Category Archives: performing arts

been | Matilda the Musical

A revolting success full of maggots.

Here’s a hypothetical question; if a parent was rude, vile, and hated their child and poor treatment of this child causes them to develop telekinesis, would they have created a child with a superpower? Does this now make you a great parent?

Going to watch Matilda the Musical to get the answer to this question would be pointless.

But if you want to see one of the best musicals ever performed in Auckland; this certainly is a show not to miss. It’s spectacle of modern musical theatre with larger than life villains, catchy numbers, spectacular performers and humour for everyone; young or old.

The story centres around Matilda; an unwanted, unloved girl with magical powers. She’s just joined the local primary school, which is run by the biggest, well-bosomed, ex-Olympic hammer thrower, Miss Trunchbull. Whilst at school, she befriends her class teacher and together, they face their bullies.

The young actress playing Matilda, steals the show with per performance and every ‘revolting’ maggot is pitch perfect. Performing as an ensemble, they truly shined; there were several moments where the audience were left in fits of laughter and amazement.

The production is expertly curated with just the right dash of exaggeration and the set changes are seamless.

Whilst Tim Minchin, didn’t perform any of the musical numbers in Auckland, his involvement was certainly apparent. Every song was ‘Minchinesqued,’ it had the upbeat switching of chords, intertwined with Dahl’s irreverent wacky world.

A celebration of wit and creativity; this show is certainly not one to miss. If I was giving stars, this would be a 5-star performance.

Matilda the Musical plays at the Civic until October.  Buy your tickets here.

been | The Legend Of Zelda – Symphony Of The Goddesses

At E3 2011, Jason Michael Paul Productions produced a 4 minute overture to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic Zelda franchise. The clip contained footage from the various titles paired with an arrangement of some of the stirringly beautiful themes the series is famous for which, for anyone who’s spent even a moment of their childhood wrapped up in the saga of Link and Zelda, was one hell of a nostalgia trip. Shortly after the event a full concert was announced whose success would eventually lead to the creation of “The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses” to which I had the unique pleasure of seeing on the evening of the 14th of August at Auckland’s Civic theatre.

Multiplay Insomnia60 at NEC – Matthew King/iEventMedia

The show begins with the aforementioned overture, conducted with infectious enthusiasm by award winning Australian conductor Jessica Gethin, and performed by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra with assistance from the haunting Freemason Chorus. The performers are accompanied by the very same footage from the E3 presentation projected upon the back of the stage behind the Chorus.

The closing of the overture precedes an early teary eyed applause from series fans and newcomers alike and is followed by a brief introduction from Jason Michael Paul and a short clip from the one and only Shigeru Miyamoto himself. Not the last we see of the legendary game director as he makes a further announcement towards the end of the show, espousing his love for the series and the personal impact it’s had on him. He’s joined by two further clips, one from designer and current director of the Zelda series – Eiji Aonuma (who began his work with the series during the spectacular “Ocarina of Time”) and the renowned video game composer Koji Kondo.

Each piece of music is expertly choreographed to footage of the particular title it’s inspired from. It’s not just promotional footage either: a good deal of the scenes are actual gameplay meaning someone played through and recorded them for the show (I like to imagine Mr Paul did a start to finish “Let’s Play” of all 30 years worth of games for this himself). The masterful pairing with the swelling and pacing of the score suggests the clips were chosen by someone with a love for the series and, while a couple of clips felt like slightly odd choices, the vast majority of footage fit in sublimely and included enough chicken chasing and Master Sword pulling to satisfy everyone.

The pieces include arrangements from many of the greatest games in the series. Act one begins with a composition of the Dragon Roost Island theme from Wind Waker which, as the piece draws to a close, has the orchestra bathed in crimson light while showing Links dramatic battle with Gohma in the caverns. The stage lighting is used to great effect throughout immersing you even further from the vibrant greens of the Plains of Epona during a piece from Breath of the Wild to the deep blue of the Great Sea during Movement III – The Wind Waker.

