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.
HarleQueen is a one-woman comedy show written and performed by Abby Howells, and directed by Anya Tate-Manning. HarleQueen is a celebration of female fools, taking us on a journey through the history of female comedy. Abby intermingles the stories of famous female comedians like Joan Rivers and Mabel Normand with her own discovery of her love for comedy.
Cyndi Lauper’s Time after Time, quickly followed by Madonna’s Material Girl, welcomes me into BATS Random Stage to see a show about women, sex, and beauty standards. Low Level Panic by Claire McIntyre, directed by Six Degrees Festival’s Harriette Barker, ticks those three boxes, as we watch flatmates Mary (Charlotte Glucina), Jo (Amy Dean), and Celia (Zoë Christall) as their bathroom turns into a place to confide in each other and to the audience.
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.
Feminist fruit comedy punk band The Rotten Cores are back from their award winning Fringe season. In Discharge is Rotten to the Core, directed by Christine Brooks, friendships, old and new, are put the test during an intense band practice. The show is a fresh, vibrant, laugh out loud musical with lots of artificial colours and naturally funny flavours.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.