Theatreview Weekly: 30/08/2012

One Day Moko
A selection of reviews from Theatreview from the last week including: One Day Moko, The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, Holding On, and Waka.

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A selection of reviews from Theatreview from the last week including: One Day Moko, The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later,  Holding On, and Waka.
 
See more recent reviews at theatreview.org, the NZ Performing Arts Review & Directory.

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Whitireia Performance Centre, 25-27 Vivian Street, Wellington - DOG & BONE: Ticks all the boxes
- reviewed by Lynn Freeman

A Jim Moriarty directed production is like no other. Large casts of young actors who don’t need formal institutional training to give unforgettable performances. They just need Moriarty’s guidance and direction and scripts full of historical fact, spiritual presence and boundless imagination.

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BATS, Wellington - ONE DAY MOKO: Reality confronted
- reviewed by Lynn Freeman

One Day Moko lingers in the memory. So much so that you find yourself wondering what happened to the homeless Moko before we meet him, and what happens after he leaves us?

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Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland - THE LARAMIE PROJECT: 10 YEARS LATER: Aged Perfectly
- reviewed by Matt Baker

How do you measure change? This is one of the questions that drove the Tectonic Theater Project to revisit the town of Laramie, Wyoming, ten years after their incredibly successful theatrical project. It is an important question, especially regarding the content of the play, and after seeing Alacrity Productions’ version of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later I am not only relieved, but also grateful, that this play has been put in the hands of such dedicated practitioners.

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BATS, Wellington - HOLDING ON: Gears not meshing to tragi-comic effect
- reviewed by John Smythe

McGibbon is adept at raising questions we want answered and throwing sudden twists into the plot. Amid all the coping mechanisms there are insightful moments of truth and on occasion raw emotion erupts. By and large the cast handles these moments well: everyone achieves at least one moment of powerful drama. And overall the script offers fertile ground for a perceptive play about how people and their relationships are affected by tragedy.

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Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland - THE LARAMIE PROJECT: 10 YEARS LATER: Thought-provoking, engaging; performed with rigour, class, dignity and pride
- reviewed by Stephen Austin

And this is the area that the production excels in the most: clarity. From the busy, frantic movements, through focussed accents and dialogue, to perfect shifts of tone and locale, this incisive staging manages to keep us engaged and alert to the issues, characters and ideas at the play’s core.

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Fortune Theatre, Dunedin - HEROES: A joyous celebration of life mixing pathos and gallantry
- reviewed by Terry MacTavish

The gentle, charming script by French playwright Gerald Sibleyras is given a brilliant translation by word-wizard Tom Stoppard. It’s less tricksy than Stoppard’s own work, though occasionally reminiscent of his existentialist Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. It may not astonish, but it’s so engaging you don’t want to miss a word.

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Fortune Theatre, Dunedin - HEROES: Impractical charm in Sibleyras' gem
- reviewed by Barbara Frame

In a French veterans' home, three old soldiers gather daily on a sunny, slightly dilapidated terrace graced by a stone dog. Their camaraderie is necessary, but sometimes defensive and fragile. Their chat is mostly about the home's other occupants, and their reminiscences seldom touch on the war.

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BATS, Wellington - ONE DAY MOKO: Solo performance of heart and character a real treat
- reviewed by Ewen Coleman

But in Carlen’s performance there is a humanity in Moko that makes him likable, even if scary at times. And the empathy he develops for the character through his portrayal is amazing.

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BATS, Wellington - TINY SPECTACLE / SHITTY LYRICISM: Intelligent writing, lively performance
- reviewed by Ewen Coleman

Aucklander Joseph Harper’s Honey and The Boy on the Bicycle almost defy descriptions such is the existentialist nature of their writing. But the intelligence of the writing and the laid back naturalistic style of delivery by Harper are such that both make fascinating and absorbing theatre.

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TAPAC Theatre, Western Springs, Auckland - BEAUTIFUL LOSERS: Beat heroes take a walk on the wild side
- reviewed by Paul Simei-Barton

Beautiful Losers is a heartfelt tribute to American writer Jack Kerouac and his larger-than-life muse Neal Cassady – the free-wheeling drifter who was the inspiration for On the Road.

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Regent Theatre, Dunedin - MY BRILLIANT DIVORCE: Charm, comic skill in one-woman show
- reviewed by Barbara Frame

Dumped. It happens to women all the time, but when Angela's husband ditches her for a succession of younger women she's no better prepared than most. With sudden singleness come loneliness and a heap of other miseries: money worries, awful jobs, solitary attempts at holidays, social insecurity, disastrous dates, gruesome seductions and glimpses of a bleak and unloved future.

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Regent Theatre, Dunedin - MY BRILLIANT DIVORCE: Delightful streak of mischief saves na?ve vulnerability from being maudlin
- reviewed by Terry MacTavish

Divorce is not part of my life-experience. It is all too easy, however, to find a divorced friend to check the veracity of Geraldine Aron’s one-woman play. “Oh yes,” she assures me, “I’ve got a whole diary filled with all that, except that it lacks the humour which makes the play so lovely.” So real, she says, all those silly little things, like who gets custody of the married friends. “It’s like being taken back there, but this time being able to laugh.”

