The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

What’s on this week?

by librarykris on September 18, 2017 in Theatre

Here’s a round up of what shows are on this week.

At Circa Theatre…

Anahera, on at Circa Theatre to 7 October 2017

A contemporary domestic thriller (in the style of Broadchurch) about a struggling kiwi family. Liz and Peter Hunter have it all. A great marriage, successful careers, a beautiful house and two wonderful children. Until their son Harry goes missing. Distraught, they wait for news from the police, supported by social worker Anahera. But as the hours pass and everyone is pushed beyond their limits, Anahera must make a stand. But is it already too late? Can Anahera save anyone?

A Doris Day special on at Circa Theatre to 14 October 2017

Ali Harper returns with her highly-acclaimed show A Doris Day Special. Doris Day, with her bubbly personality, lilting voice and blonde beauty, was America’s singing sweetheart of the silver screen during the 1950s and 1960s. With her hit songs Sentimental JourneySecret Love and Que Sera Sera, Day was for many years ranked as the #1 female box office star in the world. Directed by Stephanie McKellar-Smith with the Big Band Musical Direction by Rodger Fox, it’s 1971 and Doris is filming her Television Special. You are invited to be a part of A Doris Day Special television studio audience and celebrate the life and songs of that quintessential girl next door.


At BATS Theatre…

Me and My Sister Tell Each Other Everything on at BATS Theatre to 23 September 2017

A family-unfriendly play about sibling relationships set to song and hubris. Siblings relationships are a bond you share with those humans no one else can understand – you know EVERYTHING about each other, the good, the bad and the ugly (and the naked, drunk, stupid, sad and glorious).Please note:  Me and My Sister Tell Each Other Everything contains detailed discussion and graphic portrayal of suicide including blood. It also contains coarse language.

I, Will Jones, on at BATS Theatre, 19-23 September 2017

I, Will Jones is the third show from comedian and writer Eamonn Marra. It investigates the hypercompetitive, hypermasculine culture of New Zealand’s all-boys high schools. Directed by New Zealand Fringe Award-winning director Adam Goodall (Stand Up Love, Proficiency Test), I, Will Jones is a provocative and hilarious story from one of New Zealand’s most highly-regarded up-and-coming comedians about the people we are and the people we’d rather be.

“If you could be anyone in the world, who would you be? To Eamonn Marra, twelve years old, the answer is obvious: Will Jones, the coolest kid in intermediate. When Eamonn and Will end up at the same high school, both at the bottom of the heap, Eamonn gets a chance to live his dream – he strikes a deal with Will to switch lives, a couple of hours at a time, like the Animorphs in those books. Finally, Eamonn can be the person he wants to be, if only for a little bit… but what happens when that’s no longer enough?”

Playshop live at BATS Theatre, on Fridays

Fast, spontaneous comedy from nothing! They’re back and bigger than ever; with more thrills and spills in late-night comedy that’s uniquely PlayShop.  Be led by our charming actors through a night of fun, frivolity and feel-good vibes.

Brackets at BATS Theatre, monthly on Saturdays

A monthly smorgasbord of queer entertainment – everything from plays to podcasts to poetry slams.

All that’s best in queer performance, for and by the queer community. Brackets is our history told through performance – everything from plays to podcasts to poetry slams. We’re popping the lid on the dress-up box, dusting off our copies of Dykes to Watch Out For, and sitting at the feet of our favourite auntie to hear the stories she couldn’t tell us when we were younger.


On at the Hannah Playhouse…

The Wholehearted at the Hannah Playhouse 20-23 September 2017

An honest portrayal of the extreme power of love, The Wholehearted is a heart-warming devised theatre work that spans generations, genders and cultures. A mix of characters tenderly and humorously share with us their search for a wholehearted way of life, exploring what people do in the pursuit of love and how love changes us. Journeys of heartbreak, grief and loss are charmingly and vigorously transformed by the ensemble to the courage, compassion and joy that exists within each of us.



World of Wearableart Awards Show on at 21 September -8 October 2017

The World of WearableArt®, known as WOW®, is a renowned international design competition that attracts hundreds of entries from all over the world.


Review: That Bloody Woman

by librarykris on September 14, 2017 in Music, Theatre

Esther Stephens as Kate SheppardKate Sheppard, “the leading light of the New Zealand women’s suffrage movement” tells her story in this rock musical by Luke Di Somma and Gregory Cooper. Directed by Kip Chapman, (with Jennifer Ward-Lealand this season’s Rehearsal Director) the show is terrific.  All the elements of the best musicals are here – a well constructed dramatic arc, catchy and affecting songs, brilliant performers, backed up by strong design choices. One song I’m angry, the next I’m trying not to ugly cry, then I’m in tears from laughing.

