Adam shuffles into a bare bedroom: a single bed, guitar sloppily chucked on the cover facing a blank TV. Weary from his day, there’s a brief guilty tussle over whether or not to turn on the TV; eventually Adam succumbs to the call of the screen and it’s easy oblivion. He switches the screen on and we are faced with a bare black screen. As music begins to play our attention is drawn back to Adam, perched on the edge of his bed and lip-syncing to a high pitched funky pop song like he belonged in the video clip. Laughter erupts from the audience as we’re reminded of our own lip-sync performances in the confines of our bedrooms
By Shannon Friday
So often improv is described as “gutsy”; performers take big risks with content or logic, trusting their teammates in the ensemble to “yes, and…” their crazy idea and run with it. It’s often an absurd delight, and more than a little escapist. Memento moves the centre of that impulse from the gut to the heart, using memories solicited from the audience to create (mostly) tender scenes of reminiscence.
By Shannon Friday
Confessions of a Secret Hoarder needs a director. There’s a lot of design going on: creepy-cool puppets; a pretty, shadow-filled lighting design; a charming original piano score with complex vocal harmonies. All the parts are pretty neat, but there’s no overarching concept, target audience (it’s for kids, I think?), or even a coherent plot. The result is a disjointed but very pretty and aesthetically, well, cool show.
I entered Gryphon Theatre highly charged for the Wellington version of the long-time running broadway musical Nunsense, directed by Lyndee-Jane Rutherford and musically directed by Michael Nicholas Williams. As an avid musical lover and being familiar with Rutherford's and WIlliams’ previous work, I was expecting to be on the edge of my seat immersed in a musical world that made all other life seem ordinary. Maybe I set the bar too high and should have realised that this would be a very small scale production. Within the first 20 minutes I began to feel torn. On one hand, I appreciated the efforts of such a talented cast; on the other, my anticipation for a change in set or enhancement of the musical support was never satisfied.
by Laura Ferguson
“Hello, dear, how are you this evening?” Patricia Goldsack, octogenarian heiress, greets me as I enter Cavern Club. “Oh, I’m well, thank you, and yourself?” I play alongside Katie Boyle’s character. “Fine, dear, just fine. What are you doing here tonight?” she replies. “Well, I’m here to see you!” I gush, my polite benevolence that is usually reserved for the elderly coming out in full force despite myself. Pat looks a little stricken at my comment and glances with mild alarm at the stage, “Oh, am I on?” My laughter froths outwards, no longer able to be contained, but Boyle wafts me toward the bar to “sort myself out”. Alexander Sparrow’s Fred from Featherston makes a suggestion in this regard, “I hear there is an Apple Tini special on,” his brow furrowed, pebbled voice dripping with disbelief as he very specifically intones the cocktail as if it were in an alien language. I can’t help but laugh more as I bypass the allure of appletinis for a wine instead. Thus begins my evening with Fred from Featherston and Patricia Goldsack.
by Laura Ferguson
Joan, “A play about a wonderful mum and an ungrateful son,” teasingly dances in front of me as I contemplate who Joan will turn out to be. An Irish immigrant who travels to New Zealand to be with her husband, bringing their twins with her, I imagine this woman to be enterprising and pioneering.
The atmosphere in Circa Theatre’s foyer this evening is an enchanting combination of intrigue and magic, as young and old alike crowd around one another preparing to embark to Neverland. Peter Pan is a story we know well, one of finding a place you belong and of teaching us about family. This year, the comic stylings of Pinky Agnew and Lorae Parry take helm as the writers of the pantomime, and I’m anticipating an evening full of political satire, hearty comedy, and strong female characters. At the heart of Peter Pan is theatrical and storytelling magic, which differentiates it from being ‘just another pantomime’. Lively, vibrant, hilarious, Peter Pan guarantees a night full of laughter for the family.
Courtney Rose Brown
Ladylike: A Modern Guide to Etiquette, is back at BATS Theatre for a return season after a successful stint in the comedy festival. Created by comedian Louise Beuvink and directed by Lucy Noonan.
