Theatreview Weekly: 21/09/2012

The Gift
A selection of reviews from Theatreview from the last week including: The Gift, The Keepers, Motherlock/Pure, and Ticking Time Bomb.

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A selection of reviews from Theatreview from the last week including: The Gift, The Keepers, Motherlock/Pure, and Ticking Time Bomb.
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: The Gift, The Keepers, Motherlock/Pure, and Ticking Time Bomb.
See more recent reviews at theatreview.org, the NZ Performing Arts Review & Directory.

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Maidment, Auckland - THE GIFT: Challenging, riveting play delivered with clarity, charm and class
- reviewed by Lexie Matheson

Colin McColl’s production of The Gift has class written all over it. From glittering cast to swanky set (Rachael Walker), from the cool Pacific jazz of Adrian Hollay to the fabulous audio-visuals of Simon Barker, from the subtlest of lighting by Phillip Dexter MSc to the divine costumes of Sara Taylor there’s barely a thing out of place. McColl’s direction is masterful to the degree that this psychologically labyrinthine script is made as clear as day from beginning to end.

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Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, The Edge, Auckland - SHORT+SWEET THEATRE, AUCKLAND 2012: Fun, wit, drama all tied up in small packages
- reviewed by Janet McAllister

Now in its third year, the Short+Sweet entry-level theatre competition has expanded to nearly 50 short plays over three weeks. It's pleasing to see a healthy proportion of emerging New Zealand playwrights included in this first-week season of nine plays, and while the acting and directing is uneven, the constant show-changing - with suitable theme-supporting music - keeps things fresh.

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Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, The Edge, Auckland - SHORT+SWEET THEATRE, AUCKLAND 2012: Short, but Sweet???
- reviewed by Sharu Delilkan

Death, murder and suicide seemed to dominate the themes for Week 1 of Short + Sweet 2012. To be honest I could have done with a little more levity and a little less gravity.

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BATS, Wellington - THE KEEPERS: Yet to realise its exceptional potential
- reviewed by John Smythe

There is lots of good acting, musicianship, design and production value on display as The Keepers plays out. Its creators are deeply immersed in an experience that is clearly rich in meaning for them at every moment.

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The Williamson (old fire station) Private Meeting Room, Grey Lynn, Auckland - MOTHERLOCK / PURE: Sex and drugs but no rock ’n’ roll
- reviewed by Lexie Matheson

I’m not going to suggest that either of these productions is easy going because they’re not. They’re complex, straight down the middle, experiential dramas. They make us ask why we go to the theatre, why this experience is different and, of course, whether we like it or not. I’m not ashamed to say that I like it. I’m also happy to say that, on a different level, they left me drained.

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Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, The Edge, Auckland - SHORT+SWEET THEATRE, AUCKLAND 2012: 2012 Top 30 – Week 1
- reviewed by Reynald Castaneda

New Zealand always had talent.

Now in its third year, Short+Sweet returns to the Herald Theatre with an extended run of three weeks compared to last year’s two.

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Basement Studio, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland - TICKING TIME BOMB: Impressive character-driven fable
- reviewed by Nik Smythe

But the really appealing quality of Ticking Time Bomb is its ingenious depiction of a community, and the eclectic range of exaggerated, sometimes stereotyped characters it contains... The impressive performance of the two-handed cast of fifteen-odd echoes the physical prowess and amplified caricatures of classic Commedia del Arte, without the masks

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Maidment, Auckland - THE GIFT: Danger when odd couples connect
- reviewed by Janet McAllister

This inoffensive Auckland Theatre Company production is a conversation drama which builds to a Big Reveal, about an odd couple of couples: an older wealthy businessman and the wife who "facilitated his glory", and a younger, hipper, poorer artist and his art-journalist wife.

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Circa Two, Wellington - MANAWA: Powerful play delves into NZ heartland
- reviewed by Ewen Coleman

Two unlikely characters, one a Maori the other a Samoan, are brought together in a prison cell as they await the outcome of the New Zealand justice system to decide their future fate.

