Category Archives: performing arts

FRINGE 19 | 5 mins with Eden Mulholland

Eden Mulholland is a well-respected composer, gifted multi-instrumentalist and a sound producer for theatre, film and dance. He’s a creative collaborator at Movement of the Human (MOTH) –  a movement and performance design company developed by Malia Johnston that is about to take over Auckland Town Hall’s Concert Chamber for 4 nights as part of Auckland Fringe arts festival.

Eden has racked up some impressive accolades in the last decade. He was the winner of the 2009 & 2010 Best Music at the Tempo Dance Festival and was nominated for a Qantas Media award for Best Music for a TV series for his work on World Kitchen.

We caught up with Eden to talk Fringe, Spirit animals and other weirdness over a cup of tea with milk – just the way he likes it.

1. Is this your first Fringe Auckland?   How different is an Auckland audience to other audiences?

No. Aucklanders stay out later and drink more.

2. Describe your show in three words or less…

Dance AV CrayCray

3. Fringe Festivals are known for the weird, wacky, and utterly wonderful – what’s the most bizarre thing you’ve come across during your Fringe history?

It’s all a blur sorry..

4. What are your top 3 picks for Auckland Fringe?

Desperate Late Night Energy
Pussy Riot
Hamerkop

5. Where will we find you during the festival?

In a darkened room, or anywhere with a power outlet really, headphones on, being antisocial, but getting lots done…

6. What would we find if we raided your fridge?

Someone else’s food! I’ve been living with colleagues for 3 weeks. 3 to go before I get home. There is always milk though for my tea. I like tea.

7. Tell us about your spirit animal?

Can it be a spirit comic? Larry David for the win. I love LD

8. Word Association:

Fringe – Plug

Fridge – Fudge

Auckland – Snorkland

Festival – Westeros

Lights – Chihuahua

See Eden Mullholland’s work Movement of the Human as part of Fringe Town during Auckland Fringe festival on 21 – 24 February 2019.

Buy your tickets here

FRINGE 19 | 5 mins with Vanessa Crofskey

A performance artist, poet and producer Vanessa Crofskey will showcase her latest poetry show Long Distance Phone Calls as part of the Auckland Fringe Festival.  The programme  features some of Auckland’s best writers including Manu Vaea , Kyla Dela Cruz, Stevie Davis-Tana , Phodiso Dintwe , the girls of Ngā Puna O Waiōrea  and renowned performance poet Carrie Rudzinski. 

She is a Rising Voices National Finalist and winner of the 2015 Auckland University Poetry Slam, Auckland Regional Slam and the Auckland Fringe Festival Best Storytelling award. Vanessa’s gig as Basement Theatre’s 2018 Producer in Residence has kept her busy, but we caught up with her ahead of her Auckland Fringe show.

 

1. Is this your first Fringe Auckland?  

This is my second Auckland Fringe! I was a last-minute addition to the Basement Performance Salon in 2017 and ended up winning two sweet awards. This year I’m organising a poetry show featuring all my favourite writers. It’s my first time leading the helm on a project like this – I’ve never directed or lead my own event before – so it means I’m trying out lots of new things. I know how special it can be to hear a poem and feel it settle so deep inside you, so I’m looking forward to sharing that experience with an audience.

2. Describe your show in three words or less…

Warm, tender, curious.

3. Fringe Festivals are known for the weird, wacky, and utterly wonderful – what’s the most bizarre
thing you’ve come across during your Fringe history?

The most memorable event I came across last Fringe was the Dead Writer’s Retreat. It was less bizarre, more uniquely cool. Claire O’Loughlin and Marcus McShane transformed this small unused corner of the Basement into a workable writing space, ft. a very grand desk, ink quills, a chosen piece of art and inspirational music. I was totally swept away.

4. What are your top 3 picks for Auckland Fringe?

Pussy Riot, Desperate Late Night Energy, I Am Rachel Chu!

5. Where will we find you during the festival?

You’ll find me on the balcony of the Great Hall at Auckland Live, surrounded by poets and most likely typing furiously.

