We are coming to the end of a year which has been hard on everyone, but few more so than our arts communities (shout out to our healthcare workers who definitely take the top spot for most rubbish year, y’all are awesome!!). On Sunday night though, you’d hardly have known how exhausted everyone is feeling. As we enter the Hannah Playhouse for this year’s Wellington Theatre Awards, the vibes are jubilant, the spirits are high and there is much to celebrate!!
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?
If The Best Foods Comedy Gala 2022 is any indication of the year ahead in comedy, we have a lot to look forward to. Having been rescheduled due to Covid, the Comedy Gala kicks off to a sold-out crowd on Friday night who’ve been waiting for this since May. The line up is packed with acts I’ve never seen before, and several who I’m dying to see, and I overhear chatter as we file in about who people are there for. The Michael Fowler Centre is packed as we enter, everyone is fizzing and everywhere you look there’s mayonnaise, what’s not to love?
Sean Burnett Dugdale-Martin
SquareSums&Co’s show Bunny, written, directed and performed by Barnie Duncan and produced by Yee Yang ‘Square’ Lee is a love letter to clubbing and an exploration of dealing with grief. Made in the weeks following the death of his mother, Robyn, Duncan brings this iteration of Bunny to BATS with a year of development under its belt, having been made for the 2021 Comedy Fest.
Close to You is a new improvised theatrical offering from Wellington improv stalwarts Best on Tap. The show explores closeness, far-ness, and how distance impacts on people and relationships across all walks of life. Based on audience suggestions, these generous and intelligent improvisers shared a delightful show full of surprises to an adoring Thursday night crowd.
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.
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!
Poe’d is an improvised play paying homage to gothic horror and it’s most well-remembered foreparent Edgar Allan Poe. The Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT) tackle a challenging form with gusto and courage and create a night of interesting theatre made up on the spot.
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.
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.
Wise Guy is the latest theatrical offering from the exciting young company, Soy People Productions, and is their second mainstage production at BATS. This ambitious play tackles everything from the foibles of comedy to the harsh reality of an AIDS diagnosis in a full-flight theatrical exploration.
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.
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.
That is a lot of haiku
He reads every one
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.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.