Jingles the Musical

March 16, 2015 at 6:53 am | Posted in Musical Review, Show Review | Leave a comment
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I went to see Dean Hewison’s Jingles the other night – at Bats Theatre.

Warning: Plot elements discussed

Hewison has cleverly worked some well known TV jingles to tell a story of farm girl to weather girl.

Wella, ably played by comedian, Hayley Sproull, leaves her home on her adopted father’s farm, in the back blocks, for the bright lights of Auckland. In true puss-in-boots style, she has a new pair of shoes, a parting gift from dad, and she is off to make her fortune (and to find her biological mother).

Jack Buchanan and Carrie Green, play all of the other characters: Wella’s mum, Wella’s adotive father, Wella’s adoptive sister, a dog, Coke, Wella’s brother, … .

All three of the cast: sing, joke, dance, and act their way through Wella’s adventure in the ‘big city’. From being greeted by the ‘dog’ on entering the theatre, to the free goodies tossed out during the ‘encore’, it was laugh out loud stuff.

The chocolates and cheese at the end was an apt way to finish off a show that was studded with jiggles from ‘golden age’ of New Zealand TV (when we made our own programmes and ads).

Definitely worth a go; and yes, the Wella hair ad gets an airing; as do lots of McDonalds’ ads.


The Tragedy of King Richard III

January 26, 2015 at 8:32 am | Posted in Play Review, Show Review | Leave a comment
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I went to opening night of the Bacchanals‘ production of Shakespeare’s Richard III at Bat’s Theatre.

Very accessible well put together, well acted production. It had a helpful introduction: introducing all of the protagonists. Another nice innovation was to use the family tree to keep track of the body count – as Richard removed them one-by-one. The production was very much like in Shakespeare’s time, in that the cast played many characters – even actors who played major characters, donned a jerkin and became spear carriers from time to time. After a little while, you did not notice the older dialect of English.

Richard III was played by David Lawrence; and Elizabeth Wydville was played by Kirsty Bruce.

Definitely, worth going to; and you get to see the revamped, earthquake strengthened building – the play was pretty much ‘in the round’ in the new Dome room.

The ‘I’ Test

March 1, 2014 at 6:56 am | Posted in Dance Review, Event Review, Show Review | Leave a comment
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Last night, I went to a Fringe Festival event The ‘I’ Test. Billed as a dance and dance-theatre. I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I liked the unrequited love and love triangle sequences.

The ‘He is so not into you’ segment was very well choreographed and danced (and acted). The man just does his thing and she literally fits herself around and on him. It was an anti pas de duexs: there was no connection emotional connection, just a physical connection; the woman is not allowed to achieve eye contact.

This set things up nicely for the ‘love triangle’. The man encounters another woman who he is interested in and who is not indifferent; but there is a second man who keeps popping up.

Good to see Anna Flaherty, Danielle Lindsay, and Emma Coppersmith – now Muted Crane Productions – again. They were joined by Andrew Paterson and James Wasmer.

The temporary Bats Theatre was nice – my first visit.

Try This

June 27, 2012 at 7:14 am | Posted in Ballet Review, Dance Review, Show Review | Leave a comment
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I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to seeĀ Try This at Bats the other night.

What I got was four dancers and a series of connected pieces based on the senses.

Fleur Cameron has created an series of short pieces that play with and try to show the five senses as movement.

Everyone in the audience got given an apple and could have munched it when the dancers – Fleur Cameron, Isabelle Nelson, Felicity Hamill, and Frankie Sampson – took it in turn to (try to) eat an apple. Nice tilt to the old adage – you can’t tell a book by its cover.

I was quite struck by the smell and touch pieces too.

Bats made for an nice intimate venue to debut this contemporary dance work.

Steel Ballerina

September 19, 2009 at 11:29 pm | Posted in Play Review | Leave a comment
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September 16, 2009 by Show_Hanger

I went to the opening night of Jacqueline Coats’ one act play, Steel Ballarina, the other night, at BATS Theatre. This performance played to a full house.

This play is inspired by the latter half of Dame Margot Fonteyn’s life. At the age of 42, on the verge of retirement, she establishes a dance partnership with Rudolf Nureyev – recently defected from Russia. Thus probably the dancer of his generation and the dancer of a prevous generation unite to form one of the most well known partnerships in ballet; thereby cementing Nureyev’s place in history and placing Dame Margot at the fore of another generation.

The play explores Dame Margot’s motivation for dancing another 20 years past the time when most other ballerinas normally retire. The play exposes both Fonteyn’s and Nureyev’s need to dance, and the support they gave each other as time finally caught up with Fonteyn (both with her and her husband Tito) and as AIDS caught up with Nureyev.

The play has two actors: Mel Dodge and Pagan Dorgan. One plays Fonteyn’s fictional companion and caregiver – Ana; the other plays Fonteyn the dancer. The programme does not say who is which so I will refer to them as ‘Ana’ and as ‘The Dancer’. The play is a little complicated as Ana is sometimes Fonteyn addressing the audience, and sometimes herself. Ana has most of the dialogue; sometimes conversing with apparent recordings of Nureyev. The Dancer dances – to classical or other music – whenever the playwright wishes to reinforce the mood of Fonteyn dancing.

The play begins with a rather confusing sequence which appears to be the two characters being driven to the hospital, when Fonteyn is very ill. The majority of the play is one long flashback picking up the highlights of Fonteyn’s life from the time just before she partners with Nureyev to her retirement. The play ends with Fonteyn’s death. The death scene consists of The Dancer doing a variation of the Dying Swan, complete with a shower of feathers.

I went away a little disappointed that there was not more dancing, what there was was technically adequate, but not light or soft as Dame Margot would have done it. But after consideration, I decided that it is a play, and not a dance; so what dancing there was, was adequate and sufficient to create the right mood. And besides there is only one Dame Margot, what accomplished ballet dancer would want to hold herself up for direct comparison?

All-in-all worth going to: strong story and innovative direction.


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