GAG REFLEX is a (more or less) one woman show, created by Rachel Atlas, and directed by Sabrina Martin. GAG REFLEX takes us through Atlas’s experiences as a performer, a sex worker, and a survivor, in a world that often feels like it is not built for women like her. This is Atlas’ first venture onto the stage as an actor, and I must say, what a strong entrance!
Wendybird is the latest theatrical outing for fast-emerging company Blue Flicker. This year they bring Prea Millar’s debut solo show to fringe – a playful reclaiming of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, from Wendy’s perspective. More than that though, it is an artful reflection on a young woman’s experience growing up in someone else’s story.
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.
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.
No! I’m Not Australian! by Ocean Denham is a storytelling stand-up comedy show centred around an OE gone wrong – over and over again. In 45 minutes, we travel across the UK, vicariously living out Denham’s most mortifying moments.
Courtney Rose Brown
Horny & Confused, Big Estrogen Energy’s debut show is a nuanced comedic triumph. Katie Hill and Charlotte Glucina bring wit, spice and every delight to retellings of their sexual experiences as they charm all with their upbeat Taylor Swift-esq (but woke-er) musical numbers and Hill’s stand up.
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.
Blue Flicker Productions offers up an ethical dilemma about pain and the power of knowledge through a feminist lens. Is it better to forget your trauma? Should you tell someone the truth if all it brings is suffering? In Should Have Said No, directed by Zoe Christall, it’s up to the audience to decide.
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.
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.
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.
Rose Matafeo is everybody’s Sassy Best Friend - brassy, supportive, dorky, endearing and lightening-quick to a punchline. Her hour-long stand-up show is a delightful mismatch of wildly varied, relatable stories about her quest for confidence; stories about leaving her side-kick tendencies behind to become the leading lady in her own life. It’s a masterclass in call-backs, self-deprecating humour and distinctly Kiwi stand-up comedy.
by Laura Ferguson
The lights dim. A woop gets exalted from an effervescent crowd already bursting to see 26 Cats Destroy the Patriarchy. A parody of news show music plays and a stream of real news items rolls through the theatre. What should we do about the gender pay gap? Why are women’s rights still such a global issue? Is our Prime Minister a feminist? These questions set the tone for what the play will explore with authenticity and a range of understanding bridged over three generations.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.