Theatreview Weekly: 18/10/2012

Third Person Tense!
A selection of reviews from Theatreview from the last week including: Third Person Tense!, The Likes of a Loveless Dogwasher, The Bartered Bride, and Party With The Aunties.

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A selection of reviews from Theatreview from the last week including: Third Person Tense!, The Likes of a Loveless Dogwasher, The Bartered Bride, and Party With The Aunties.
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: Third Person Tense!, The Likes of a Loveless Dogwasher, The Bartered Bride, and Party With The Aunties.
See more recent reviews at theatreview.org, the NZ Performing Arts Review & Directory.

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Q, 305 Queen St, Auckland - TIMEDANCE AND SOMA SONGS: Sophisticated, timeless and international in scope
- reviewed by Jennifer Nikolai

The marriage between human movement studies and the dancing subject has a long history, to which Time Dance has now substantially contributed. For those of us who see dance as an ideal form to investigate moving image technologies and time; this work gives weight to dance as the form that integrates the human figure and our more timeless relationship to geometry, geography, our journey, our planet and the passage of time.

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Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland - THIRD PERSON TENSE!: Lost in a labyrinth of realities
- reviewed by Janet McAllister

Papps makes even the mildly misogynistic and egoistic Jack affable, and the ending works very well.

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Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland - THE LIKES OF A LOVELESS DOGWASHER: Thoroughly enjoyable show enthusiastically received
- reviewed by Penny Dodd

This debut work from Talking Mute Theatre Company is irresistibly engaging. Recent graduates, they perform with energy and commitment. The show is fast, funny, very clever, and yes, I’ll put it in print: quirky! (All musicals need an exclamation mark somewhere.)

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Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland - THE LIKES OF A LOVELESS DOGWASHER: Give this Dogwasher some love
- reviewed by James Wenley

In the same week that the Mary Poppins juggernaught opens at The Civic, there’s another Musical up the road playing at The Basement. The work of Toi Whakaari acting graduates Adrian Hooke and Hayley Brown, The Likes of a Loveless Dogwasher is a charmingly lo-fi and accessible Musical comedy. What they lack in flying nannies and dancing chimney sweeps, they make up for in pluck, multiple character changes, and literal scene stealing crew members.

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St James Theatre, Wellington - THE BARTERED BRIDE: Brilliant Bartered Bride redeems shortcomings of its Cold War setting
- reviewed by Lindis Taylor

New Zealand Opera continues to explore every year or so, as much as it safely can, slightly unfamiliar operas. Their record so far has been unfaltering, and this splendid outing of something a bit on the fringe has maintained the high score.

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Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland - THIRD PERSON TENSE!: First person pro
- reviewed by Matt Baker

It’s been eight years since Stephen Papps wrote and starred in his own solo show, and I can honestly say is it’s a pity that it’s taken this long for him to do so again. In saying that, Third Person, Tense! is not technically a solo show. It’s billed as ‘a solo show with two people,’ and it’s that type of surreal comedy, which Papps infuses in his writing, that drives the play.

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Jaycee Room, Founders Park, Nelson - PARTY WITH THE AUNTIES: A pleasure to be part of family festivities and fights
- reviewed by Gail Tresidder

Doors are left wide open to the somewhat windy night and although this keeps the temperature a little on the low side, the warmth of the welcome – guitar music, singing, beer, bangers with an invitation to relax, move around, talk, sing, get more beer from the bar – is beguiling.

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Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland - THIRD PERSON TENSE!: Avant-garde trans-dimensional self-referential dark romantic comedy
- reviewed by Nik Smythe

Two figures lie on a large grey rug, ostensibly dead to the world as the capacity-plus crowd crosses the stage to be seated. One’s a fully clothed man, the other covered by a flannel under-blanket. A stool and a guitar on a stand are the only set dressings in the black studio space.

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Theatre Royal, Nelson - ON THE UPSIDE-DOWN OF THE WORLD: Poetic descriptions, chilling anguish and joie de vivre
- reviewed by Gail Tresidder

With a stunning tour de force performance in the swiftest moving hour and a half in the theatre I can remember, Laurel Devenie brings Ann Martin to vigorous enchanting life and along the way totally captivates this full house Arts Festival audience.

