As I sit in the corner of Circa Theatre, I notice the ever-building buzz of the crowd. Snippets of conversation filter through: ‘Well, Kinane’s Paua was…’ and ‘Oh, Wolfe directed Waru? It’s going to TIFF, right?’ This crowd is very familiar with the works of the playwright, Emma Kinane, and the director, Katie Wolfe. For me, this is my first time. I am not familiar with their previous work and though looking forward to Anahera, I do feel a slight trepidation. The play has been touted as one to come to if you enjoyed Broadchurch, but really, does one actually enjoy something like Broadchurch? I feel the creeping dread that I will be walking into heartbreak.
“What room do [teenagers] need?” director Samuel Phillips asks, and after watching Punk Rock, I’ve spent a lot of time collecting my thoughts, considering this question closely. Punk Rock hits close to home; it’s a story about teenagers and how they cope with loss, bullying, fear, and friendships, and as such, it easily translates its British setting to our New Zealand context. The cast and crew deliver a knockout punch, producing a performance that forces you to consider teens’ experiences with mental illness -- including, possibly, your own experiences. Punk Rock is unsettling as hell: challenging and sometimes difficult to watch, but all in service of a greater goal. It left me deeply pensive about my place in these issues.
What is it about hotels that make them the perfect backdrop for magic and mystery? Perhaps it is all the strange people who come and go, perhaps it’s the fact that they tend to reflect a space which is transitional or an escape from the ordinary. Indian Ink’s The Pickle King, set in the fictional Empire Hotel in the very real Oriental Bay, Wellington, is a tale of love, death, mysterious guests, and of course a little bit of magic.
The world of Soft N Hard is alien from the get go. Design drives the action as luxurious textiles take center stage and dominate both the costume and set design (Poppy Serano and Owen McCarthy). A large yellow curtain divides the dome stage to create a warm yet lurid sort of world, the brightness of it refusing to be ignored - though what lies behind it is a mystery, at least for now. The costumes are similarly loud, bodies hidden beneath bizarre, billowing shapes. Throw in Waylon Edwards’ spacey sound design, and we start the show in a place decidedly other-wordly. Bodies begin to emerge, full of energy and curiosity, from the seas of embryonic fabric, and it feels like we are witnessing the birth of a clownish Adam and Eve - a fresh new Man and Woman, ready to discover the world full of naivety and optimism.
Courtney Rose Brown
Elliot is a nice guy. He’s got a jersey from AS Colour, he studies economics, he doesn’t like rugby and sometimes he actually listens to you when you talk. So why wouldn’t you want to date him? M’Lady is a satirical musical that follows Elliot’s (Aimee Smith) journey of how to ‘get the girl’ and get out of the dreaded friendzone, in his quest for Freda’s love. On his destiny that surely can only be lead to greatness, he meets G (Jayne Grace) and Adrian (Freya Van Alphen Fyfe), two “very experienced and successful” pick up artists. G and Adrian graciously take Elliot under their wings to prepare him for the complex other beings that are women - or not that complicated as G seems to think in his pick up artistry history, one just needs a signature move and that’ll get all the girls to swoon. For him, it’s card tricks.
Life is all about the choices you make and when you make them; such is the predicament in Circa’s current production of A Doll’s House. Housewife Nora (Sophie Hambleton) finds herself falling deeper and deeper into a pit of pacifism and people-pleasing, slowly realising there’s more to life than those around her, that she doesn’t have to stand stationary while everyone around her rushes forward. Written by Emily Perkins (adapted from Ibsen’s original script) and directed by Katherine McRae, there isn’t a better time (or manner) to revitalise this classic text.
Forbidden love, teen angst and mummy-issues are given centre stage in Smoko Company’s new play The Swimmer at BATS Theatre this week. The production gives its audience all the emotional intensity you’d expect from such material. And then some. And then some more after that. Bold and in-your-face, The Swimmer is a refreshing rejection of the naturalist vibes more common of BATS productions. But underneath all the noise, it’s hard to understand or care about what’s happening to the characters.
Young and Hungry is one of my favourite festivals in the theatrical calendar year as I relish the opportunity to witness the upcoming talent of the performers and designers. It’s a chance for the playwrights and directors to showcase their exceptionally hard work, and it’s a chance for emerging artists to create, present, and learn. This year, we’re treated to One Night Only written by Finnius Teppett and directed by Stella Reid, Fallen Angels written by Emily Duncan and directed by Rose Kirkup, and Attila the Hun written by Abby Howells and directed by Patrick Davies. While at first the plays don’t seem to share a theme like they have in other years, as I watch them, loss and discovery erupt as primary subjects.
Destination Beehive: 2017 places its audience directly into a political recap/talk show, and the lucky audience members meet and hear from the Tinakori Heights electoral candidates for the upcoming election. Destination Beehive is farcical, musical, and satirical; it had both me and my friend in raucous laughter, loving every single moment.
by Shannon Friday
The story of Antigone is pretty straightforward: King Creon forbids the burial of Antigone’s brother; Antigone buries her brother; King Creon executes Antigone; the gods punish Creon. The simple events of the plot hardly explain why Antigone has endured for 3,000 years (give or take a couple hundred years for historical ambiguity). Instead, the story is a fable, with each era seeing it’s own conflicts play out in the conflict of thesis and antithesis.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.