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Maidment, Auckland - WAKA: Awesome dancing
- reviewed by Raewyn Whyte

The opening night audience was definitely in awe of the dancers - Zoe Watkins, Sarah Baron, Amy Moxham, Sean Macdonald, Thomas Fonua, Carl Tolentino and Daniel McCarroll - for their finely honed bodies, virtuoso performances, and unwavering focus and commitment .The end of the performance was saluted with whistling, stamping, sustained applause and a semi-standing ovation. The dancers deserved every bit of that response for their stunning capacity to deliver technically challenging, physically demanding movement at a punishing pace without faltering.

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The Factory Theatre, 7 Eden Street, Newmarket, Auckland - EDUCATING RITA: Golden oldie good debut for new company
- reviewed by Janet McAllister

This class-clash Pygmalion dramedy – an oldie but a goodie – makes a great choice for the debut production of the professional Newmarket Stage Company. It's a relatively gentle, fourth-wall two-hander – wonderfully written, full of jokes and bons mots.

And they do a very good job. George Henare – who, in his mid-60s, must be the hardest-working man in Auckland showbiz – enjoys a little lightness (with undercurrents of tragedy) between the high drama of Awatea just past and Death of a Salesman to come.

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The Factory Theatre, 7 Eden Street, Newmarket, Auckland - EDUCATING RITA: Believe the hype
- reviewed by Joanna Page

The publicity leading up to Newmarket Stage Company’s first production was impressive; how often does a brand-new company have a story published in a major paper weeks out from opening night?

It’s a lot of pressure for the cast and crew and I was very curious to see whether Educating Rita would be worthy of the hype.

As it turns out the combination of a slightly dated but essentially timeless script by Willy Russell (Blood Brothers, Shirley Valentine), a clear vision from Artistic Director /Producer /Director Adey Ramsel, George Henare’s mana, and the vibrant fresh style of Jodie Hillock’s Rita means it’s more than worthy.

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BATS, Wellington - ONE DAY MOKO: Dramatised with skill and subtle precision
- reviewed by John Smythe

Tim Carlsen is an actor who so completely inhabits his roles, you have to see him in more than one to realise how very talented he is. I had seen ‘Moko’ born in his Toi Whakaari 20-minute Go Solo 2009 piece, entitled One Man And His Dog, and last year saw his skill confirmed, as Firpo especially, in the ATC ensemble production of The End of the Golden Weather.

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Glen Eden Playhouse, Auckland - WHERE WE ONCE BELONGED: The contrasts, contradictions and complexities in coming of age
- reviewed by Poppy Haynes

Exuberant, hilarious and humane, this production of Dave Armstrong’s adaptation of Sia Figiel’s Commonwealth prize-winning novel held the audience from beginning to end, at times eliciting the explosions of laughter (delighted, slightly hysterical laughter of recognition) that promise the audience will go home glowing.

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Whitireia Performance Centre, 25-27 Vivian Street, Wellington - DOG & BONE: An engaging work with many strands
- reviewed by Ewen Coleman

Lyrical and poetic, Pearse-Otene’s writing is grand and operatic and while the many strands of the story at times need further work to consolidate the story more, the large cast under Jim Moriarty’s direction nevertheless bring it all together with sincerity, commitment and loads of energy.

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TAPAC Theatre, Western Springs, Auckland - BEAUTIFUL LOSERS: Overplaying undermines empathy
- reviewed by Stephen Austin

Mike Hudson’s Beautiful Losers is a sinewy, stylistically appropriate retelling of the events of Kerouac’s On The Road, told in the cut up style that mostly defined the movement and the real-life characters that formed the story itself. The rapid-fire writing is well moulded to creating a world of literary as well as physical riposte, taking us easily into the mind and culture of Kerouac from the outset.

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Lord Stanley Pub, 51 Camden Park Road, London - WAITING ROOM: Inventive production delivers compassionate insights
- reviewed by James Hadley

It’s not an easy sell: a play about the experience of miscarriage. Still not a topic that’s widely discussed. Yet there’s a lightness of touch here: irony and humour, and a commendable resistance from indulging in easy sentimentality given the emotional weight of the subject matter. Deakin shows a mature balance of compassion and restraint in her well observed writing, which is well matched by recent mother Rosella Hart’s under-stated and sensitive direction, assisted by Connie Brice.

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Q Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland - DROWNING IN VERONICA LAKE: Talent oozes through tangled web
- reviewed by Johnny Givins

Drowning in Veronica Lake returns in triumph to the Auckland stage.

Performing in a luminous lake of white fabric, Alex Ellis is centre stage trapped in this glorious ‘dress’ tracing the luscious, scandalous, tragic and moving life of the 40s screen siren Veronica Lake. The blonde bombshell with the lock of hair covering her right eye!

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

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Theatreview

30 Aug 2012

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