The Gang Ensemble – Amy Straker, Phoebe Hurst, Cameron Douglas, Kyle Chuen – are energetic, fun, and use their voices well in the different songs styles. (It seems redundant to say they can sing, but WOW, they can sing. I appreciate that they get to be showcased individually as well as show off their terrific harmonies.) They’re on stage first as they set up for Kate Sheppard. There’s a lot of responsibility riding on performer Esther Stephens’ ability to connect with the audience. No worries though because she’s fantastic.  Her voice is clear and sparkling and she effectively shows us the emotional journey of her character. Geoffrey Dolan plays Richard Seddon, the visible villain in this piece. Blustery and pompous- he’s perfect. All of the singing cast are committed to the emotion of the show even when they’re dancing (wonderful musical choreography by Olivia Tennet.) They’re backed by a skilled band. Musical director Andy Manning is a bit hidden behind his keyboard while Tim Heeringa (guitar), Emma Hattaway (bass guitar) and Cameron Burnett are visible but not intrusive.

Costume designer Lisa Holmes dresses Stephens in pale clothes and elegant hair. Her costumes are often wonderfully textured and are linked to the style of the time. For the ensemble, their inspiration is punk styles – layers of denim with rips, and mesh, studs and straps. Richard Seddon is appropriately booted and suited…I’m not going to spoil what he wears for his first appearance. Original lighting designer Brendan Albrey set the foundation which Abby Clearwater has adapted  for the Opera House space. It keeps the focus where it’s needed while highlighting the excitement and drama of the show.

Kate Sheppard had radical ideas for her time that still resonate today. “All that separates, whether of race, class, creed, or sex, is inhuman, and must be overcome.” After the show I heard people talking about the petition and the election and the events of the show as real and immediate concerns. This is a testament to the cleverness and affect of the production.

I laughed, I cried, I cackled, I shouted. Marvelous.

You can get a discount by using the promo code: rockthevote (The discount is available to anyone and everyone who believes in equality – get in!)


Preview: Anahera

by librarykris on September 7, 2017 in Theatre

Anahera is the new play from Emma Kinane. Described as an “enthralling mix of an intense missing child drama and a behind-closed-doors look at New Zealand’s social services” it’s a contemporary domestic thriller about a struggling Kiwi family and how one woman making a stand could make all the difference. A finalist in last year’s Adam New Zealand Play Awards, it opens at Circa Theatre on Saturday. The team behind the show talked to us about it.

Anahera was given a 2-week workshop courtesy of Auckland Theatre Company’s The Next Stage initiative, and Katie Wolfe was the director who brilliantly helmed that workshop performance. When writer Emma Kinane decided to pitch the play to Circa, she asked Katie if she’d like to direct it again, and since then she has gathered a wonderful group of people – a real mix of Auckland and Wellington in the creative team working on Anahera. Jacqueline Nairn and Neill Rea will be familiar to audiences from their work on Shortland Street and The Brokenwood Mysteries, and they have brought their absolute A-games to the characters of Liz and Peter, whose child has gone missing. Wellington audiences will already know Neenah Dekkars-Reihana, Simon Leary and Susie Berry. This fantastic trio uprooted themselves to rehearse the play in Auckland last month and now they’ve welcomed the Auckland contingent back here, and our team now also includes Auckland-based Mark McIntyre who has designed a starkly evocative set, stunningly lit by Lisa Maule, and operated by Bonnie Judkins.”

Playwright Emma Kinane continues: “Anahera was inspired by my daughter Claire’s teenage rage over a school project. She ranted that statistics tell one story, but the media presents us with a totally different, false stereotype. An idea started to form in my mind, but it took a long time to come into focus. And once I started the play, I tried really hard to stop writing it – about five times. The more I got into the subject matter, the more I wanted to chuck it in and write a comedy about fluffy bunnies, but Anahera kept calling and wouldn’t let me give up on her. Each time I tried to walk away, Anahera the play took a stand and made me keep writing, just as Anahera the character takes a stand for the Hunters.”

I set this play in two different time periods because the show is aimed at parents of children, but also at the children who then become parents, or who are likely to become parents. Everyone has been a child, and most of us go on to be parents. Ideally the audience will relate to characters in both time settings – the children and then the adults (and parents) they become. The conversations that I hope will spring up around this play concern all of us.”

