Tag Archives: Silo Theatre

Been | HIR

Entwined with the mediocrity of middle-class America, yet with confronting and combative issues of gender play, war and the reality of domestic turmoil,  ‘HIR’ is a play with layers of colour and depth, it disrupts the status-quo whilst challenging the idea of the ‘nuclear family’.

Arlo Green, plays the disillusioned son returning from duty in war-torn Afghanistan ….  His experience with an array of broken soldiers, both physically and mentally, has left him yearning for some solace, yet upon returning home and being greeted by his incredibly fractured and disjointed family, the hopeful serviceman is left defeated.

NZ Theatre stalwart, Rima Te Wiata is at her most impressive, as the disparaging, cruel and at times thoroughly spiteful, matriarch Paige.  Supported equally at best, by her formerly abusive husband, however now reduced to a mere shell of former self – Arnold (Nathaniel Lees).

Adam Rohe, completes the dysfunctional family unit as the gender-transitioning Max, a sullen and impressionable teenager burdened by the sheer tyranny of his mother who reigns over the household,  while his depleted and despondent father now just lurks, an empty being.  All three characters; Issac, Arnold and Max;  exemplify the varying state and meaning of masculinity itself , as the emasculating Paige exercises her now wilted down person and cynical viewpoint upon them all …

Nathaniel Lees character,  Arnold is played to perfection.  His presence is observed, even through his many scenes that are without dialogue.   He never loses pace; as he stares vacant into the TV screen, absently eats fried chicken in a nightgown, and in the one last scene, completely loses all dignity (and continence) after a physical and mental showdown, one that is spurred on after a revelation of home truths.

The play’s setting echoes the decor of shows that mirror the lives of the struggling white middle-class/red-neck America and those with questionable education and boredom with mundanity of everyday life.  The series, ‘Roseanne’ springs to mind, with the well-worn sofa and makeshift crocheted throws.  Right down to the tacky fish-inspired stickers on the fridge and the weathered Venetian blinds; the set is convincing with it’s purposeful lack of class and ambience.

HIR, created by Taylor Mac – a remarkable individual, in the way they themselves perceive and carry out the idea of gender and convention, is directed by the detail orientated and insightful Sophie Roberts.  It is a poignant play that reflects our modern society and pushes us to feel the angst and chaos, through broken dreams and power struggles which befall this family, in particular; the now sadly disillusioned Issac.  As theirs is a reality that is not too implausible within our modern kith & kin …

HIR- with it’s harrowing and at times, deeply dispiriting subject matter, with notes of sardonic humour throughout,  is reminiscent of a Tennesse William’s tragedy, and is just as successful at drawing in and engaging with it’s audience.  However morose and jarring the effect may be.

HIR is part of the Silo Theatre and currently showing at the Herald Theatre:

*** Until 25th August

been | A Streetcar named Desire

Raw, gripping and confronting are strong adjectives that spring to mind upon reflection of the opening night of  “A streetcar named Desire”  –  a classic Tennessee Williams play set in post war New Orleans and produced by Silo Theatre’s Shane Bosher.

A classic tale of a fractured family dynamic, socio-economic struggles and raw sexuality whose themes are still so prevalent even 70 years after it’s first performance on Broadway.

It’s main protagonist’s; Blanche Dubois (Mia Blake), Stella (Morgana Riley) and her brooding beau Stanley (Ryan O’Kane) bring this Pulitzer Prize winning play to our local stages with such powerful and emotive performances, that really capture the true essence and messages that are pivotal to the play’s success in garnering the audience’s attention and encouraging a reflection upon our own relationships with our family and personal development.

Silo’s ‘A Streetcar named Desire’ is also very effective in the way it incorporates modern elements in it’s 1947 based play – with the use of contemporary communication devices; cordless phone, MacBook and costume choices and even a little snippet of the musical pleasure of Sade’.

I was also taken with it’s use of the stage setting intermingled with changes in scenes.  With activity from every angle giving the audience the sense of urgency, secrecy and communication between characters.   The lighting too, stage kept true to the original production with it’s moody and dusty illumination.

