Opening last night at Circa Theatre SolOTHELLO, is a riotous one man retelling of Shakespeare’s Othello. (An unofficial British Council representative described it as the first time he’s seen Othello  performed as standup comedy.) The mix of original text, Te Reo Māori, colloquial English, and stylised movement used by the four characters conveys the essence of the story. Outrageously funny scenes are balanced by the quieter ones with the ending being particularly powerful. Performer Regan Taylor has the audience in the palm of his hand the whole way through – especially when it looks as though he’s out of control. Outstanding.

Also opening this week was Tiki tour at BATS. Another great comedy solo performance in which Kura Forrester  plays six different characters who meet each other when they’re on a tiki tour of Europe.  Forrester does an excellent job of differentiating the characters with Bronson Atarangi (our main storyteller) and Zsuzanna (who doesn’t speak English and mainly communicates through smiling) being the two characters I’d like to see more of. It’s a little uneven with some of the scenes too long and some too short for my liking but is also full of laughs.

Continuing at BATS this week  is The Vultures.  This is the wordiest and most politically pointed of these three shows. It’s witty and amusing with beautiful costuming and a cool tilted set which the cast play around on. Led by fine performances by Awhina Rose Ashby and Carrie Green as sisters on opposite sides of the decision that has to be made about family land the rest of the cast (Hine Parata-Walker, Natano Keni, Tola Newberry) hold their own as the plot thickens around them. Scarily familiar to some in the audience with one jokingly wondering whether the characters had been based on members of their whānau.

Ka mau te wehi!