 “I would love to hear that the audience are engaging in intense, wonderful, soul-searching conversations in the bar after the show. I think people will be moved by the events in the play, but I’m also hoping that they will take a moment to peer under the surface, to check their own actions and assumptions in their own lives and relationships. I have deliberately not answered many of the questions that are raised by the subject matter, because I want people to have those conversations after the show. I hope they leave the theatre with questions and a sense of recognition and a desire to effect change.”

  • Anahera, on at Circa Theatre 9 September – 7 October 2017

A perfect life, a perfect secret.

We’re all hiding something.

Liz and Peter Hunter have it all. A great marriage, successful careers, a beautiful house and two wonderful children.

Until their son Harry goes missing.

Distraught, they wait for news from the police, supported by social worker Anahera. As the hours pass and everyone is pushed beyond their limits, Anahera must make a stand. But is it already too late? Can Anahera save anyone?




Review: The Pickle King

by Steph on September 4, 2017 in Theatre, Uncategorised

The Pickle King is on now at the Hannah Playhouse and is a colourful, quirky and unique tale of love, death and what is worth preserving.

Once the finest hotel in town, the Empire is now as faded as the dreams of the piano player who haunts the lobby. Ammachy runs the Empire with an iron fist and has one big problem, her niece is blind and she will not be married. Sasha knows she must not marry because she is curse – everything she loves dies. Jeena is a heart surgeon. However, as a recent arrival from India the only work she can find is as a night porter in the Empire.

The masked performers who set the scene and book-ended the play were unique and portrayed emotion effectively.  For me, Vanessa Kumar when playing Ammachy was a standout character as well as Andrew Ford who played the Pickle King and brought high energy to his performance. However, I found the romance between Jeena and Sasha to be a hard sell – I didn’t see the connection or chemistry between them.

The masks, costumes, creative use of the set, and versatility of the performers were all exceptional and makes the whole show very appealing to the senses. Speaking of, the talented pianist made for an interesting dynamic with this musical abilities – it was also a cool touch that he was a ‘straight man character’ for the comedians to play off.

The show is very fringey… which of course makes sense considering it won the ‘Fringe First Award’ in 2003 at the Edinburgh Fringe (one of many awards the show has won since first performed in 2002).

Overall the show was very enjoyable! It’s on until 9 September – book your tickets today!


More posts…

Preview: The Wholehearted

by librarykris August 31, 2017

Massive Company is bringing The Wholehearted to Wellington in September. An honest portrayal of the extreme power of love, it was developed through conversations with their local community, asking them to share their personal stories of affection and dedication. The result is a heart-warming devised theatre work that spans generations, genders and cultures. Massive Company’s […]

0 comments Read the full article →

In which we solve all traffic problems forever

by Joanna August 21, 2017

In purely coincidental timing just before an election, the National Party is handing out new roads in an Oprah-like fashion. You get a road, and you get a road and YOU get a road. How we’re going to get a couple of billion dollars of new roads out of a budget full of holes for […]

Read the full article →

Project Glow on the Runway

by Alan August 17, 2017

A few weeks ago we previewed the garments and accessories created for Project Glow, a fashion competition for reflective gear. Last Saturday evening we attended the Wellington show (the Auckland show is on Saturday 26th, tickets here). Right now it’s hard to compete with all those luscious burger photos here on The Wellingtonista, so we think we […]

Read the full article →

WOAP 17: Concrete, Glasshouse, Hillside

by Joanna August 16, 2017

How are we all going with Wellington on a Plate then? As we tweeted today, there’s no less than three alternatives to the official site in order to help you navigate your way to a burger (One, two, three). Maybe they’ll be incorporated next year? In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been eating Lock Stock […]

Read the full article →

WOAP 17: wine and whisky

by Joanna August 15, 2017

It’s day five of this year’s Wellington on a Plate and the city seems to be buzzing. So let’s get down to it. Here’s two events I went to on Saturday. Tapas & Tastings with Matahiwi Wines at Avida Bar Woodfire & Whisky at Sterling Tapas & Tastings I wrote about this last year, which maybe […]

Read the full article →

Bike share comes to Wellington

by Alan August 15, 2017

Around town in the last few weeks you may have noticed some small black and green bikes with signage on them. These turn out to have been set free on the town by Mighty Share (a.k.a. MTShare), Wellington’s (if not New Zealand’s) first dockless bike sharing scheme. These kinds of bike-sharing schemes have gotten very […]

Read the full article →