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Revolt Melbourne – Theatrette, 12 Elizabeth St, Kensington, Melbourne, Australia - THE 1/4 POUNDING: Comedic talents the highlight
- reviewed by Emma Dockery

I felt anxious sitting in the theatre waiting for The ¼ Pounding to begin. Would I be the 29 year old with no assets, no boyfriend and a slight alcohol dependency problem who ended up sobbing in the front row? I put down my wine.

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Maidment, Auckland - DEATH OF A SALESMAN: I’m sold
- reviewed by Matt Baker

In his opening night speech, director Jesse Peach obscurely alluded to the possibility of Death of a Salesman being his last production*. While I actively concede that this may have been a misinterpretation of inarticulate speech, I would like to think that going out on a high note is the correct course of action in the case of Peach Theatre Company, as a high note has now been achieved.

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St James Theatre, Wellington - THE BARTERED BRIDE: Love amid politics and circus
- reviewed by Sharon Talbot

Boy meets girl, and they fall in love. However, her parents want her to marry a rich man's son. All are in despair. But wait! The boy turns out to be the rich man's long-lost heir, so it all ends happily after all. Heard this story before somewhere?!

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St James Theatre, Wellington - THE BARTERED BRIDE: Comic opera suffers in translation
- reviewed by John Button

Before curtain up, I had some concerns about this production of Smetana's popular comic opera. I had not enjoyed the Chandos recording of the opera in English, and I did wonder if this, of all operas, should be updated from its traditional folk setting.
I know that German was Bedrich Smetana's first language, yet The Bartered Bride in German doesn't work: it has to be done in Czech. I accept that Czech is not easy for the performers, but we use it for Janacek, so even given director Daniel Slater's reasons, could the charm of this popular work survive in English?
So with these doubts, how did it all work out? [More]

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Maidment, Auckland - DEATH OF A SALESMAN: Classic reading of Miller a Peach
- reviewed by Paul Simei-Barton

Peach Theatre's reverential approach to Arthur Miller's 1949 classic offers a traditional reading that allows this 20th century masterpiece to speak for itself - with all its ambiguities and contradictions intact.

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Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland - A FRIGATE BIRD SINGS: Moving tale amid difficult coming of age
- reviewed by Janet McAllister

"I am the provider and the oppressed ... I am the role model and the embarrassment."

This is how fa'afafine Vili/Vilanda (Taofia Pelesasa) opens this moving examination of family, grief and the difficulties of coming-of-age.

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Circa One, Wellington - THE TRUTH GAME: Newsy story short on much-needed heart
- reviewed by Ewen Coleman

The Fourth Estate, that institution known as “the press”, is under constant pressure these days to compete and come up with ways to continue to be relevant. This is particularly so in light of the modern digital age and social networking such as Facebook, twitter, texting and blogging.

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Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland - AN AUDIENCE WITH SIR JON TRIMMER: A boundless passion for ballet
- reviewed by Felicity Molloy

Sir Jon Trimmer is arguably one of the most outstanding male ballet dancers New Zealand has ever produced. He has danced with several of the world’s greats, and in a breath of informal demonstration, moves gorgeously still, with an élan evolved out of years and years of practice and performance perfection. A range of his photos, set as a backdrop against entertaining anecdotes of performance dramas show him as technically extraordinary.

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Maidment, Auckland - DEATH OF A SALESMAN: Tragedy in commerce more relevant than ever
- reviewed by Nik Smythe

In 1949, when all the post-war promises of the American Dream were still steadily on the rise, Arthur Miller saw an elephant in the room and wrote Death of a Salesman. In a world of opportunity there for the taking for anyone determined and ruthless enough, what of the casualties who were simply too sensitive and human?

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Downstage Theatre, Wellington - THE WEEKEND COMEDY COCKTAIL: No reason good enough for you to miss taking a sip
- reviewed by Michael Gilchrist

Cocktails were on offer in the Downstage bar last night together with some delightful, complementary club sandwiches. Upstairs in the auditorium that kind of detailed attention to the pleasure of patrons continued as the support for a sparkling cocktail of comedy.

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Circa One, Wellington - THE TRUTH GAME: Not too challenging or complex
- reviewed by Helen Sims

Whilst the supporting cast are uniformly solid, and in Brian Sergent’s case excellent, the show ultimately turns on the performance of the actor playing the lead role of Frank Stone. Unfortunately on opening night Alan Lovell failed to deliver. He stumbled over a number of lines, noticeably missed cues and his timing was generally off.

