Theatreview Weekly: 23/08/2012

Virtues From the Past
A selection of reviews from Theatreview from the last week including: Virtues From the Past, The Year of Magical Thinking and Taro King.

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A selection of reviews from Theatreview from the last week including: Virtues From the Past, The Year of Magical Thinking, Tiny Spectacle / Shitty Lyricism, and Taro King.
 
See more recent reviews at theatreview.org, the NZ Performing Arts Review & Directory.

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A selection of reviews from Theatreview from the last week including: Virtues From the Past, The Year of Magical Thinking, Tiny Spectacle / Shitty Lyricism, and Taro King.
 
See more recent reviews at theatreview.org, the NZ Performing Arts Review & Directory.

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BATS, Wellington - SKELLIG: Pure Magic
- reviewed by Lynn Freeman

Skellig, based on the children’s novel of the same name, has been adapted for the stage by its author, David Almond. In his hands and those of director Tabitha Arthur and her wonderful young cast, it also feels as at home on stage as it does on the page.

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Circa Two, Wellington - THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING: It will happen to you
- reviewed by Amanda Witherell

Set aside the subject of grief and everything it can do and undo in a person: Catherine Downes’ performance as Joan Didion in The Year of Magical Thinking is something to witness. There aren’t many actresses who could pull off the complexity of emotions surrounding death without being overwrought or underdone and still own the audience’s attention for 90 minutes.

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Whitireia Performance Centre, 25-27 Vivian Street, Wellington - DOG & BONE: Respect for honesty and power
- reviewed by Maraea Rakuraku

Dog and Bone is a sensory pleasure on all counts. I was half-expecting to smell the sea in one scene. Entering to dogs barking was frankly confronting and a little uncomfortable but absolutely necessary and engaging. It became apparent to me just how well connected that was to the story, once it settled, because Helen Pearse-Otene’s writing has switched up since The Ragged.

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BATS, Wellington - TINY SPECTACLE / SHITTY LYRICISM: Buoyed with delight and excitement
- reviewed by Maryanne Cathro

Tiny Spectacle/Shitty Lyricism comprises two shows: Honey, and The Boy and the Bicycle. I don’t understand the choice of name, but rest assured, these shows are neither a tiny spectacle nor shitty in any way.

There is a quality to these shows that deliberately blurs the line between performer and writer. With them being one and the same, Joseph Harper comes across as being himself, but he is definitely performing. The style that alternates between conversations with imagined others, or with his co-performer Virginia Frankovich in Honey, and monologues to the audience, is refreshing, direct, and original.

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Southwards Theatre, Otaihanga, Paraparaumu - VIRTUES FROM THE PAST: Enjoyably pleasant diversion
- reviewed by Yolande Brophy

Genealogy, whakapapa, lineage: a minefield of information that causes stirrings of excitement or a sense of dread depending on your individual standpoint. Some are drawn in wholeheartedly, bearing the role of Family Chronicler with passion while others listen dutifully and try to remember the myriad names and connections for the next time they are bombarded with information from their past. The anticipation of hearing the stories of Dame Kate Harcourt’s Fulton ancestors inspired a little of both.

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Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland - TARO KING: KKK still Kings
- reviewed by Sharu Delilkan

There was almost a carnival atmosphere when entering the Mangere Arts Centre, a setting befitting the Kila Kokonut Krew’s 10th year anniversary celebrations featuring the production that put the company on the map, Taro King.

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Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland - THE PANTRY SHELF: All’s fare in madcap battle for shoppers’ carts
- reviewed by Paul Simei-Barton

Team M&M are an enterprising Kiwi couple who premiered The Pantry Shelf at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

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Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland - NØUGHTY GIRLS: Engaging authenticity
- reviewed by Paul Simei-Barton

Sainsbury's devised work, Noughty Girls, offers an up-to-the-minute account of 21st-century romance, with Elizabeth McMenamin and Chelsea McEwan Millar playing a couple of 20-somethings desperately seeking whatever.

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Te Whaea, Wellington - OUR COUNTRY’S GOOD: The perfect stage for student storytelling
- reviewed by Ewen Coleman

There are strong individual performances from the students and moments of heartfelt poignancy as the developing relationships amongst the convicts are played out under the authoritarian stare of the officers. And convicts, when being actors, are shown to be no different to actors now – temperamental and tempestuous, and storming out of rehearsals.

