma Kinane, and the director, Katie Wolfe. For me, this is my first time. I am not familiar with their previous work and though looking forward to Anahera, I do feel a slight trepidation. The play has been touted as one to come to if you enjoyed Broadchurch, but really, does one actually enjoy something like Broadchurch? I feel the creeping dread that I will be walking into heartbreak.
Forbidden love, teen angst and mummy-issues are given centre stage in Smoko Company’s new play The Swimmer at BATS Theatre this week. The production gives its audience all the emotional intensity you’d expect from such material. And then some. And then some more after that. Bold and in-your-face, The Swimmer is a refreshing rejection of the naturalist vibes more common of BATS productions. But underneath all the noise, it’s hard to understand or care about what’s happening to the characters.
“Psychological flexibility is the sign of a healthy mind. A friend once told me ‘people have the right to their own stories’. Both of these things seem true, and yet they work against each other.” We May Have To Choose demonstrates, even in its very title, that ideological conflicts don't necessarily live on either side of a fence called truth.
Who are you? Who? by Best on Tap bravely explores this difficult question through an equally brave form. They present audience members’ anonymous self-assessments as a string of improvised scenes and stories, where improvisation stems from truth over comedy. By playing towards “Honest Truths” Best on Tap aim to challenge the preconception that improvisation should primarily be funny. But how truthful can an interpretation be? We write our brief identity blurbs onto cards, place them in a bowl and witness the portrayals of ourselves unfold.
These are a Few of my Favourite Sings is a delightful end of year musical show which brings together theatre goers, music lovers and those who just fancy some familiar songs, sing-alongs, and a healthy dose of Julie Andrews enthusiasm. I am one of many in the audience who grew up with Andrews so the numbers and Georgia Jamieson Emms’ autobiographical recounting of musical family life, brings a wonderful nostalgia.
Director, Adam Goodall, and Making Friends Collective revives Gavin McGibbon’s 2007 play Stand Up Love for one half of the double barrelled production at BATS. The dark comedy features Freddy and Ana: A toxic couple, struggling to find their future together while uncovering each other’s past grievances.
Courtney Rose Brown
The New Zealand premiere of Orphans, written by Lyle Kessler, opened at BATS Theatre last night and my only concern for the production is that the season is so short! Orphans follows the journey of two brothers who meet a father figure (by unconventional means) and their discoveries of self and each other. Generally when American scripts are chosen, I question why a new New Zealand piece of theatre hasn’t been chosen to be presented. However, this is not the case with Orphans as the team behind it have delivered a beautifully executed and engaging show.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.