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REVIEW: An Ideal Husband, Hutt Repertory Theatre, Lower Hutt. On until 14 July 2011

An Ideal Husband
Written 1895 By Oscar Wilde
Performed by Hutt Repertory Theatre (
Directed by Ewen Coleman
Venue: Theatre 108, 108 Oxford Tce, Epuni, Lower Hutt
On until: 14 July 2012
Review date: 05 July 2012
Reviewed by David Murray for Review Community Theatre

The challenge for me tonight was to travel out by train to Epuni Lower Hutt, see Hutt Repertory Theatre's production of An Ideal Husband, get back to The City – also by train, and write this review.

Hutt Repertory's “Theatre 108” venue is very handy to the Epuni railway station – in fact visible from the platform, and this made it easy for me to find the place. Because it is somewhat tucked away behind a set of shops I found it helpful that I had visited their website ahead of time and had seen a photo of what their Theatre 108 looked like.

With Ewen Coleman as the director, given that he was the adjudicator for last year's full length play competition I was expecting reasonably good production values, altho' this is the first play by Hutt Repertory that I have seen and the first time I've seen a performance of this play.
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REVIEW: The Wife Who Spoke Japanese In Her Sleep, Stagecraft Theatre, Wellington. On until 31 March 2011

The Wife Who Spoke Japanese In Her Sleep
Written by Vivienne Plumb
Performed by Stagecraft Theatre, Wellington
Sound Design: Don Blackmore and Shannon Tubman
Lighting Design: Darryn Woods
Multimedia Design: Blue House Productions
Venue: The Gryphon Theatre, Ghuznee St, Wellington
Season: 21-31 March 2012
Review date: 24 March 2012
Reviewed by David Murray

While my intention is to write this review as objectively as I can – just like I have done for all reviews I've written so far – I have to say up front that I am a member of Stagecraft Theatre and many of the cast and crew of this excellent production I know and respect and have worked with in the past.

On the face of it The Wife Who Spoke Japanese In Her Sleep is a well-crafted and quirky comedy that deals with the increasing amount of Asian migrants living in Auckland, and New Zealand generally, and the prejudice and insecurity that many in New Zealand show when challenged with ideas and customs from other cultures – especially when people close to them start to change as a result of the new influences.

The preset on stage as the audience was admitted to the auditorium consisted of a circular cyclorama with a wallpaper image projected onto it, and a bed with two actors already in it.

For me this production was the first time I've seen Christine Hunt and Stephen Fearnley on stage in major roles. Based on what I saw on stage, they were the perfect choice for this production with each giving effortless confident performances as Honey Tarbox (Hunt) initially a shy timid insecure housewife, and Howard Tarbox (Fearnley) a very protective, blinkered, recently-retired husband with a passion for gardening – especially yucca plants.
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REVIEW: Loser, Whitireia Applied Arts Students, Bats Theatre, Wellington. March 2012

Loser – Which one were you?
Written by Thomas Sainsbury
Performed by Whitireia Bachelor of Applied Arts Students
Directed by Richard Finn
Venue: Bats Theatre
Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes (no interval)
Season: 20-24 March 2012 (performances start 6:30pm)
Review date: 20 March
Reviewed by David Murray

I can't say this was a great production of a great play, but, over-all, Loser is an entertaining and engaging black comedy that explores different types of personal dysfunction that can cause a person to spiral down the social heap.

It does so by presenting six ex high school students building up to, during, and after the Glenwood High School's ten year reunion. Each of the six students is a loser in one way or another – some more obvious than others.
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REVIEW: Echolalia, Kallo Collective, Gryphon Theatre, Wellington. February 2012

Echolalia, a theatre clown show
Created and performed by: Jen McArthur
Production Company: Kallo Collective
Directed by: Jo Randerson, Thom Monckton, Mel Hamilton, Sampo Kurppa, and Fraser Hooper
Set Design: Tom Whiteford
Costume Design: Tauko, Helsinki Finland
Technical Support: Lydia Easter
Venue: The Gryphon Theatre, Ghuznee St, Wellington.
Performance duration: Short – approx 35 minutes only.
Review Date: 2012-02-27 at 7pm
Reviewed by: David Murray

“The automatic repetition of vocalizations made by another person.” is the definition given by (

The Kallo Collective on their website sees McArthur's “Echolalia” as attempting “a difficult feat - to show through the magic of clown theatre... to investigate the question - what does the world feel like for someone with autism?”

Without knowing the above definitions I would imagine that few in the audience would have had any clue that this was the goal McArthur was attempting to achieve.

Despite the fundamental inability of this play to communicate this question without recourse to a thank-you note in the printed program, what transpires on stage is a confidently executed series of large-gestured highly repetitive scenes that show us the daily routine of Echo, a clown-like character (but without clown makeup) facing the challenge of going to three WINZ-organised job interviews all of which take place in the scary unfamiliar world of people, and places outside of the familiar and static surroundings of her home and the things within it.
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REVIEW: Confessions, Fractious Tash, Gryphon Theatre, Wellington. February 2012

Written and Directed by: Benjamin Henson
Performed by: Fractious Tash (Featuring Verginia Frankovich, Daryl Wrightson, Jordan Blaikie, Phoebe Mason, and Helen Sheehan)
Lighting and Sound Design: Joe Newman
Choreography: Kerry Stimpson
Costume Design: Jess Murphy
Venue: The Gryphon Theatre, Ghuznee St, Wellington
Season: 23-25 and 27-29 Feb 2012 at 9:30pm
Review date: 27 Feb 2012

Clever, pushing boundaries, confident performances from all cast members. Confessions is, perhaps, best summarised as five tragic monologues with glue in between that avoids too much realism by the clever addition of a little b-grade-film camp.