Dressed in a pink and blue floral gown, I find myself making assumptions about where the show will go. Frustrated at myself, I feel on the defensive, as I’m not prepared for another show that makes fun of fem women, as I’m overwhelmingly aware that I’m wearing a more chill version of her costume.
When I know I'm going to see a show by The Wellington Footlights Society, I’m already expecting something fearless. Over the past few years the company has tackled some big and beautiful shows - and they’ve scored many a touchdown. So the concept of a four show festival of musical theatre didn’t surprise me entirely. It seemed like such a massive task, it almost felt inevitable.
I had the honour of attending Night A of the ‘Heart and Music’ festival. The night boasted two shows - the pop-rock revue The Rising Sun and New York chamber musical A New Brain. The two shows are a bit chalk and cheese. They’re utterly incomparable,but the flip-side is that they offer two very different flavours, for those of us who decide to embrace the nights full offerings.
What a way to finish the evening! The hit musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is the second show of Wellington Footlights’ Heart + Music festival, Night B (intentional?). It is outrageously delightful and explosively funny, which perfectly suits the enthusiastic company and their performances.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee centres on several eccentric and distinct prepubescents, participating in a spelling bee that is fun but fiercely competitive, and the imperfect adults or parents who facilitate (or not) the contest and their success. This production could not be more brilliantly cast. Every character is a hit,
The Wellington Footlights’ first ever musical theatre festival “Heart and Music” has just kicked off. Night B opens with Flatline with Two Sugars, a premiere of an original musical written by company members Laura Gardner (book and lyrics) and Katie Morton (music).
Flatline with Two Sugars is dark magical realism, a bittersweet mix of tragedy, comedy, and bleak reality. A dreary cafe barista has an unwanted gift in which she visualises the time and means of someone’s death just by touching them. This musical sees Lucie’s desperately confined life turn upside down, and we get to experience the drama, excitement, heartache, and even black comedy pleasures that go along with it.
by Laura Ferguson
How exactly is it that I have lived in Wellington these years and not come along to Sing It Wrong yet? Sing It Wrong has the premise wrapped up in the title, performers appear on stage, singing songs to which they have written alternate lyrics. It is absolutely my kind of show. It has comedy to get me laughing, songs to entertain me and a bevy of local talent to sample. What’s not to love?
Pat-pat-pat. Pat-pat-pat. My friend finger-taps my forearm as the tension of Venus in Fur mounts. The tendrils of my hair waft, teasing the nape of my neck as my companion fans herself. The whispering air tickles my shoulder, but does nothing to quiet the rushing fire in my blood. I allow a long, slow breath to pass my bowed lips and notice blue flecks dot my décolletage from the nib of my pen. I have been languidly running the cool nub of metal over my skin. My want of touch, of feeling, of sensual pleasure has turned into need. I am not alone. This audience has become a parasitic organism, our lives, in this moment, entangled to Thomas and Vanda. We hunger, we consume, we daren’t blink. We worship at the altar of Venus.
by Laura Ferguson
It’s finally Friday. Walking into Fat Comedy amidst raucous drumming from Peru football supporters mixing erratically against the synth-heavy 80’s tones of Eva Beva, I sigh in relief to enter the quirky comedy space. Raising the heavy curtain, my jittery, overworked-self glances curiously into the darkened room. Fat Angel has combined forces with their quizmaster, Bas Jeffrey and comedian, Alexander Sparrow, to provide after-work comedy on Friday nights and Fat Angel’s jesting blessing is one I will happily receive.
From the hotter global temperatures to the drastic alterations to our ecosystems, climate change is definitely at the forefront of social and environmental issues in today’s society. Generation Zero stands to take action against climate change and make our leaders and those in positions of greater power do the same. Partnered with theatre makers, they curated Still Waving: Climate Change Theatre Action, a showcase-style event that brings together several theatrical snippets to show what’s happening, what’s going to happen, what more we could do, and what we’re doing well in terms of battling climate change. The theatre pieces at Still Waving were immersive, imaginative, and important, and while they ranged in quality, the audience was never really irked by that. We’re all here to enjoy what these people have created, to learn more about what’s happening to our environment, and to consider the next steps in sustaining and repairing it.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.