Promise & Promiscuity

May 9, 2016 at 9:09 am | Posted in Play Review, Show Review, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A hilarious one-women play set in the Jane Austen Regency Period. I attended a sold out performance at the Circa Theatre the other night. The amazing Penny Ashton, played a multitude of characters, doing a number of voices and personalities, singing now and then (also as different characters), danced, and played the ukulele!

Ms Ashton has turned her novella (available on Amazon) into a one-women one-act play; or she may have turned her play into a novella.

The plot was very familiar to the audience: a pair of sister; living in reduced circumstances – as a result of their father’s poor decisions; they live in a little cottage; there is a wealthy neighbour; the neighbour has a wealthy stand-offish friend; and of course there is a ball.

Go see it if you can. Oh if you are a male, don’t sit in the front row, unless you can dance – Ms Ashton selects someone to dance at the ball!


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.

Playshop Live

April 19, 2014 at 11:52 pm | Posted in Show Review | Leave a comment
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I went to this regular Friday night live comedy show at the Paramount Theatre – well last Friday night.

It is an improvisation style of thing and its funny, live, unrehearsed, and has audience participation. It even has live music –  Amand Gerbault-Gaylor  on an electric keyboard. There is an MC – Samuel Phillips – to warm-up the audience (simon-says) and provide a bit of continuity between the various improvisations.

Each of the players took it in turn to do a short humourous monologue on a topic from the audience, then the four of them – Freya Daly Sadgy, ‘Lorry’  LeighOliver Devlin and  Jed Davies – and Sam pitch-in with some improvisations – all accompanied by Amand on his keyboard.

Laugh out load funny, at time riotous; worth a go.


Silver Linings Playbook

March 29, 2013 at 1:00 am | Posted in Film Review | 1 Comment
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I must admit that the only reason I went to see this at the theatre, rather than wait for the DVD at the library, was because of Jennifer Lawrence. I saw her in the Hunger Games; in Winter Bone; and she won an Academy Award for this movie.

Warning: Plot elements revealed.

The film is about two people, with mental health issues, dealing with their issues, while also dealing with life. It gets a bit intense – Bradley Cooper (Pat) and Jennifer Lawrence (Tiffany) develop coping strategies, all the while getting use to each other and life in general.

It is really more of a light drama than a romantic comedy.

The movie lets Lawrence demonstrate her versatility.

It is also a dance movie! Tiffany has always wanted to enter a dance competition, but needs a partner – Pat. Cooper is quite a good mover!

Robert de Niro is Pat’s dad – a man with borderline OCD! he gives a wonderful performance.

Worth a go, but it is not a funny as you might expect.

The YES Men (2003)

December 29, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Posted in DVD Review, Film Review | Leave a comment
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I never did understand friends’ thumbnail accounts of what a couple of anti-global trade activists were up to; it was always “they turn up and pretend to speak on behalf of the establishment and get thrown out.”

But I finally got to see the documentary/film The Yes Men on DVD the other night.

It’s all about Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum campaign against the against the WTO (World Trade Organisation). Rather than taking to the streets or blogging, they speak on behave of the WTO ! As the documentary explains, Mike-and-Andy were give control of the domain, which they turned into a parody of the WTO site. As they say: “On the Internet no one can tell if you are a dog”, and organisations/conferences started to invite representatives from (thinking they were inviting an arm of the WTO) to speak.

The documentary/film follows Mike-and-Andy as they impersonate trade experts/strategists from the WTO at a number of conferences. We see Mike-and-Andy’s increasingly unsubtle send up of WTO policy – culminating in a ridiculous gold unitard.

The documentary is definitely sympathetic with Mike-and-Andy’s position. But regardless of your position, the documentary and Mike-and-Andy what do is pretty funny. Mike-and-Andy take stand-up satirical comedy to another level – without the laughter (track). Most of the venues where the guys speak are populated by analysts/accountants/academics/diplomats for whom english is a second-language – so something might be lost in translation. The latter might also explain why the audience never reacts to the ridiculous propositions Mike-and-Andy espouse.

If you like political satire this DVD is for you.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Wellington, 2011)

October 23, 2011 at 12:12 am | Posted in Musical Review, Show Review | Leave a comment
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I saw the New Zealand Drama School’s production of this Tony Award winning show.

