Two hours and fifteen minutes. Making my way into BATS, up to my seat at the back of the theatre, the same question keeps coming out of different mouths. Is this play actually two hours and fifteen minutes long?
Sean Burnett Dugdale-Martin
Isaac Martyn’s show He Māori? asks what it means to reclaim Māoritanga from a Pākehā upbringing. Returning to BATS Theatre for Tahi Festival after a sold-out first season, Martyn leads the audience on a journey of total confusion to partial understanding – weaving together elements of stand-up comedy, waiata, and theatrical performance to explore the doubt, celebration, and the complicated nature of identity.
Sean Burnett Dugdale-Martin
Wake Productions’ stand-up show The Scottish Kiwi is helmed by ‘born and fled’ Scottish New Zealander Ryan McGhee with Michael Macauley as the warm-up act. From the winner of Best Newcomer Lower North Island at the NZ Comedy Guild Awards, this show is an up-beat romp across continents as McGhee gives comedic life to his misadventures in Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand.
Always funny, sometimes smutty, definitely gay.
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.
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.
Ellen Morgan Butler
If I could describe What’s the Purpose of this Project? (created by Potentially Playing Productions’s Evangelina Telfar and Marcus Jackson) in one word, I would describe it as lovely. Or cerebral. Or dreamy. But this project requires much more than just one word.
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.
Ellen Morgan Butler
I’ll be honest. I’ve never really been a fan of minimalist or abstract art. Sure, there’s the odd so and so that I think “hm, pretty,” but mostly it goes over my head. When I walked into the stark white of the Toi Pōneke Gallery to view Gary Peters’s colourful exhibition New Old Forms, however, I think maybe something clicked.
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.
And we’re back with another NZIF instalment. Impulse Theatre graced the Random Stage on Thursday evening (and will until Saturday 12 October) with their touring show Off Book: The Musical, which is exactly what it sounds like: an improvised musical. For this season, however, the cast of six is joined by Wellington’s very own Bethany Miller, who adds a dose of cheery optimism to the mix.
New Zealand Improv Fest officially opened on Wednesday night, spearheaded by Here’s a Thing: NZIF Kickoff, MC’d by Jennifer O’Sullivan. This show was jam-packed with the kind of audience anticipation that any kickoff performance should hope to earn. It felt like I was back in high school, attending my first ever theatre fest.
Theatre company, Rollicking Entertainment’s latest offering to Circa Theatre is a deep dive into the world of hauntings and superstition. Inspired by performers Lizzie Tollemache and David Ladderman’s discovery (while on their honeymoon) of the many ghost stories which ruminate through the lands and minds of Central Otago, The Dunstan Creek Haunting is both a joyful adventure and spooky as heck.
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.
Me ’n’ Ma is a wholesome and delightful addition to this year’s Comedy Festival. We are welcomed into the space by a beaming Hamish Parkinson who offers popcorn and lemonade on the way to our seats. He greets every audience member with warmth and gratitude, setting the tone for the heart-warming 55 minutes ahead.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.