The character of Blanche DuBois – a sultry yet conceited and seemingly self-involved human was incredibly portrayed by Mia Blake, who really brought her to life and throughout the play, in turn, endearing the flawed Blanche to me, with such brazen protectiveness and love of her sister alongside her own tortured and wounded soul.

Morgana Riley’s passion was also so well received as the sweet, caring and utterly loyal Stella – it was a delight to see the genuine dedication and energy into her performance. even to the end which was clearly indicative through the emotion in her eyes.  As was Ryan O’Kane in the aggressive, brutish and sexually charged performance he brought to the Rangatira stage as Stanley Kowalksi.

The play too, would not have been without it’s incredible supporting cast, (Toni Potter, Nicole Whippy, Mark Ruka, Fasitua Amosa, Arlo Green Toni Potter). Vitally important to the engaging scenes set in the hot Southern summer of the US and inclusion of topics broaching upon issues still relevant to this day,  the idea of human evolution, domestic violence and even homosexuality – topics today that are mostly accepted, but at the time of it’s first introduction would have been widely controversial, and are now to Tennessee William’s credit and legacy; having brought such important human issues to life and which we are now free to openly discuss, however confronting and unsettling they may be to one’s senses …  “Sorrow makes for sincerity … ”

A ‘Streetcar named Desire’ was an incredible gift to the 2017 Season of Silo Theatre –  so dynamic and moving that brought true grit and emotion to the stage, and not without a tear to myself, my companion’s and I am sure, many other peoples eyes within the audience that evening.

(Photo credit: Andi Crown Photography & Silo Theatre)

Stanley Kowalksi

Stanley Kowalksi


Blanche Dubois

Blanche Dubois








One of the most celebrated plays of the twentieth century.” (The New York Times)

A Streetcar Named Desire is now showing at the Q-Theatre:

Thursday Aug 24 2017 – Saturday September 16







humans of mac+mae: Vanessa Kumar

Here is something that is important to me, and one reasons is because  being my grandpa bought it for me on one of our thrift store adventures in Miramar, Wellington at some point last year.  It’s a nice thing to remember him by, I carry it with me whoever I go, it stays in my luggage.  Sometimes I read it, sometimes I forget to.  Another reason it’s important to me is because some of the scriptures are very encouraging and help propel me into my day.  Some of the other scriptures are scary but we tend not to dwell on those ones.

1 Corinthian 13:4-8 is one of my favourites,  the last line is ‘love never fails’

Vanessa Kumar performs the role of Priya Sengupta in Silo Theatre’s ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ from 08 – 24 September at Q Theatre.  Buy tickets here.

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

been | The Book Of Everything

The Book Of Everything returns to the Auckland stage at Q Theatre after a successful run last year. It is an adaptation of a children’s book of the same name by Dutch Author Guus Kuijer. Author and playwright Richard Tulloch has done a fantastic job transforming the book into a play, celebrating the boundless power of imagination while providing a lesson about bravery in life. With superb direction by Sophie Roberts, The Book Of Everything is an entertaining theatrical experience to be sure.

been | MIDSUMMER [a play with songs]

Hailed as a love-song to Edinburgh written by David Greig and Gordon McIntyre MIDSUMMER is presented, by Silo Theatre, as a low-fi indie hit directed by Sophie Roberts. As promised there are no jazz-hands or high-kicks, replaced by two guitars and two actors; Dan Musgrove (as Bob) and Aidee Walker (as Helena) emit a certain chemistry that allows for both friction and good rapport. With a simple premise, two strangers who have nothing in common have a one night stand after a drunken night, under the impression that they’ll never see each other again and wind up spending a wildly hedonistic weekend in each others’ company, the production was a well-acted play with a few poignant moments from a romp of a romantic comedy.

You have to hand it to Mugrove and Walker who make the play what it is, showcasing their great chemistry and keen ability to engage the audience in what sometimes felt, at certain points when confronted by the actors, like a full frontal assault on the audience. The actors easily shift between their main roles and the minor characters they portray throughout the play, from Bob’s criminal and insane boss to Helena’s little nephew, both of which drew the most laughs from me.