I could more than happily talk about each piece in detail but, as Miyamoto says himself that “life, just as in the game, is full of surprises” and the surprises of this show really need to be experienced in person. The show will be moving on to Perth on the 24th of August and Singapore on the 26th before returning to Melbourne for two more shows on the 3rd of September. I implore you, if you’re able, crack open some pots and collect as many Rupees as you can to make it to one of these showings. You will not be disappointed.





Visit the Official Website HERE


been | The Pickle King

To celebrate their 20th Anniversary, Indian Ink Theatre Company – whose humble beginnings saw them in a rehearsal space in Wellington – have chosen to share their highly acclaimed The Pickling King with audiences across New Zealand.

The story centres around two hotel workers, an overbearing Ammachy (South Indian aunty), a mysterious guest and a haunting piano player, in what was once the finest hotel in town. Like a pickled onion, as you peel the layers, the play explores socially taboo subjects, which kiwis have come to accept and Indians don’t want to discuss.

Indian Ink’s founder, Jacob Rajan has passed the baton for this anniversary tour; with Vanessa Kumar (Boys Will Be Boys, Peter Pan) and Kalyani Nagarajan (The Brokenwood Mysteries 3, Polo) taking the helm, along with Andrew Ford (Le Sud, The Lady Killers) and Ayrton Foote on piano.

Ford as the pickle man and Kumar as the overbearing aunt give a strong performance and will have the audience in fits of laughter.

It’s easy to see how this show has won so many awards – it’s better than poppadum’s with mango pickle! Catch it at Q Theatre until Saturday 19 August.

been | The Effect

The impressive and inspiring collaborative force – Fractious Tash, have undoubtedly put themselves on the thespian radar; introducing to Q-Theatre’s 2017 Matchbox Season, the raw uninhibited and compelling production of “The Effect” – a play by the reputable Lucy Prebble (Secret Diary of a Call Girl), and directed by the visionary Benjamin Henson.

An unlikely love-story, set within the cold, confining parameters of a clinical drug-trial.  It’s subjects; the wry, cynical yet stoic heroine Connie (Jessie Lawrence), cast athwart the upbeat and lovable Irish rogue, Tristan (Daniel Watterson).

A great set, minimalist yet detailed.  It’s characters were immediately engaging; my companion taking a little longer to warm to them, but within minutes, was as transfixed as I, with a script so intelligent and absorbing, brought to life by such magnetic acting talent.

The inevitable attraction between these two polar opposites, are triggered by a clinical trial that they have both knowingly entered into, overseen by Dr Lorna (Sheena Irving) and Dr Toby (Will Wallace), who themselves, are most interesting personas through their portrayal of undeniable sexual attraction, that is yet restrained by the realities of life and own mental-awareness.

Confronting and powerful messages about love and it’s all-consuming hold over us, both mentally and physically, are ideas that are challenged by it’s integral characters; can certain chemicals induce or affect our innermost thoughts?  Or are we best left to allow our emotions to develop, and to deal with or overcome the consequences naturally, no matter how painful or challenging they may be …. ?

Sheena Irving is outstanding in her portrayal of the empathetic but emotionally troubled psychotherapist,  alongside such thought-provoking and incredibly relevant dialogue between the rest of the equally talented cast, surrounding the issue of mental illness and the important role that drugs play in how we deal with them as individuals.

Daniel Watterson and Jessie Lawrence wowed, with their intense passion and believable interpretation of love, which had me so involved, if not perhaps, emotionally a bit wrought at the end, yet delivered with great intention and just the right dose of humor to avert the classic Tragedy genre.   The only irony now being, I think I may be safer sticking to Tinder then messing with any love inducing chemicals …   🙂

The Effect is now showing @ Q Theatre – Loft.  August 1-12

DocEdge 17 | Max Gimblett : Original Mind

Australia / United States | 2017 | 50 min | English | Rhys Mitchell

‘Max Gimblett : Original Mind’ is a glimpse into the life of Max Gimblett – one of  New Zealand’s most outstanding living Artists – and gives us insight to the workings of his Loft Studio in New York, which he acquired in 1974.