I presume the cast were drawn from the School’s graduating class. Full marks for them for doing a work that required lots of singing, some dancing, as well as acting.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, not having researched the origins, but having seen 42nd Street the week before I was quite unprepared for this piece of musical theatre / musical comedy. There was a lot less dancing, and much more acting.

I found it a bit wacky, not just because it is a comedy, but the array of characters all had ‘issues’. The entrants were a combination of hot-housed over achievers to lonely under achievers – for good measure some random members of the audience were tossed in. The spelling bee officials also had ‘history’ that they were trying to get past.

What I liked about this work was that when the characters sang, they gave the audience a view of their personality, neurosis and flashbacks in a way that is all but impossible any other way in the time and space available.

I found two characters struck a real chord with me: Marcy Park (played by Alice Canton) and Leaf Coneybear (played by Andrew Paterson).

It did take me a little while to mentally cast the spelling bee entrants as children – because the drama students are adults :-). Maybe more audible cues when these characters were introduced?

This was the last night; otherwise, I would say go to it!


August 30, 2010 at 1:03 am | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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What is a nice girl like Katherine Heigl doing in a film like this? Killers is an action thriller romantic comedy that spreads itself a little too thinly.

Still Heigl is easy on the eye – gratuitous bra scene in case viewers were looking at the decor! Ashton Kutcher is also easy on the eye. Lots of tributes to James Bond films: some subtle, some right out there. Catherine O’Hara as the alcoholic mum nearly steals the movie – O’Hara’s character is well played and left me wanting to know more about this women who is almost never seen without a drink. And for the 80’s nostalga buffs: there is Tom Selleck. I think he may have found a niche: stern former action man dad/uncle.

The film may come across as a bit light, but it left me with a terrific moral dilemma; is it ok to hire lots of assasines who get killed by the intended victim (in self defence)? What moral burden does the hirer have?

The Beard of Avon

December 3, 2009 at 12:01 am | Posted in Play Review | Leave a comment
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Plot elements revealed!

December 1, 2009 by Show_Hanger

I went to Amy Freed’s The Beard of Avon, the other night, at Gryphon Theatre.

This comedy explores who wrote the works of Shakespeare.

Will Shakspere – played by Tom Rainbird – unhappy with his domestic circumstances in rural Avon, is tempted by the bright lights of the city and of the stage, runs away from his wife and farm! It turns out that he has no real talent to be an actor (can’t: dance, tumble, act, nor orate), but nevertheless becomes a spear shaker – a spear carrier – in a company in London. There his ability to polish and have a neat feeling turn of phrase is discovered and his future is assured – as is Willliam Shakespeare‘s place in history.

It is asserted that Shakspere/Shakespeare polished and finished off the plays (and poems), but who provided the drafts? The play drags forth a number of candidates. It does explain how Shakespeare had such an intermit knowledge of politics and of the nobility.

The play is engaging and mildly funny. The more you are familiar with plays of Shakespeare, the more your will be engaged; I am sure I missed a few references.

Chris O’Grady is superb as Edward de Vere (the Early of Oxford). Gillian Boyes makes a wonderful Queen Elizabeth I – though I am not sure that her handbag was historically accurate! Felicity Cozens took the various sides of Anne Hathaway (grumbling wife, sorry wife, unhappy wife, harlot!) in her stride. Susannah Donovan is great as Geoffrey Dunderbread – a man playing a women.

Worth going – if you have time bone up on your Shakespeare before you go!


Alvin and the Chipmunks

January 16, 2008 at 10:10 am | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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Jan 16, 2008 by

Film Hanger

Paper Hanger Blog
New Zealand

The film is really a tribute to Ross Bagdasarian Snr – Jnr produced the film – who wrote and was the voice for the chipmunks in the 1961-62 TV Series.

This time around Justine Long, Matthew Gray Gubler & Jesse McCartney are respectively: Alvin, Simon & Theodore. Jason Lee plays their manager Dave. Cameron Richardson plays Claire – Dave’s on again off again girlfriend.

It is all very sweat and surprisingly watchable. OK the Chipmunks are computer animated and they have very squeaky voices, but there is something for everyone. There is humour for kids and adults – they don’t over do the fart jokes. There is even a mild slapstick chase scene.

It is a bit predicatable: uncle Ian is the exploitative baddy – but you expect that; Dave and the Chipmunks do get back together, and Dave discovers commitment.


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