Sarah Harpur (writer and performer) and Carrie Green’s (director) The Shit Kid describes itself as ‘a one-person play about a mediocre person’. It boasts all the things you’d want to boast about: sexy horses, Mark Todd fever dreams, your brother being a four-time Olympic gold medallist instead of you. This show is light and funny, and it will hit home for anyone who has ever felt exactly adequate.
Stain Your Brain Productions’ show You’d Look So Pretty If is wild, frenzied and surreal. In the show description, the creators say that it “will leave you feeling contemplative, and ready to scream”, and based on my own feelings leaving BATS, I’d say it’s a good prediction.
White Men is the satire you’d expect from its name. Five men, played by women, ignore their survival instincts in favour of preserving their money, status and order as the sea rises around them. It is absurd, while at the same time being completely realistic and recognisable to just about anyone who has encountered a white man – the truth of it being that it is not the show that is absurd, but the patriarchy. And in 2021, after men like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson have opted for “just carrying on” in the face of a pandemic and a climate emergency, it takes on a new kind of realism.
That’s All She Wrote is Red Scare Theatre Company’s latest spellbinder. In a move that shouldn’t be revolutionary but is, this show puts the work of female and non-binary musical theatre writers in the spotlight. Red Scare promises cabaret but delivers a robust experience that doesn’t skimp on any of the theatrical elements at its disposal, while still preserving that stripped-back feeling that gives the music space to be heard.
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.
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.
Years ago, Andi Snelling was bitten by a tick while on holiday in New Zealand. The resulting Lyme Disease left her unable to perform, unable to do much except fight to stay alive. Happy Go Wrong is the show she never thought she would be able to make. That description makes the show sound rather tragic, but Snelling presents us with a moving take on suffering - That it’s not until you are close to death that you truly know how much you want to live. The result is a celebration of life that is profoundly moving, joyful and life affirming.
Inquiet Moments, written and directed by Campbell Wright, is a physical theatre piece that explores anxiety and its impacts on relationships. Caught in a panic attack, Riley (Abby Lyons) is haunted by Wisp (Tom Hughes) and Nightmare (Emily Griffiths), the personifications of her anxiety, as she navigates memories of her relationship with Rowan (Prea Millar). It is a fast-paced and non-consecutive collection of vignettes that seems to draw its inspiration from plays like Constellations by Nick Payne, giving the audience snippets of the story to piece together as they go.
Cockroach, written and directed by Melita Rowston and performed by Leah Donovan, sets high expectations with its full belt of accolades. The show was nominated for Best Performance in Melbourne Fringe, as well as Best Sound Design, Best Director, Best Cabaret Performer and Best Cabaret Performance in the Broadway World Awards in Sydney — quite the list. It describes itself as ‘an amoral revenge tale for the #MeToo generation’, and in its exploration of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Cockroach reclaims some of society’s better-known rape cases by rewriting the events in favour of the victims.
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.
Part storytelling, part stand-up, Dancing on my Own is a jovial jive through the trials and tribulations of growing up queer and with ADD while being born for the stage. Maddy Warren, a master of physical comedy, comes into her own with the awkward punch line. Unfortunately, a lack of preparation lets her down and a sixty-minute show feels like a drawn out half hour.
Having both received a Highly Commended in Playwrights b4 25 2018 and won the teenage category of Plays for the Young in 2017, Courtney Rose Brown’s Running Late has a bit of a reputation to uphold. On top of its accolades, any show with a completely sold out season creates a buzz of its own, so I was excited to say the least. To add to the opening night hype, audience members were offered the Beth Taylor touch™ of branded Running Late sugar cookies. They tasted great—if you were wondering.
PETTY B*TCHES is an energy spike for a stale evening. In an hour of sass, song, and sideways looks, award-winning Aussie comedians Boo Dwyer and Tash York run a course on how to be petty, helping the audience become certified bitches.
Ghosts, floating, an autobiographical exhibition by Wellington artist and writer Briana Jamieson, features a range of media including oil paintings, poetry, and sculpture. The works act as “abstract shrines to people and experiences”, taking viewers on a journey through lost summers, and moving them to feel their way through their own memories.
Waste Not Want Not: Bethany’s Guide to the Thrift Life, Bethany Grace Miller’s debut solo show, is a piece of comedy that thrives off a thrifty Wellington audience. It is witty, imaginative, and strangely close to home.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.