The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

Preview: The Slutcracker

by librarykris on November 19, 2020 in Dance

The cast of The Slutcracker surround Jake Brown who is wearing a star-like crown and posing with hands crossed in front of him. They are all looking out at the viewer.

image credit Jason Aldous

From School For Gifted Children, and the creator of Change Your Own Life comes a new queer ballet for Christmas. Loosely based on the classic Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker, The Slutcracker tells the story of a queer chosen family Christmas gathering, and a romantic whirlwind night through the queer streets of Wellington.

Director Jean Sergent says “I was sitting in the BATS dressing room on the first day we went into level 1 after lockdown. I was completely alone, about to perform a live-stream of Change Your Own Life, and I suddenly thought, man, I am lonely in here without other actors!” The Slutcracker was Jean’s answer to that loneliness. In creating a show with a strong ensemble spirit, grounded in a desire to connect and have fun with other performers, Jean wanted to give people a chance to make theatre in 2020. “It was tough during lockdown for live artists. We had no idea if shows would be going ahead or not. Live artists depend on gigs to make a living, and so many of us saw so many of our jobs get cancelled or put on hold.

Multi-talented Brigid Costello is returning to Wellington to choreograph The Slutcracker, following four years as the company choreographer for the Pop Up Globe in Auckland. Having played Clara in The Nutcracker during her professional ballet career, Brigid is excited to queer the text and change the norms around who ballet is for. Fresh from a sell-out season of The Glitter Garden, composer Maxwell Apse will be arranging the original Tchaikovsky score to bring in modern beats and the sounds of the streets, clubs, and cafes of Wellington. The ensemble includes Dryw McArthur, Jake Brown, Andrew Patterson, Georgia Kellett, Felix Crossley-Pritchard, Shay Tanirau, and Sam Ropati.

Join Clyde, Joe, Mother Ginger, the Rat King, and the Sugar Plum Fairy as they explore the true meaning of Christmas – connection, love, joy, and community!

  • The Slutcracker, on at BATS Theatre* 24 November – 12 December 2020 (Get the Festive Upgrade for $40 to add a tasty tipple to your ticket and to give the artists involved a few more dollars!)

* Have a look at all the other shows BATS have to the end of the year. We’re so lucky that we can see our talented creators and performers in a shared theatre space.

image credit Jason Aldous


Preview: Ubu sux

by librarykris on November 13, 2020 in Uncategorised

Promotional image of the cast rioting in their theatre seatsIt’s citizen versus everything in this totally original, entirely reimagined adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s classic avant-garde satire Ubu Rex. Grotesque, ridiculous and deeply profound, this irreverent adaptation of Ubu Rex draws from a huge range of source material to amplify the messages from Jarry’s original narrative. The live show is multimedia in every respect, with Ubu Sux also being live-streamed to devices all over the world including this year’s Melbourne Fringe, one of a huge number of arts’ festivals to adapt to 2020’s restrictions on physical gatherings and embrace digital delivery.

Director Paula van Beek says that the Whitireia Stage & Screen students are loving the chance to explore working with technologies that look set to become commonplace in the future. “How we’re manipulated to hear, believe and pay attention to people in positions of power is at the heart of Ubu Sux. The show asks some hard questions about ‘the economy of influence’ and the effect it is having on young people all over the world. This new adaptation aims to dissolve some of the unconscious bias that’s templated into decisions about which stories get told. When I initially took a translation of Ubu Rex to the company, they articulated some really clear concerns about what it would mean to choose a play that gives a revolting character like Pa Ubu so much limelight. And that was a really exciting moment. Even though Jarry’s Ubu plays are satirical, the students pointed out that airtime is still airtime –  even if you are poking fun.  We decided to explore how Pa Ubu could be muted, side-lined or ignored to allow the other characters in the play to have a chance to speak and tell their stories. We wanted lots of different perspectives represented.

The cast and crew are excited to explore different points of view – not only of the characters but also of how audiences can see the work, whether that’s in the theatre, or through screen. van Beek says “We can’t wait to bring these new characters, new perspectives and brand-new original songs to life for other people. They could be in the room with us, at home watching online, or in the cinema at Te Auaha seeing the show beam in from next door to the big screen… we’ll know they’re there and feel the connection. I wonder how different their experiences will be?

  • Ubu sux on at Te Auaha, 17-19 November 2020


Promotional image for Girl in the loft

Girl in the loft is a solo show by Katherine Wyeth. It’s the story of a childhood growing up at The King’s Head Theatre, London.

My life began as a theatre kid growing up at the world-renowned King’s Head Theatre in London. I was lucky to experience a unique childhood growing up in the theatre… at each get-in watching it transformed from the chaos of sawdust and sequins to the new world of the next show…. climbing across the rooftops of London… torrid kisses backstage… waiting tables and slinging slops behind the bar.