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Q Theatre, Rangatira, Auckland - THE KIDS SHOW (2012): Beyond the ordinary idea of performing dance
- reviewed by Felicity Molloy

From circus arts, funksta hiphop, imaginative contemporary, introverted interpretive, pure classical ballet, Scottish dance and sweet jazz, the programme takes us through an eclectic mix of styles, some genre diversity, brief cultural representation, and little difference in terms of performance confidence, ability and enthusiasm. Central to the works on show are themes of grace, the dancers pleasing themselves as-well as the audience, tantalizing leggy efforts and a restored musicality.

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Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland - LILY: A charming celebration of the past
- reviewed by Barbara Snook

Iconic dance teachers have existed in the history of New Zealand dance, memories are held for a few generations, and then as people age and die, so a legacy will often die with them. Bipeds Productions has ensured that the memory of Lily Stevens, a remarkable Dunedin studio dance teacher is kept alive through the engaging production of Lily.

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Kumeu Community Hall, Auckland - LAZY SUZY BOY: The essence of dance as a living art form
- reviewed by Jack Gray

Looking at it - I smiled when I realised this was pure Indigenous Dance of New Zealand. It grew from the land in the same vein as produce from the Matakana markets. In our national statement to the World - do we WANT to be represented by our colonization past? Racial inequities? Political despair? Constantly referencing who we are - but really who are we?! I looked around at this community experience - being shared with the children, the adults, the family - knowing Kumeu is about as far from New York that you can get. And then, and then knowing that this piece of freshly squeezed dance is exactly what the world needs to see. Dance that sees beauty in the 'mundane' (what really is mundane actually?), dance that allows us to breathe and see (pictures of bears being drawn, dancer bodies wheeling across the floor on a moveable cushion), and also dance that references.

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BATS, Wellington - FLATLAND: Variously interesting, puzzling, intriguing, frustrating, moving, amusing and tedious
- reviewed by John Smythe

The introductory sequence in Flatland orientates us to a two-dimensional world then invites us to imagine the unimaginable. And now I feel as if my challenge is to explain the inexplicable, or at least find a way of capturing its nature, without spoiling it – which is unlikely since it is very much a visual, intellectual and at moments emotional experience that each audience member will evaluate differently.

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Fortune Theatre, Dunedin - HATCHED: Performance gold
- reviewed by Terry MacTavish

This is the sort of theatre that changes your mind. That such subtlety, sensitivity and sheer sweetness should emerge from bold, brash Australia makes me feel with shame that I have misjudged the entire continent.

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Whitireia Performance Centre, 25-27 Vivian Street, Wellington - WHEELER’S LUCK: Truly Kiwi community brought alive with great ingenuity, humour and integrity
- reviewed by John Smythe

It turns out that it’s an inspired idea for Long Cloud Youth Theatre to do Wheeler’s Luck with a cast of 11. The apparently shonky production values, which are in fact quite brilliant – an overhead projector adding the impression of rolling hills on cream curtains and allowing for shadow acting and puppetry, along with the performances in front of the curtains – give it the feel of a piece of local history re-enacted by, and for, the Cox Point community.

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Q Theatre, Rangatira, Auckland - Y CHROMOZONE (2012): Fresh Cuts vs Y Chromozone: complementary opposites
- reviewed by Raewyn Whyte

Y Chromozone is a celebration of the kind of polished masculinity which features in a wide array of dance forms. Examples here were taken from contemporary dance, hip hop and street dance, aerial dance, bharat natyam, the traditional dance of Manihiki (Cook islands) and Samoan siva afi (fire knife), Michael Jackson, tap dance and the tango. The program is split between short excerpts and complete short works, with stellar performances by an array of well known local performers ...complemented by exciting showings from emerging artists ...

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Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland - FRESH CUTS (2012): Fresh Cuts vs Y Chromozone: complementary opposites
- reviewed by Raewyn Whyte

Two more contrasting showcase programmes than Fresh Cuts and Y Chromozone are hard to imagine. Back-to-back placement on the Tempo 2012 dance festival programme, however, lets them become complementary opposites.

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Middleton Grange School Performing Arts Centre, Christchurch - NGA HAU E WHA: Haunting, poetic, uplifting
- reviewed by Toby Behan

The offerings themselves are well worth the contemplation. All major elements within the performance (the dance, design, and music) are undertaken with extremely high production values and the result is a performance that will visually linger with you for quite some time – at turns haunting, poetic, uplifting – with a ferocious dedication from the performers at all times.