6. What would we find if we raided your fridge?

Half a wilted cabbage, the last dregs of japanese mayo, lime juice. Unused almond milk and two Lion Reds left behind at a house party months ago.

7. Tell us about your spirit animal?

Spirit animal, as a term, insensitively appropriates Native American customs so I prefer not to use that term. An animal that I strongly relate to is definitely the red panda.

8. Word Association:

Fringe – self-botched haircuts
Fridge – doors being left open
Auckland – mouldy flats and bright blue harbours
Festival – smoke and fireworks
Lights – telephone lines

See Long Distance Phone Calls as part of Fringe Town during Auckland Fringe Festival at Auckland Town Hall on Tue 19 February.

Buy your tickets here

FRINGE 19 | 5 mins with Aria Dehar

The Ugly Girls Club presents PSUSY Backyard Screening as part of the Auckland Fringe Festival 2019. A promising intimate affair where creators of the New Zealand based web series will open up to their audience in a deep and meaningful panel discussion, while showcasing some of their never before seen footage and bloopers.

PSUSY is a women-led, NSFW, comedy web series starring Jaya Beach-Robertson and Aria Dehar. Recently back from Los Angeles, where they picked up the Best Web Series Award at the LA Film Festival – we catch up with Aria to talk Auckland Fringe, Spirit Animals and other general weirdness:

1. Is this your first Fringe Auckland?  

Yes. We are looking forward to screening Psusy in front of a live audience. We’re also excited for our audience to see some never-before-seen extra content. I haven’t even seen this content so that will be fun for me as well.

2. Describe your show in three words or less…

Colourful, current and courageous.

3. Fringe Festivals are known for the weird, wacky, and utterly wonderful – what’s the most bizzare thing you’ve come across during your Fringe history?

I can’t answer that yet but I have a long history of bowl cuts and fringes – thanks mum.

4. What are your top 3 picks for Auckland Fringe?

It’s so hard to choose. I like the look of Maui, Girls to the Front – A Poetry Film Extravaganza and then of course Psusy Backyard Screening. Life is too short to be humble.

5. Where will we find you during the festival?

Refer to answer #4.

6. What would we find if we raided your fridge?

Coconut water, vegetables, supplements.

7. Tell us about your spirit animal?

My Patronus is a white mare, according to Pottermore (2017). It means I have a free soul, loyal heart, high emotional intelligence and I connect well with others. I just googled that and it is the nicest compliment I’ve ever received.

8. Word Association:

Fringe – childhood

Fridge – mum

Auckland – city of cranes

Festival – cat lady

Lights – dopamine

See Psusy backyard screening as part of Auckland Fringe Festival 2019  at Our Backyard
13 Ariki Street, Grey Lynn Thurs 21 and Sun 24 February; 19:00

Buy your tickets here

FRINGE 19 | 5 mins with Uther Dean

Cmedian and playwright, Uther Dean, is bringing his Uther Dean reads 300 Haiku act to Auckland Fringe Festival   – a new hour of story-telling of emotion, comedy and narrative in 5100 syllables.

One of his previous standout performances, Everything is Surrounded by Water, a monologue co-written and performed by Uther , won him the Best Solo at the New Zealand Fringe in 2014 and was later nominated for Best New New Zealand Play at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards.

We caught up with Uther Dean ahead of his debut at this year’s Auckland Fringe.

1. Is this your first Fringe Auckland? What are you looking forward to about performing in Auckland?

It’s my first time performing in the Fringe in Auckland but not my first time performing in Auckland. Auckland audiences are a lot less forgiving than audiences in the rest of the country. I used to think this was a bug but it is actually a feature. Auckland crowds expect more, so you give more. It’s only being asked to do your best that brings your best out of you.

2. Describe your show in three words or less…

Comedy haiku story-telling

3. Fringe Festivals are known for the weird, wacky, and utterly wonderful – what’s the most bizarre thing you’ve come across during your Fringe history?

There was a show that I think so much about that I worry I’ve made it up. Two decades or so ago, a show applied to the New Zealand Fringe (which is to say the Wellington Fringe) to do a show that consisted solely of interrupting other shows in the festival. The story goes that it’s the only show they’ve outright rejected. Then the people behind the show blew the rejection letter up into a poster and pasted it up around town.