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Regent Theatre, Dunedin - THE TOWER SEASON OF CINDERELLA: Luxury, strength, beauty and escapism
- reviewed by Hannah Molloy

Qi Huan looked as though he wanted to burst out of his skin with the joy of his dancing and Lucy Green’s Cinderella was poignant and delightful. Their pas de deux were mesmerising to watch and I found myself immersed in them as I haven’t been in dance for some time. I would happily have watched them together for hours.

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Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch - MAN IN A SUITCASE: An indelible and important play
- reviewed by Lindsay Clark

The season of light laughter in Court Theatre's cheery Addington home is over, at least for the time being. Tapping into the community function of theatre, to stimulate thought and, in the best of possible outcomes, achieve refreshed awareness or change, Joseph Graves' bold direction of this new montage fleshes out an acknowledged voice of Chinese experience in New Zealand.

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Aro St Church, 225 Aro St, Wellington - ANOTHER BEGGAR’S OPERA: Strong sense of ensemble commitment carries the evening
- reviewed by John Smythe

So a youthful group of performers play Wellington street people who in turn play out the story being told by one of their number. And there is no attempt to cast us in the role of other street people gathered, for example, in an urban park or mall. We are who we are, witnessing the presentation from our position of privilege.

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Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland - THE PANTRY SHELF: Rich and fulfilling with unexpected delights and eminently digestible
- reviewed by Lexie Matheson

The Pantry Shelf is a satire, albeit a gentle one. It has a barb, it makes its point but it does so in a delightfully robust and theatrical manner. We’re left in no doubt about the creator’s attitude to branding and labelling, to food content manipulation and to the whole corporate 1% shebang. We agree, of course.

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Meteor Theatre, Hamilton - THE MERCHANT OF VENICE: Low comedy and high drama
- reviewed by Gail Pittaway

Michael Switzer’s production for FULLHOUSE Theatre Company goes in for its own pound of flesh from the mostly young cast by adding an additional challenge to performance. The casting of the three pairs of lovers – Jessica and Lorenzo, Nerissa and Gratiano, Portia and Bassanio – will change nightly depending on the audience vote.

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Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland - NØUGHTY GIRLS: Sweet voyeurism
- reviewed by Lexie Matheson

Nøughty Girls is about a couple of girls up to naughty but nice stuff in the nice and naughty noughties. In so doing they expose a little known fact, that apart from the technology and some changes in the language, heterosexuality is pretty much as it always has been.

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The Boat Shed, Wellington - FOOTNOTE FORTE SERIES 2012: Style, verve and pedigree: Footnote on the move
- reviewed by Sam Trubridge

Here in one evening we can experience the pedigree of experienced choreographers Parmenter and Pringle next to new generations that Tarrant has helped support and foster over the years. In this spirit it is also fantastic to see new choreographers like Marinkovich finding their place in this programme with such style and energy. Over many years the tradition of the Forte season has also explored an odyssey of spaces around Wellington, from the venues seen in this season to private homes, various nightclubs, galleries, and other sites. Dance is made to move.

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Te Whaea, Wellington - OUR COUNTRY’S GOOD: Playing with redemption
- reviewed by John Smythe

It is a given of history that the colony of New South Wales – and Australia – was build by the labour of convicts who, in the late 18th century, were transported from England for the good of both countries.

Less certain was the question of whether convicts could be rehabilitated through such humanising enterprises as putting on a play. Some thought they were irredeemable and punishment was all they deserved.

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Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland - TARO KING: A tasty theatrical feast
- reviewed by Johnny Givins

It has changed from a family meal into a bigger, brighter, louder and more theatrical feast of very funny ensemble theatre with great music. Lots of dishes are energetically thrown at the audience with a galaxy of styles.

The heart of the story is still the vibrant journey of Filipo (Aleni Tufuga) trying to make ends meet, working in an Otara Supermarket’s taro section ...

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BATS, Wellington - SKELLIG: Entertaining tale for young and old
- reviewed by Ewen Coleman

The essence of any good children’s story is to capture the reader’s imagination and that is certainly the case with Skellig, adapted for the stage by David Almond from his award-winning children’s story.

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See more recent reviews at theatreview.org.nz, the NZ Performing Arts Review & Directory

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Theatreview

23 Aug 2012

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