The characters prove to be rather well-developed and three-dimensional, granted they begin as archetypes but in their self-deprecation Bob and Helena manage to develop into realistic human beings still learning a thing or two about life despite being rather jaded by it. Helena is trying to reconcile her ideals as a divorce attorney with the fact that she may be pregnant with the child of a married man, and Bob’s life is a huge mess that’s been downhill since peaking in high school. With a failed marriage, from which he had a son, under his belt and not much else going for him it’s a wonder this play is a comedy and not a tragedy. Well not really a wonder as only one person dies.

The story is narrated by the characters in third-person about each other, including the audience in the process- tearing that fourth wall down to seemingly make eye-contact with members of the audience, taking Polaroids during the performance and chucking them out at the audience as if allowing whoever gets a picture a memento of that particular scene and moment. Some scenes were high intensity, like the rather slap-stick awkward one night stand scene and the chase scene between Bob and his boss which made excellent use of ropes.

The songs have a very indie/folk feel to them, granted they’re very stripped down and bare-bones. To the point that I felt there needed to be more to them, lyrically. Sometimes it felt the songs, while sung and played very well, were rather simplistic to the point of  lacking in substance. Not that I don’t agree with the idea that ‘Love Will Break Your Heart’, or that Hangovers are rough but I do believe the play might have benefited from ‘The Song of Oblivion’, ‘Hangover’, ‘Japanese Rope Bondage’ and ‘The Song of Bob’s C*ck’ having just a little bit more to them. Granted the show markets itself as an anti-musical, the songs play an important part and would benefit from marrow.


While the play makes reference to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with the characters chasing ideals of themselves and others in their wild weekend, the play is grounded in a realistic, albeit hilariously depressing, take on single thirty-somethings trying to find meaning in life and love through realising that ‘change is possible’ even if once and a while ‘love will break your heart’.

Is it everyone’s cup of tea? Perhaps not. But should you give it a chance? Definitely.

Get your tickets here.

Playing at Q Loft from October 24 to November 23.

seen | Simply BREL-liant!

Silo Theatre has outdone itself again with its latest production – BREL – a musical tribute show to Jacques Brel. Brel a Belgian singer-songwriter wrote over 300 songs in his lifetime and is renowned for his poignant theatrical song style.

BREL transports you to a smokey 60’s jazz lounge where four regulars take turn telling you of their twisted tales of heartache. The four are Shihad’s Jon Toogood, Julia Deans of Fur Patrol fame, the statuesque timeless beauty Jennifer Ward-Lealand and the effortlessly melodic voice that is Tama Waipara.

The songs are sung in English and French and a superb song delivery by Ward-Lealand in Dutch. The cast will mesmerise you with their unique abilities – Toogood’s powerful vocals are electrifyingly passionate, Deans’ almost angelic high notes transcends you, Ward-Lealand’s power and command of the stage keeps you engaged and Waipara’s vocal acrobatics sends tingles to your very soul, all together a force to be reckoned with.

Definitely a great night out.

Silo theatre website

Buy tickets – 1st November – 24 November | Concert Chamber, Auckland Town Hall

A dinner party that spans the ages

Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls opened Last Friday at the Silo Theatre on Queen Street.  Fashionistas (namely the WORLD designers), TV personalities (Shortland Street’s finest) and the who’s who of the Auckland theatre scene were in full attendance. 

Think 1980s London. Shoulder pads, power dressing and Maggie Thatcher. This is The Corporation of Me.

The story goes…

High-flying Marlene has eviscerated the glass ceiling. She’s finally landed the top job and is taking the girls out to celebrate.

As the wine flows freely, so does the talk. Of the fickleness of men, the pleasures of sex, the price of achievement. This material girl may have made sacrifices while climbing the corporate ladder, but they’re all worth it, aren’t they?

Take the girls along and make a night of it: 23 February – 17 March | For tickets, click here

Monday and Tuesday at 7pm | Wednesday to Saturday at 8pm

Click here to be taken to Silo Theatre’s website.