4. What are your top 3 picks for Auckland Fringe?

Picking just three is very hard. It’s an exceptionally strong programme this year. So, discounting the obvious picks that are going to be excellent but I’m sure you already are going to see (Brendon Green, Donna Brookbanks & David Correos, Actressexual, Deacon, Only Bones, PSUSY, Pussy Riot, The Salem Bitch Trials, Two Hearts, Uther Dean Reads 300 Haiku) my top three picks are, in no order:

  1.  The Dice Show & SIN: The Social Improv Night –
    Steven Lyons, the comedian and improviser in part
    responsible for both of these shows (which are on the
    same nights so would make a great double bill), is one
    of the great unheralded talents of NZ comedy. A bright
    light in a grimy world who manages to delight every
    audience he meets.
  2. How to Write an Album – This marathon of music to
    make an album in twelve hours was hit at a previous
    Wellington Fringe and is packed to the gills with some
    of the most exciting creators from down there.
  3. Long Distance Phone Calls – If you see one poetry
    show this year, see mine, but if you see two, see this
    one as well. Programmer Vanessa Crofskey has
    immaculate taste and lined up a Who’s Who of poets
    that you actually want to see read live. This looks to be
    a very special event and I really think you should go.

5. Where will we find you during the festival?

Outside sold-out shows flyering for mine? Hanging around after shows wondering if I know people well enough to talk to them?

6. What would we find if we raided your fridge?

La Croix because I am exactly like you expect me to be.

7. Tell us about your spirit animal?

I’m not comfortable appropriating the idea of a spirit animal. If I was an Eevee I’d hope I’d evolve into a Sylveon but
would probably end up as a Umbreon.

8. Word Association:

Fringe – John Noble not winning an Emmy for Walter Bishop is a crime

Fridge – Another reason to distance yourself from the Kyle Rayner era of Green Lantern

Auckland – Money

Festival – Love

Lights – Turn on the Bright

See Uther Dean Reads 300 Haiku as part of Auckland Fringe Festival 2019 at the Classic Studio on Fri 22 – Sat 23 February.

Buy your tickets here

been | KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil

KOOZA marks the return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil, the company that began in 1984 with a motley troupe of Quebecois street performers. Started by the venerable Guy Laliberte, KOOZA combines two circus traditions – Acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The premiere that took place in Auckland last night was a truly mesmerising experience, proving yet again that Cirque du Soleil company dominates in all aspects of production. They are simply unbeatable.

A dazzling performance that is in equal parts a well paced fable, slowly unraveling the world of acrobatic wonder and magic, while also being an electrifying operatic experience that keeps the audience on its toes throughout. (My eyes wide open, my heart skipped many a beat and I stopped counting how many times I held my breath while watching the action unfold.)

“KOOZA is about human connection and the world of duality, good and bad” says the show’s writer and director David Shiner. “The tone is fun and funny, light and open. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’s very much about ideas, too. As it evolves, we are exploring concepts such as fear, identity, recognition and power”

The show starts with The Innocent (A new kid on the block, expertly played by Cedric Belisle) a loner and simpleton who is trying to fly his kite. He’s interrupted by the arrival of a mailman with a curious package – a jack-in-the-box containing a Trickster (Derek Piquette) who summons us into his new land filled with wonder, danger and dreams. He introduces The Innocent to the other colourful and comic characters – The King, The Heimloss, The Obnoxious Tourist and his Bad Dog.

This is where the action begins. Music plays an important part in the production. Inspired by the sounds of western pop culture and traditional Indian music, it complements and adds to the drama of the acrobatic acts.

The main acts covered are  the sumptuous and beguiling Straps performance, Balancing on Chairs, Charivari, Contortion, High Wire, Hoops Manipulation, Teeterboard, Unicycle Duo and ultimate Wheel of Death.

As soon as you might feel the act is over, the performers realising their full human body potential, they up the ante and give you more than you have ever bargained for. The excitement build up is palpable until the very end.

A well deserving standing ovation followed.

