Tag Archives: Auckland Live

Been | An Illiad

Wednesday night at the Herald Theatre, a hippodrome filled with culture and history; an ancient tragic chronicle is brought to life, through a dramatic retelling of the ‘An Iliad’ – an epic saga of love, war and loss, first written by the infamous Ionian poet, Homer and reworked for the modern audience by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare.

In this performance, directed by Jonathan Hendry, the weathered and tortured poet is played by the accomplished Michael Hurst .  He appears without warning, albeit unassuming and disillusioned, in the vanguard of a simple and slightly shambolic setting; possibly reflecting the state of mind of our poet and narrator.

Hurst’s ability to create imagery and background to a series of events that catapulted a monumental war, are seamless and superb.  He manages to transfix an entire audience, through his figurative language and dramatic expression, whilst recounting the fall of Troy and the role of the Gods.  The themes throughout the play: Fate, Kleos (glory), Hybris (time), pride & Menis (fury) drive the plot, in particularly the theme of fury ‘rage’ and how it becomes an addiction; fuelling the demises of many, but that is ultimately a vice of no positive consequence.

An Illiad cleverly contextualizes historic sequences, to provide relevance to the contemporary audience; referencing conflicts from the Archean age to current day.   Hurst is also brilliant, at providing some often needed comedic relief from the heavy subject of war, through perfectly weaved narrative.

Once Shayne Carter joins him on the stage and introduces us to his unique musical score, we see how this addition of audio somehow lubricates the poet’s memory.  From this point he becomes more lucid and frenetic.    Shayne’s eponymous style of music is the perfect accompaniment to the passionate and evocative story-telling of Michael Hurst.  The subtle metallic riffs, are fittingly moody and embody the essence of the play.  Creating urgency and chaos as we reach the most pivotal peaks of this epic.  The cleverly executed art direction is also vital to the success of this collaboration; the serpentine silhouette of musician and instrument, metaphorizing the shadow of Homers muse, is definitively striking.

With fierce passion and engagement with each character (embodied by respected artists) the journey draws to it’s fateful end . With Archilles lamenting the death of his dear companion Patroclus, the themes introduced to us: ‘pride, fury and time’ become ultimately, even more significant and poignant.

Two undeniable doyens of the New Zealand live art scene, Michael Hurst and Shayne Carter form an unlikely duo, which results in a truly powerful stage performance.

An ambitious, yet successful theatrical undertaking, ‘An Iliad’ is extraordinary work to see and  is brought to you by Auckland Live and ArtSense Productions.







An Illiad is currently showing at Herald Theatre – Aotea Centre:                                                                                                ~Wednesday May 29th – Sunday 9th June

FRINGE 18 | 5 mins with Anders Falstie-Jensen

Can the modern human handle nothing happening for a sustained period of time? Can you? Only one way to find out – The Rebel Alliance, Auckland Live and Auckland Fringe present…. (wait for it….) Watching Paint Dry.

We chat to writer and director, Anders Falstie-Jensen. Hailing from Denmark, Anders arrived in New Zealand just under two decades ago. He has completed a Master of Art and Drama at the University of Auckland and is one of the founding members of The Rebel Alliance Theatre Company. Over the years he’s worked as a director, writer, producer, production manager, stage manager, lighting technician and a receptionist!

Is this your first Fringe Auckland?
No. The Rebel Alliance was last in the Auckland Fringe in 2011 with our production Standstill so it’s been a while

How different is an Auckland audience to other audiences?
Auckland audiences… They are spoilt for choice. So much good theatre in this city.

Describe your show in three words or less…
Quiet. Danish. Well-lit (does the hyphen make it four?)

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?
The very first Auckland Fringe festival in 2009. The reason is that I got to stage manage the entire 3 week at The Basement so I got to see all the shows. It was a real eye opener for how a fringe, often due to the low budgets involved, forces artists to distill their ideas. When money is stripped away you get to see the core of people’s ideas. And seeing an ingenious idea in its rawest form is so exhilarating. Nothing beats that. It was an incredible 3 weeks and man I learned some stuff. Thinking back on 2009 and looking at the festival today it’s extraordinary how it has changed. And how Auckland has changed too.

What are your top 3 picks for Auckland Fringe?
Week 1, Week 2 and the closing night partay.

Where will we find you during the festival?
That is a very good question.