Verginia Frankovich, Daryl Wrightson, Jordan Blaikie, Phoebe Mason, and Helen Sheehan each in turn portray a character recounting a present tense narrative of something truly sick from their past. Each with varying degrees of success manages to mine their particular shocking story for comedic value before segueing into a “bridge” of sorts that sets up the next monologue. Each of the monologues unfortunately seemed to struggle to come to a conclusion and perhaps could benefit from being edited shorter.
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SPECIAL REVIEW: In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play, Stagecraft Theatre, Wellington. September 2011

SPECIAL REVIEW: In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play, Stagecraft Theatre, Wellington. September 2011
Performed by Stagecraft Theatre, Wellington
Directed by Rob Ormsby
Season: until 17 September 2011
Reviewed by: Ewen Coleman

It is late Victorian England and the lights are going on all over country; Edison has just discovered electricity. But the age of enlightenment has yet to reach the citizens, especially with regard to the marriage bed and repression and male dominance is still rampant. As a result female “hysteria” is on the increase (it also occurs on occasions in men too!). But with the introduction of electricity a doctor thinks he has invented the perfect cure, the vibrator.

And thus arises the sub-title of Sarah Ruhl’s fascinating, funny and quirky play In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play that covers a myriad of themes including love, marriage, sexuality, wet nursing and much more.

Dr Givings (Geoff Simmons) sets up his contraption in his operating room while his wife Catherine (Emma Smith) languishes in the room next door. Aided by his clinically efficient nurse Annie (Venetia Verner), Dr Givings is far more interested in administering to his patients than administering to the needs of his wife.
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REVIEW: The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, reviewed by Tanya Piejus

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice
Written By Jim Cartwright
Performed by Stagecraft Theatre, Wellington
Directed by Mark Da Vanzo
Venue: The Gryphon Theatre
Season: 6-16 July 2011
Reviewed by Tanya Piejus

The story of Little Voice became world famous in 1998 when it was made into a film starring Jane Horrocks. However, Horrocks was reprising her original role in Sam Mendes’ 1992 production of Jim Cartwright’s less well-known “Northern Fairytale” of a play on which the film was based.

The play tells the story of a shy, reclusive girl named Little Voice and her loud and out-of-control mother, Mari. Desperately missing her dead father, LV as she is known, spends her time locked in her bedroom listening to his old record collection and perfecting astonishing impersonations of famous divas, including Shirley Bassey, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and Dusty Springfield.
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Oleanna, reviewed by Tanya Piejus

Oleanna by David Mamet
Performed by Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe
Directed by John Marwick
Venue: Muritai School Hall
Season: 23-25 June, 30 June and 1,2 July at 8 pm, doors from 7.30 pm
Reviewed by Tanya Piejus

Given the hoo-ha raised this week over Alasdair Thompson’s inappropriate comments about ‘women’s sick problems’ once a month, it’s apposite that Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe is performing David Mamet’s controversial treatise on old-school male power versus radical feminism.

Mamet’s controversial script is based on the real-life case in the US of Anita Hill who alleged her supervisor Clarence Thomas had made provocative and harassing sexual statements while she was a student.
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SPECIAL REVIEW: That Face, Stagecraft Theatre, Wellington. April 2011

SPECIAL REVIEW: That Face, Stagecraft Theatre, Wellington. April 2011
Performed by Stagecraft Theatre, Wellington
Directed by Iona Anderson
Season: 6-16 April 2011
Reviewed by: Ewen Coleman
Review Date: 13 April 2011

Dysfunctional families appear to be in vogue at the moment as subject matter for plays but few can be as dysfunctional as that of Martha and Hugh and their children in Polly Stenhams’s play That Face.

Hugh (John Chalmers) has decided to opt out of this well-to-do middle class family and is now living in Hong Kong with a new wife. He has put his rebellious daughter Mia (Annabel Harris) into a posh boarding school, pays for his son Henry (Dan Connolly) to attend art school and checks his pill-popping, alcoholic wife Martha (Petra Donnison) into a clinic.
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Review: All the jokes, songs and twists alive in Spamalot (2009)

Given the up coming production of Spamalot by Showbiz Christchurch in April 2011 I thought that you might want to read a review of the New Zealand Premiere Performance of Spamalot as performed by the Manawatu Theatre Society in 2009.

By Monty Python.
Performed by the Manawatu Theatre Society
Directed by Scott Andrew.
Reviewed by LEE MATTHEWS (Manawatu Standard)
Review Date: 20/11/2009

What, as King Arthur comments, an eccentric performance! And what a great show.

Cast and crew of the Manawatu Theatre Society pulled out all the stops last night with the New Zealand premiere of Monty Python's Spamalot.