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!
Music Sounds Better Out Here from Squash Co Arts Collective (written and performed by Jack McGee; directed by Ben Kelly) is a storytelling marvel. Everything from set to animation to script to performance is spectacular, and it is the best show I have seen in Fringe so far. I don’t write many all-out rave reviews, but, Fringe judges, I hope you’re watching.
Big Foot by Fringe-nominated makers of Should Have Said No, Blue Flicker Productions, explores the space where imagination and denial meet. Siblings Eva (Rebekah de Roo) and Charlie (Daniel Nodder), now adults, go hunting for their presumed-dead childhood friend Big Foot in the Land Beyond the Garden Shed, taking the audience on a tour of the fantasy world, their sibling relationship and their grief.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was a cold and wintery night in Wellington. The vampires have all vacated Circa Theatre to make room for children’s theatre in the school holidays and a tröll… In the dungeon? No. In our very walls! Award-winning theatre company Trick of the Light give us TRÖLL, a 90s Icelandic-New Zealand dial-up internet story told by an enthusiastic and easily likable 11 year old Ottó (Ralph McCubbin Howell). Ottó really likes the internet because he’s able to connect to people who also like the Dark Ages, can be 12, and choose his own name. But when the internet takes a turn for the worst, Ottó falls into darker places, places where tröll’s grow…
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.
by Laura Ferguson
How could I possibly resist a show that has a cute, little, orange kitteh on the poster? For me, it’s impossible, so along I go to Brendon Green’s Of Consequence. Having seen Green a couple of years ago with a very feline-themed show, I was looking forward the the comedian’s brand of storytelling humour. Sitting down, I feel that same familiarity I felt last time, Green’s presence is fun, friendly and relaxing, like a bubble bath of comedy.
Blonde Mountain Wolf Man, a piece of solo physical theatre by Craig Geenty, is an exploration of family history with strong emphasis on name, place, and identity. In an hour, the audience is taken on a journey that is both lighthearted and oddly intimate.
Dolphins are fun, friendly, and full of energy, and Thinking Dolphins at BATS was also all of these things. As I walk up to the Heyday Dome, the doors are closed and I panic that the show has already begun! Thankfully, this was only to keep the mysterious stage smoke within the theatre. As soon as I stepped into the space, the actors greeted me and spoke enthusiastically to the audience. Their energy juxtaposed the ominous smoke and the moody blue and green lighting palette.
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.
Clare Kerrison's Infernal Recall is a whimsical improv storytelling adventure that activates audience engagement in a unique way.
We sit in the new Scruffy Bunny Improv Theatre, ready to watch Clare Kerrison's Infernal Recall. Clare Kerrison herself potters around, asking us (wisely) to move forward, since “it’s an intimate show”. She then adds, “oh but don’t worry, not touching-intimate”.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.