The actor playing Hamlet is suffering a crisis of confidence. Is the play as he remembers? Macbeth drops in to chivvy him along. Then Othello and King Lear give it a go as well.
This solo show sees Michael Hurst display his skill at delivering Shakespeare along with hilariously physical stage combat moves. (Some of them looked a bit dangerous – tumbling around the stage, knocking over the props.) Although the character Hamlet is ostensibly the focus, it’s Macbeth who steals the show. Wee cocky Macbeth all bluster and charm. Part of it is the accent, most of it is Hurst having fun.
A great round yellow rug neatly defines the room on stage (designer John Verryt). Combined with an old armchair and a couple of tiny tables it captures the depressing atmosphere of a lonely flat. It contrasts nicely with the costume the actor wears – an elaborately decorated doublet, puffy breeches, tights, and lovely shoes with ribbon ties. (Costume designer Lesley Burkes-Harding.)
People who know their Shakespeare will like this (as long as they don’t mind Shakespeare being messed with). The rest of us will enjoy it, but we’ll have the sneaking suspicion that we’re not quite in on the joke.
Speaking as someone whose taste for adventure doesn’t stretch much further than going to the dairy in the rain, the reckless self-endangerment represented by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg’s Kon-Tiki was a genuine eye-opener. The bones of the story are well-known enough to anyone who built balsa models of Heyerdahl’s raft at primary school in the 1970s but bear repeating here.
While researching native Tahitians in the late 1940s, Norwegian ethno-explorer Thor Heyerdahl posited a theory that the islands of Polynesia had originally been settled by sailors from South America (actually, bearing in mind the technology of the time they would have been more like the drifters from South America, but hey). Unable to persuade anyone in the scientific community, he was forced to experiment on himself. He went to Peru, built a raft, crewed it with other northern European adventurers and set off to find Polynesia.
With little or no experience, training or even aptitude, it was a giant leap of faith – Thor’s faith. Unable to steer, threatened by sharks and – for most of the time – without radio contact, it was a completely potty idea but an idea that transformed our knowledge of human development and changed history.
If you know who I’m talking about, I have now ruined Kon-Tiki for you. Sorry.
In Rønning and Sandberg’s film, Heyerdahl comes across as an obsessive and extremely difficult man, but the way they portray the adventure it becomes clear that there was really no other way. Heyerdahl’s faith wasn’t a million miles away from the totally blind faith of the first explorers who set out from Peru all those centuries ago. That obsession is also shared by the filmmakers who insisted on using a replica ocean-going raft (incidentally named Tangaroa) built by Heyerdahl’s grandson, and then chose to shoot on the open sea rather than in a tank.
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You know the drill. You go to the same bar every week and pay tons for booze, and have to deal with a loud crowd who are just there to be seen and who talk through the music you’ve paid to see, and you just think “ugh! I hate this, it’s all the same and it’s crap”. Well hopefully Sarah Smythe and Thomasin Sleigh have the solution for you.
The pair have teamed up to produce a series of gigs are taking place in old halls around Wellington throughout 2013, going by the name Old Hall Gigs.
“Old Hall Gigs was created because we were dreaming of non-rowdy places to listen to our favourite bands. It is a roving series of events taking place in halls around Wellington. The events will allow for close listening and attentive watching.
Each Old Hall Gig will include readings from local writers (thanks to Hue & Cry), work by visual artists, and contemporary dance. There will also be performances by solo musicians and bands from unexpected genres. Whilst the title of the series implies music events, we enjoy a lot of different types of art, so each evening will be a carefully callibrated couple of hours of visual and aural activity.
Old Hall Gigs hopes to reinvigorate some of the community halls around Wellington and to encourage each local community to take part and share these events with their families and neighbours.
The first event will take place on Saturday 18 May at the elegant Vogelmorn Hall in Brooklyn.
The line up for the night includes the beautiful music of Wellington-based duo Glass Vaults, a sculptural installation by the artist collective of Sarah Hudson, Bridget Reweti, Terri Te Tau, and Erena Baker, readings by bright young poets Lee Posna and Hera Lindsay Bird, and a solo violin piece by composer Tristan Carter. Also: it’s BYO – bring your own cup as well.
The 2009 Star Trek reboot went into production on the eve of the writers’ strike and therefore had no right to be as entertaining – or to make as much sense – as it did. In fact, it was so successful that it has become the gold standard of dormant franchise resuscitation and I’m hoping that the lessons – what to honour, what to ignore, the mix of knowing humour and state-of-the-art action – are taken on board by the forthcoming Superman blockbuster Man of Steel.
A re-watch of Star Trek on Wednesday night confirmed my thoughts from the original review. It worked so well, on so many levels, that by the end I was eagerly anticipating my Friday night reunion with Christopher Pine‘s Kirk, Zachary Quinto‘s Hot Spock, etc. So, it is with a heavy heart then, that I have to report feeling let down by Star Trek Into Darkness. Everything seems a lot more self-conscious than before, as if the filmmakers have just realised that there are a squillion people watching and they’d better not make a mess of things. Which usually means that’s exactly what happens.
Not long after the Federation has been saved in the first film, our heroes are out exploring the galaxy, getting into trouble. As punishment for violating the Prime Directive (and incomplete paperwork), Kirk is relived of the Enterprise command but before he has time to properly lick his wounds, a terrorist bombs Starfleet’s London office and threatens to kick off an intergalactic (intra-galactic?) war with the Klingons.
dying is easy – comedy is hard
It’s the execution that disappoints this time around. The humour feels a bit heavy-handed, the attempts to incorporate beloved elements from the Original Series are clunky and the action is repetitive – there are several last second rescues, for example, and at least two of them involve actual on-screen countdowns. I can’t say more for fear of spoilers but – suffice to say – Star Trek Into Darkness
is only a B minus while its predecessor merited an A.
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