#RWC11 is prompting an abundance of New Zealand theatre. The plays cover NZ history, politics, and travel.

On at Downstage is On the Upside-Down of the World by Arthur Meek. It’s based on ‘Our Maoris’ by Ann Martin. She came to New Zealand from England with the first Chief Justice. The play follows her as she adapts to life in the wilds of early Auckland. I saw it last year when it was performed as a semi-staged reading for ATC. Laurel Devenie was luminous as Ann and all reports I’ve heard suggest she is even better in a fully realised production. Until 10 September.

On at BATS Theatre in the early evening is Slouching toward Bethlehem the “true story of New Zealand’s most evil prime minister ever!” (I saw it last night. My impressions – it’s a busy play, vicious and sympathetic at the same time. Good script, good cast.) Until 10 September. Late night at BATS is political satire Public Service Announcements. There are three shows performed over six weekends. Until 8 October.

Opening at Circa tonight is Four Flat Whites in Italy. “Two typical Kiwi couples take off on an Italian trip of a life-time.”  (There is an audio described performance on 5 October at 2pm.) Until 7 October.  Opening next Wednesday is I, George Nepia, most famous for being an All Black in the Invincibles team.  He sounds like an interesting man who lived a full life. Until 16 September.

(Opening at BATS Theatre next Tuesday with the middle timeslot is Sketch. It’s a New Zealand play dealing with controversy over art (my very reductive description based on the play synopsis.) Until 17 September.)