Not to be Missed! Kooza by Cirque du Soleil will be performing over the following dates:

FEBRUARY 15, 2019 – MARCH 17, 2019

@ Alexandra Park

Been | Here Lies Love

If you love live musical performances, then this is a show for you.

The life of Imelda Marcos is narrated through the operandi of music, thanks to the writing genius of David Byrne and Norman Cook (aka.Fatboy Slim).  Directed by Sophie Roberts and with musical direction by Robin Kelly.

The anticipation upon arrival was palpable, and the energy high, as one looked around the lofty quarters of the Rangatira stage, to see a sprinkling of ‘who’s-who’ in NZ TV, Music & Theatre.

The disco themed concept was evident and most welcomely embraced, from the slick and sequin clad 5-pieced band, to the elaborate and glistening staircase, which reflected the luminescent costumes of the show’s star divas.

Ethereal lighting and a gospel-inspired backdrop fall upon songstress Ria Hall, as she opens the stage with powerful and intoxicating vocals, followed by equally as alluring performances by: Villette Dasha, Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Colleen Davis and Sarah Nessia.

The suave and polished band deserve a notable mention, with their acoustically flawless rendition of a concept most unusual,  keeping the heady disco rhythm shaking, to the very end ….  A standout for me in particular,  was the percussionist Antonio Karam, whose vivacity and mad musical ability had not only myself, mesmerized.

Conveying the remarkable rise (and subsequent fall) of such a politically controversial icon was never going to be an easy task.  Yet this unexpected collaboration from influential and allying artists (Byrne & Cook) combined with the stage and musical talent of our very own, individually successful artists –  ‘Here lies love’  is a production of great expectation and certain delivery.

By the end of the show, you will be literally dancing in your seats!

Here Lies Love is now showing over these following dates:
November 22 – December 08th
Rangatira @ Q

 

 

 

Been | Retail Therapy

Basement Theater’s Spring Season has sprung!  Most fittingly (excuse the pun) alongside Click-Clack Productions to present ‘Retail Therapy’.  An irreverent and laughter-packed debut by playwright Grace-Amelia Vernal set in the cut-throat, take-no-prisoners, superficial realm of retail.

A successful foray into theater, whilst under an internship at the Basement itself, Grace’s passion for all things thespian clearly shows through the play’s direction, comedic quality of script and a relatively freshman cast that includes:  Louisa Hutchinson as the dedicated & upstanding although somewhat awkward employee Nina, socially libertine makeup artist Mercy (Albertine Jonas), the artistic and decidedly non-camp Charlie (Stephen Lyell) with their bitch-from-hell colleague Vicky (Becky Button) and the store Don Juan, Darren (played by Dylan Thuraisingham).

Carefully placed and laundered shirt/coat/dress racks are in the forefront of the audience, and with the high-pitched positivity of a dept.store voice-over, subtle yet obvious, generic elevator music playing in the background throughout, a scene is set.  One that resonates an early popular UK television show, “Are You Being Served”.

A standout from the get-go, was the vivacious Mercy.  Her questionable work ethic and incorrigible ideas were played to perfection by Albertine Jonas, helping an initially slow story-line gather momentum.  Another highlight for me was the performance of Zoe Larsen Cumming, as she takes the self-obsessed, selfie-taking and utterly narcissistic character, ‘Stefani’ to another level.  A highly amusing and completely believable Kardashianesque level at that!

This play is brutally honest and funny with ‘on-point’ costume design and hysterical (however inappropriate) puns and references such as, ‘slutty toddler’ and ‘putting on the gay’ ….  The character of Holly & Grange’s store manager Stewart (Tim Herbert) is not to be outdone however, as his true and colourful identity is revealed in the 2nd act, after  a comedy of errors at a subsequent staff party, including a misappropriation of A-Class ‘breath mints’ …

Retail Therapy is a light-hearted, yet thoroughly encapsulating show, that delves into the trivial and often ridiculous working lives of it’s characters.  Entertaining and whimsical, the energy of it’s actors and quick interchanges between props and scenes, brings the story to life and keeps the drama going until the very end!

 

*** Retail Therapy is now showing at the Basement:                                                                                                                     Tues 18th – Sat 22nd September