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Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch - FOOTNOTE FORTE SERIES 2012: Footnote - a joy to watch
- reviewed by Toby Behan

Feet Firmly Planted has as its seed the idea of choices and commitment to decisions. Nowhere in the piece is this more clearly to the fore than in a wonderfully realized section where one of the dancers is completely at the mercy and control of the others – lifted, tossed, thrown and bounced around. The extended dance sequences and well-rehearsed unity of the dancers are a joy to watch here.

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Maidment, Auckland - THE GIFT: The Gift of the gab
- reviewed by Sharu Delilkan

“Wow!” was all we could say when we saw the striking set as we walked into the Maidment Theatre.

A Rubiks-like upholstered grid with minimal cube props for tables and seats is the genius creation of set designer Rachael Walker.

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Circa Two, Wellington - MANAWA: Challenges us all with its perception, guts and powerful heart
- reviewed by John Smythe

In immediate terms it’s a hugely funny yet powerful play about two young men thrown together in a prison cell, and their hot young legal aid lawyer’s attempts to see them justly served. Or not. What it’s really about, however, is our punitive justice system, how divided loyalties can corrupt ideals and how lethal a heart without a head engaged can be.

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The SNAKE PIT, 33 High Street, Auckland - COWBOY MOUTH AND LOVE IT UP: Food for thought in trans-dimensional rock ’n’ roll absurdism
- reviewed by Nik Smythe

The multi-faceted aura that emerges under Madhan’s adventurous direction suggests a kind of psychedelic prism, where confusion between the realities of the actors and characters is deliberately concocted to evince a questioning uneasiness, such as with the actors’ faltering accents.

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The SNAKE PIT, 33 High Street, Auckland - COWBOY MOUTH AND LOVE IT UP: A Bittersweet Mouthful
- reviewed by Matt Baker

Cowboy Mouth was once described as co-writer Sam Shephard’s ‘most thinly-veiled autobiography.’ However, his resultant abandonment of the production prior to the second night’s performance (he starred alongside his co-writer and lover at the time, Patti Smith) indicates that perhaps the piece was less of a thin veil, and more of a deluge of emotionally packed stream of conscious writing that hit Shephard too close to home during performance.

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Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch - THE SLAPDASH ASSASSIN: Bitter humour
- reviewed by Lindsay Clark

It is savagely funny but has a truthful pulse which never skips a beat through a series of startling and sometimes shocking events. There is a potent sting in this tale.

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Mr Falcon's, 92 Glebe Point Rd, Sydney, Australia - THE CASE OF KATHERINE MANSFIELD: Creating Herstory
- reviewed by Kirsty McGuire

Despite the fact that I never once felt like I was being taught anything, I walked away from the play knowing significantly more about this remarkable woman.

The Case of Katherine Mansfield is a simply wonderful piece of theatre – the kind that makes you believe in theatre.

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BATS, Wellington - WHITE CLOUD: SONGS & STORIES: Fascinating island full of voices
- reviewed by Ewen Coleman

It is somewhat unusual to walk into BATS Theatre and find the stage full of musical instruments like being at some sort of rock concert.

Yet it is not surprising given that one of the co-writers of the new show at BATS White Cloud: Songs & Stories is iconic Kiwi musician Tim Finn who, along with another well-known NZ writer Ken Duncum, has put together a fascinating piece of poetry and music performance art.

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Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland - HYPOTHESIS ONE: A COMPOUND REACTION FROM NEW ZEALAND SAMOANS: A magnificent work, unique and profound
- reviewed by Lexie Matheson

PLab – yes, that’s what they’re called – is a new collective founded by Fasitua Amosa, who is one of our finest. His dream is to create an environment where Pasifika performing artists can try out new ideas, experiment and ultimately stage new work. Hypothesis: a compound reaction from New Zealand Samoans is the first work to bounce out of the lab and, frankly, it’s a wee ripper.

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

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Theatreview

21 Sep 2012

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

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