This brand new play recounts the story of her childhood, weaving together the threads of memory, identity and legacy to explore myriad experiences, from growing up to migration, motherhood, losing loved ones, success and failure, and ultimately – self-acceptance. It combines lyrical dialogue, stunning sound & AV design, and a beloved songbook of musical theatre favourites.

This is a deeply personal story for me – but will also (I hope) be a compelling theatre experience filled with stories that will strike a chord with many people. It has taken several years of development to bring this story to life. I am grateful beyond measure to my extraordinary creative team who have stood by the project in these most uncertain times, lending their magnificent talents to realise my dreams for the show.

Performed by Katherine Wyeth, directed by Fingal Pollock with musical accompaniment by J. R. Ballantyne.


Promotional poster for Routine magic, magic routineRoutine magic – Will Aloysius abandon ritualistic powers acquired during his 10 year social isolation?

Magic routine – Can YouTube Influencer Ant Hill find sufficient inner harmony to open a life-changing envelope?

This pair of plays, utilising the same set and actors, tell two timely and compelling stories. Routine Magic, shortlisted for the Adam NZ Play Award in 2019, takes you on a  thought-provoking journey through what happens when Aloysius, who has developed extraordinary powers refuses to allow court-ordered psychologist Sarah inside his house. Magic Routine is a more humorous but still profound look at what happens when Celestial Spirit #108 visits YouTube sensation Ant Hill on the occasion of his 21st birthday bearing a magical envelope from his absent father.

The plays are performed by highly-acclaimed actors, Barnaby Olson and Rebecca Parker. Barnaby is a local Wellington creative who wrote and performed in the fantastic new work A Traveller’s Guide to Turkish Dogs, toured nationally with productions such as Anzac Eve, and An Awfully Big Adventure, and starred on screen in BURBSMissing Sunday, and Tragicomic.  Rebecca Parker has appeared in various productions in the Wellington Fringe Festival, the Court Theatre in Christchurch, BATS, and Circa Theatre, as well as shows for Stagecraft, Kidstuff, Kapitall Kids, Showbiz, Backyard Theatre and Fresh Dada.

Routine Magic-Magic Routine are written and directed by Dr Frances Steinberg. Despite Frances’ love of theatre extending across six decades, from her first director’s job organising the neighbours into a backyard performance of Peter Pan when she was 6 years old, through serving as choreographer and performer for the Martial Arts Theater Company in America in the 1980s, she spent the majority of her professional life as a psychologist, martial artist, acupuncturist, interactive learning designer, international presenter, and author of more than 12 professional books, 3 novels, 7 online guides, and an illustrated storybook.


More posts…

Review: The Human Voice (La Voix Humaine; NZO season)

by Sophie October 31, 2020

TW:  Suicide, overdose, trauma I reviewed a production of La Voix Humaine in February.  It’s been a strange wormhole of a year and it feels like a million years ago but also maybe yesterday that I was sitting in Suite Gallery, experiencing this piece for the first time.  Writing this review with the last one […]

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Lōemis Festival’s Harmonic Tree

by librarykris September 28, 2020

The Harmonic Tree is a new artwork / musical instrument resembling an exotic plant, with steel strings, percussive fruit and berries. Beneath the surface it houses an array of audio effects processors, all adjustable by tending to twigs, branches and other parts of the tree, enabling an operator to create electroacoustic soundscapes. The Harmonic Tree was […]

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Preview: New Zealand Improv Festival 2020

by librarykris September 24, 2020

Every year improvisers gather in Wellington to celebrate the New Zealand Improv Festival (NZIF), but this year improvisors from overseas have been COVID-19-blocked. Festival director Jennifer O’Sullivan says, “We have built the festival on a platform of collaboration and connection, reaching nationally and internationally and bringing together amazing talent and perspectives. Of course, the current […]

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Preview: The Glitter Garden

by librarykris September 22, 2020

The Glitter Garden is a drag musical extravaganza for kids featuring dazzling outfits and fierce lip syncing. Join Hugo the Gardener on Pride Parade as he attempts to embrace self-care, personal growth and planter boxes, all with the help of his glittering garden friends. Created by TVNZ’s ‘House of Drag’ winner Hugo Grrrl (George Fowler) […]

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Review: PLAY

by Emma Maguire September 5, 2020

It’s strange to be back in a place like BATS during times like these, but I’m very pleased I went along to see PLAY, a gay dating dramedy here from Auckland. It’s a play within a play, of a sort – the first twenty minutes or so being a form of a drawing-room comedy, then the show […]

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Review: PSA – Election 2020

by Emma Maguire August 27, 2020

Has it really been a year since I last reviewed an interation of Public Service Announcements? Apparently so. The political satire is back, mixing COVID, controversy, and Election Night into one wild and very timely show. Our actors take the stage with a parody of a well-known ABBA song, now rebranded as “MMP”. This trend of […]

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