What would we find if we raided your fridge?
Cheese for my biscuits and milk for my coffee

Tell us about your spirit animal?
When I was a child my granddad killed s snake with a cane and put it in a bottle of spirit to preserve it. Once I had a feverish nightmare where the snake was the size of 4 school buses. It wrapped itself around my bed and crushed it. I woke up just before it ate me.
But that’s the animal that haunts my dreams. If it comes a straight up spirit animal it would be a tuna or a Labrador.

Word Association:
Fringe – good times.Fridge – cold beers
Auckland – I’m not built for this climate
Festival – chance encounters with unexpected magic
Lights – Sean Lynch
Chocolate – Fuel
Winter – The climate I’m built for
Theatre – my accidental career

Catch Anders Falstie-Jensen’s Watching Paint Dry at Herald Theatre Wed 28 – Sat 3 March as part of Auckland Fringe Festival. Buy tickets here.


interviewed | The fabulous Miss Frisky

Miss Frisky is gracing Auckland again this month for two evenings of karaoke cabaret nonsense, vocal pyrotechnics, and riotous fun. You may remember her from the British musical comedy cabaret double act – Frisky & Mannish – who performed at last year’s Auckland Live International Cabaret Season.

This time, the audience gets to choose the playlist during her performance! The show is all about classic music and why we love it so much. It will allow the audience to offer their random favourite songs, and express why they love certain tracks so much. Miss Frisky admitted: “It’s about getting to use me as a human jukebox and hear your favourites belted live, right in your face.”

When I asked her what she has lined up for the audience, she replied: “Really, it’s about what the audience have lined up for me! I genuinely do not know what I will be singing, it’s in the hands of the audience and I know we’ll all have a brilliant time together.”

After extensive research into interactive technologies, Miss Frisky and her team have decided that the audience will let them know their choice of songs by writing on a post-it note, and sticking it to their heads. Miss Frisky told me how incredibly efficient this method is, “and everyone looks suitably ridiculous, so I enjoy it,” she said. “I’ll then choose whichever songs I feel like singing. Bribes will be accepted.”

Along with the show, she’s super excited to be back in Auckland to visit Ponsonby’s food market, boutiques and brunch spots. She loves Karangahape Road’s vintage shops and the Wharf’s killer oysters and seafood. She also spoke very highly of Waiheke’s vineyards but will be looking for new adventures this year. She said: “All the best days out I’ve had, were suggested by Auckland locals, so write it on a post-it and stick it to your head, please.”

She is one of the biggest voices in cabaret and has performed all over the world, but she still gets nervous. She said: “What’s extra-nerve-racking about the show I’m doing here, is that I am totally in the audience’s hands. We will be making something unique every night, so comfort won’t really be coming into it! But the nerves are the thing that give you superpowers – I cannot wait to see what happens.”

Miss Frisky

Miss Frisky

Miss Frisky performs in Miss Frisky’s Karaoke Experience from Friday the 15th to Saturday the 16th of September at 8pm in Basement Theatre. Buy your tickets here.

After Auckland, Miss Frisky will fly back to London for a short time, before heading to Berlin to host a nightly dinner cabaret show, drink gluhwein and eat currywurst until March 2018.

She said: “I won’t be able to do more karaoke for a little while, so it’s going to be very very special doing these shows.”


humans of mac+mae: Claire Cowan

Hello, my name is Claire and I’m a composer and I’m writing a violin concerto. This is my piano which I compose it and it is my favourite and most precious possession in the world.

It is a Yamaha piano from a man who stripped back the whole thing, it was an old piano that we was used in a school and he stripped back the whole thing and replaced it with new strings so it sounds great inside and has new hammers.  You can see that was all scratched up and he sanded it all back and made it good as new.  It’s a beautiful honey colour. 

It is my number one tool that I use to do my job.  It sounds beautiful and I take it every place I go, I’ve moved it around all the different houses I’ve lived in and it makes great music.  This is where all the magic happens.

Claire Cowan has composed countless scores for film and theatre, but six years ago, she realised no one was playing the work of Estonian composer Avo Parte.  She and a friend took it upon themselves to change that and The Blackbird Ensemble was born.  The Blackbird Ensemble has a rotating cast who create theatrical musical experiences in unusual venues.  They aim to move you, groove you and improve your expectation of a ‘classical’ experience.

Blackbird Ensemble present ‘Dreams this Friday at Auckland’s Town Hall as part of the Auckland Live International Cabaret Season 28 Sept – 02 Oct.  

Inspired by the ‘Humans of New York’ series, we’re talking to our network find out what’s special to them, whether it’s a place, a thing, or a memory – Meet the “humans of mac+mae” –    http://bit.ly/HoMaM