Gimblett talks about some of his earlier inspiration; being influenced by Matisse and starting ink drawing while he was in San Francisco in the mid 60’s, and becoming more strongly influenced by Japanese Calligraphy a few years later, when he was in Indiana. This influence helps us understand perhaps why he moved to Buddhism; He is now an avowed Rensai Zen Priest. These concepts and belief systems are evident in much of his work, and his spirituality seems to be a driving force behind his studio practice, as well as his everyday life.

Gimblett’s approach of creating, doing and feeling before over-thinking results in much of his extraordinarily expressive yet minimalist paintings and drawings. Over the years he has built an impressive and immense body of work, and this is continuously growing – his creative genius seemingly no where near exhausted.

‘Max Gimblett : Original Mind’ is 50 minutes of enjoyment and insight into one of New Zealand’s most relevant and intriguing artists, and well worth viewing.

The 12th DocEdge Festival takes place Auckland 24 May – 5 June –

DocEdge 17 | Tokyo Idols

Canada / United Kingdom | 2017 | 89 min | Japanese / English Sub | Kyoko Miyake

Tokyo Idols focuses on idol culture in Japan and is more of an overview, rather than an in-depth look at what is a facinating subject.

We are introduced to young aspiring idols (some very young), and the journey that they inevitably will take on their road to success – or not. With so many eager would-be idols striving for the top spot, the competition is fierce and truly popularity based. A dominating factor of this popularity contest is based on a superficial image constructed by and for the individual. Innocence, youth, vitality, and cuteness are all key qualitites.

The fandom (and potential to profit from ‘super-fans’) is what seemingly drives this industry; However, once you start looking closer at this, questions start arising. Why are these sometimes significantly older men so emotionally invested in these young girls? Is it obsession? How healthy or unhealthy is this obsession?

With a constructed image of innocence and youth catering so blatantly to the personal desires of these fans, one has to consider some realities, such as safety of the idols (and perhaps a few other things).

This is cleverly illustrated with the characters we are introduced to; specifically Rio Hiiragi, or ‘RioRio’, to her fans. She is paving her way to hopeful success by doing her own promotional work, and utilises her small fan-base for support; you can truly see her earnest determination to succeed.

If you have little to zero knowledge of the subject, I would  highly recommend this as a introduction or taster if you will; It provides a fantastic overview as well as an objective take on Idol culture.

Absolutely recommend.


The 12th DocEdge Festival takes place Auckland 24 May – 5 June –

DocEdge 17 | Bugs

Bugs, directed by Andreas Johnson, follows researcher Josh Evans, chef Ben Reade and chef Roberto Flore of the Nordic Food Lab for The Insect Project as they travel the globe discovering edible insects and the delicious ways to prepare them.

From termites in Kenya, to maggot-infested cheese (casu marzu) in Italy, to ant eggs (escamole) in Mexico and even wasps in Japan, Bugs takes you on a journey full of extraordinary delicacies.

The documentary treats its subject with sensitivity and respect. As the people from The Insect Project embark on their unusual culinary adventure, they don’t use eating insects as a mere stunt for the camera or an entertainment opportunity to laugh like tourists at the “weird” things that others eat. They make it plain that these insects are an integral part of an entire culture and way of life.

Bugs does a good job of showing the inner conflict of the people behind The Insect Project as they wrestle with wanting to bring more attention to insects as a food source while knowing that their work will also help corporations exploit a new protein source unsustainably. This is a key point of difference for Bugs to other documentaries or videos that I have watched about edible insects as a potential solution to world hunger – it fights to include sustainability as part of the discourse and calls into question methods of production or collection.

Josh Evans leaves you with a thought-provoking question at the end of the documentary – is it really that there is not enough food in the world or is the big issue equality of access to food instead?

Bugs is an interesting documentary that raises complex moral and cultural issues about the food we consume and the system that produces it.


The 12th DocEdge Festival takes place in Wellington 10-21 May and Auckland 24 May – 5 June –