3 Steps Back, written and performed by Emma Katene (Ngāti Kahungunu) and directed by Kate Anderson, is a sharp and generous solo that attempts to map Katene’s experience with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) since her formal diagnosis in 2020. At once performance poetry, physical theatre and vocal show, Katene invites us to ‘sit back and perhaps even eat some snacks, while [she] sings and dances her way through the feeling of two dimensions colliding. Watch out though, you might even see some of your own pathways reflected.’
Now Face the World by Curvebox theatre company is a devised show about every arts student’s worst nightmare: graduating. Their Fringe description promises ‘an irreverent fever dream of our greatest artistic career hopes and heartbreaks’, and I would say that a ‘fever dream’ is somewhat close to what is delivered.
Glass Town is a new offering from Knot Theatre. They’re coming in hot off the back of Bruises (Winner – Grand Design Award, NZ Fringe 2021) and a nomination for most promising emerging company at last year’s Fringe, and I am so excited to see what they will serve up, 12 months on. They say the second album is the hardest, and I’m afraid it may well be true for this production.
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.
After having to cancel their debut season due to COVID-19, Colossal is back with Laser Kiwi #2, the second iteration of their sellout show, Laser Kiwi, and it is well worth the wait. It follows the same unique form that can only be labelled as ‘circus sketch comedy’, with all new, never-before-seen content and the same manic energy.
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.
Lift Off is a showcase of young talent presented by Te Auaha for the New Zealand Fringe Festival 2020. It promises “tomorrow’s taste-makers live and firing on all cylinders” and it absolutely delivers. The showcase is a triple-bill of emerging artists demonstrating talent across all disciplines of performance. There’s song, dance, music, monologue, drama, comedy and even multiple languages spoken on stage. It’s an artistic smorgasboard which guarantees something for everyone and that’s what Fringe is all about!
Mr Fungus Returns is a mischievous and entertaining children’s show, with room to become a family favourite. Mr Fungus (Fergus Aitken) leads us through an hour of mime, prop-work, and clowning which has a basic two-part structure. Act one is an elaborate physical journey as Mr Fungus makes his way to the theatre. Obstacles include a snowstorm and a cleverly executed bus journey in which Aitken switches between seven or eight familiar, bus-dwelling characters.
Written and performed by Damien Warren-Smith, and directed and cowritten by Cal McCrystal, Garry Starr Performs Everything is riot of a show that will delight theatre-makers and casual audience members alike. Having won awards in the Adelaide, Brighton, and Manchester 2018 Fringe Festivals, and having been nominated for both Best Newcomer and the Golden Gibbo Award in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2018, I was intrigued to say the least. Let me break down this must-see of Wellington Fringe Festival 2019.
Once There was a Woman is a poignant plunge into grief that hurtles between airborne imaginative sequences and the stark reality of losing a loved one. This slickly performed solo show from writer/performer Beth Kayes, chronicles the loss of her mother, from the shock of diagnosis to the agony of the final goodbye. Whilst some of the choices don’t quite reach their peak, Kayes is a masterful storyteller who brings warmth, humour and delicacy to this all too familiar experience.
Retold dreams are typically incoherent rambles only interesting for the teller. I usually don’t want to hear about your dream unless I was in it. Director and writer Shona Jaunas, however, delivers a lucid odyssey into the subconscious of her protagonist in The Dream. The experimental theatre piece layers film, psychedelic soundscapes and dramatic lights to illustrate just how our dreams can be more than the sum of its random images.
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.
by Laura Ferguson
2 actors, 15 characters and a meta interpretation of theatre? Wow, sounds like a fun ride, one I am willingly strapping myself into tonight. Stones in His Pockets has opened at the Gryphon Theatre and I’ve been looking forward to seeing this show for a while. The challenge of seeing two actors portray an Orphan Black style of theatre is very compelling and I can’t wait to see what director, Tanya Piejus, does with such a fascinating concept.
“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.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.