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Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland - A FRIGATE BIRD SINGS: A clean, simple, emotionally truthful production
- reviewed by Johnny Givins

This production of A Frigate Bird Sings bursts with local reality, talent and theatrical skill. It’s the story of a young fa’afafine struggling with the love and commitment to her Samoan Family and the excitement of her own new life discoveries in Auckland’s K’ Road.

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Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland - TERTIARY COLOURS (2012): A rollercoaster programme
- reviewed by Dr Linda Ashley

A newcomer to the scene of tertiary performing arts is Manukau Institute of Technology. With 20 students, guest tutor/choreographer, Unitec graduate, Josh Rutter produces Glamour Technologies. I like to think that this work has emerged from a blend of practice with theory as it delves intoexploring the close relationship that young people have with the internet as a reality. There is an echo of the raw energy that the audience felt earlier but the sheer size of this group take attitude to a whole new level. Coolarama struts through hyperspace and it’s all about conforming, and it’s not all pretty, but it is pretty funny in places.

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Q Theatre, Rangatira, Auckland - Y CHROMOZONE (2012): Celebrating men dancing
- reviewed by Val Smith

Within, through, and from the body as a vehicle for thinking and imagining our worlds, dance forms a shifting understanding of our lived experience in the world. Y Chromozone, Tempo’s celebration of male dance, presents a rich diversity of dance as varied body cultures and communities. Dance styles and genres slip and morph through time, repetition and diversification, creating spaces for new expressions.

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Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch - THE RED STRING DUET / MINUTES OF SILENCE: Intrigue, surprise - great art, not just great dance
- reviewed by Kate Sullivan

The piece becomes more movement-oriented as Milsom and Young move around the space. I enjoy the dynamic that evolves from the contrast in the speed of the two dancers. One moves almost erratically while the other is more subdued in their movement. The dancers tease the range between each other, moving at times centimetres apart but never actually touching. The movements themselves are unique, and comprise a tantalising vocabulary of unusual body initiations.

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Centrepoint, Palmerston North - VIOLENT GENERATION?: Horrifyingly plausible, credible and distressing
- reviewed by John Ross

How could it be, that from within what looks like an average class of Kiwi teenagers, tensions and emotions can get to such a pitch within just a few days that what gets under way as pack-bullying of one of their classmates can lead on to someone killing her? This devised play makes it horrifyingly plausible, credible and distressing.

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Lighthouse Cinema: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, Petone, Hutt Valley - SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE ON SCREEN 2012: Made special by communal bonding
- reviewed by Laurie Atkinson

Jeremy Herrin’s lively version of Much Ado is by far the most enjoyable of all the Globe on Screen films that I have seen. It’s funny, inventive, and surprisingly moving in the dramatic scenes and it was clearly a winner with the Globe audience, many of whom must have been seeing it for the first time judging by their reactions.

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Shed 6, Queens Wharf, Wellington - THE NOTHING: Nothing-ness
- reviewed by Virginia Kennard

Relationships occasionally reveal attempts to cling to someone, anything, nothing. Rebecca Bassett-Graham’s anxiety-ridden woman has clear emotional resonance and Craig Bary quietly freaking out on the floor with gestures around the throat are chilling and engaging.

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Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch - ALL THAT JAZZ: Lively (and nostalgic) crowd-pleaser
- reviewed by Toby Behan

The dances themselves are choreographed with authenticity and care, and performed with great gusto by all six of the dancers (spearheaded by an incredible energy from Jenna Morris-Williamson). Their smiles are constant, hips jutting at the right angle, and the performance delivery values remain high from beginning to end. With initial displays of dances such as the Charleston and the Big Apple, the performance progresses through Bob Fosse and onwards – through as far as Michael Jackson, whose music provides the backdrop for the finale.

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Middleton Grange School Performing Arts Centre, Christchurch - TIMEDANCE AND SOMA SONGS: Film to be experienced
- reviewed by Luke Di Somma & Toby Behan

It is refreshing to see something innovative and multidisciplinary in Christchurch - we have been slightly starved of this kind of work for sometime, so kudos to Body Festival for seeing this work and bringing it to Christchurch. It deserves a bigger crowd, but those who were there appreciated it very much.

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

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Written by

Theatreview

18 Oct 2012

Interests Theatreview is the New Zealand Performing Arts Review & Directory.

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