Showing posts from 2015

Jason Kerrison's talent for survival

Jason Kerrison made a calculated risk before putting himself in the public eye. If attention was what he wanted, he surely got it. The singer and guitarist created his own maelstrom by announcing plans to build an "ark" in preparation of the end of the Mayan calendar year. Anticipated by doomsdayers as the end of the world, December 21, 2012 rolled past without a glitch. A year on, Kerrison's views remain largely unchanged. "I absolutely stand by those beliefs I had then," says the frontman of rock-pop outfit OpShop and founder of funk-groove band The Babysitters Circus. "The whole concept of it being the end of the world . . . I never said that. What I did say was it's the end of time, that's an entirely different thing. It's the end of the calendar and the start of a whole new sequence. "The Gregorian calendar will catch up one day." OpShop's hugely successful 2011 album was titled Until the End of Time, hinting of

AotearoHA: Rising Stars

Stereotypes are being pulled apart, thrown around and stuck back together by the next generation of the Kiwi comedy circuit. Young, gays, women and ethnic minorities are carved up on stage in a domain traditionally filled with white men. The 14 freshly-minted comedians who perform in Takapuna's Bruce Mason Centre have a lot going on and often, some strong messages to share. Singing duo Fan Brigade sure have a lot to say – well, sing about. Their song ‘It's Great to Be a Woman' tackles tough issues like rape and domestic abuse in a way that is still light-hearted and witty, which is no mean feat. And they manage it all while giggling and strumming a ukulele.  They do it better than TV3's Funny Girls writer and actor Laura Daniel, whose wry humour is at times lost on the audience. The point the Billy T Award nominee is lamenting on ‘not wanting a wedding' is a bit laboured, but she redeems herself with a cute staged proposal involving a bottle of mouthwash.

Review: Social Climbers - LOLs and Fuzzies

“I come away for four days and I still get the wet patch.” Yep, there is plenty of sex chatter to be had when six gal pals head off for a weekend tramp in Roger Hall's Social Climbers. It may have been written by a man, but you wouldn't know it by watching his recognisable characters play out on stage at the PumpHouse Theatre in Takapuna. There is plenty of girl power in the between-scenes song choices alone, from Tina Turner to Beyonce. The stand out performer though has to be Louise Wallace, whose brazen character Maxine creates a stir as soon as she enters the stage. Her teasing, spewing and ‘histrionics' are a welcome bit of mischief in the mix of slow-burning character and relationship development around her. Maxine is joined by her well-cast teaching colleagues played by Lisa Chappell (of McLeod's Daughters fame), Darien Takle, Michaela Rooney and Michelle Leuthart. The colleagues, along with a reluctantly accompanying daughter (played by Donna Brookbanks), end

My Son, My Hopes, My Fears

I was overcome with ecstasy at what I had birthed and yet my new found confidence was crumbling as the question dawned on me, would I be enough? It's been a year since I really wrote anything. For eight years I pushed out words, hour after hour, day after day, my world not caring whether my creativity flowed freely or not. Carving out new angles, splicing pithy phrases, I honed my craft. Then came my greatest ever creation and the enormity of this masterpiece snatched every ounce of my focus. August Lotter Kotuku. For once, words evaded me. How could I begin to translate the tide of emotions which overwhelmed me? As one predecessor so aptly wrote, it was though all my hopes and all my fears were suddenly in front of me. So greatly desired, this tiny picture of perfection awed me, his vulnerability ensnared me and his innocence frightened me. Who was I to carry this precious gift, this gargantuan responsibility? I was overcome with ecstasy at what I had birthed and

Review: Band of Magicians

James Galea, Adam Mada, Ben Hanlin and Brett Loudermilk How well do you trust your partner? Your daughter? Your brother's best friend? How about that guy three rows ahead of you, slightly to the left? Thanks to the mind-taunting stunts of the fabulous four that are the Band of Magicians, you will be eyeing everyone up with suspicion as you try and work out who's in on the act. Surely some audience members have been prepped to play into the hands of these clever tricksters. It's the only explanation for how the four could know the activity, place and famous person that three audience members were collectively thinking of. It's the only reason for British magician Ben Hanlin knowing which number one chosen audience member was thinking of. And how he managed to create a mind-blowing number of mathematical equations to match that answer – 73. Interestingly enough, my husband had that same number in his head. Was the audience lead into guessing that nu

Review: Waiting for Godot

"Nothing happens. Nobody comes and nobody goes." This pretty much summed up my experience of Waiting for Godot, the classic French and English tragicomedy adapted by Shoreside Theatre. A millennial child, I visit the theatre to gasp at a murder mystery, giggle at slapstick or marvel at a polished soliloquy. Rarely do I find politics or philosophy entertaining as much as I do disturbing or even boring. So the idea of an absurdist fiction that lamented on the purpose, or more to the point of this play, the purposelessness of life, sounded somewhat dreary and depressing. But for some reason I decided to give this 1940's Samuel Beckett play a go. Sitting in The PumpHouse's chilly new Coal Bunker Studio space, I'm actually glad I did. "Do you find it tedious? "I have been better entertained." One hour into watching two old men nattering about nothing, I admit I wanted to make a run for it. It wasn't the fault of the protagonist actors, Tr

Review: Go Back for Murder at PumpHouse Theatre

Living in a house full of women is enough to send any man off his chump. So says Amyas Crale, the victim in the classic whodunit, Go Back for Murder. I appreciated the Shoreside Theatre's adaptation, full of saucy cheek and innuendo. It started with the flirtations of a suave solicitor and his client and ended with the indiscretions between a would-be victim and his mistress. It's wartime Britain and an M.I.5 solicitor has been employed by Crale's daughter Carla to piece together her father's final moments in 1927. The victim's wife Caroline was sent to prison for poisoning him but Carla has received a letter claiming her mother's innocence. Carla's rounded up the witnesses, her father's mistress included, to step back in time and relive his last moments to try and identify the real killer. The stand-out of this production, for me, was the casting. The accents were near flawless, the male characters were physical