Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Category: Reviews – Music Theatre

Circa rumbles and dances with Roger Hall’s Jack and the Beanstalk

By , 22/11/2016
Pantomime is surely one of the most life-enhancing experiences theatre can offer, and Circa Theatre’s current Jack and the Beanstalk production ticks all the boxes that matter in the genre – it wasn’t long after the show’s beginning before the harshest, most vocal critics in the audience were soon caught up in it all, making manifest their involvement in the tale’s twists and turns, to the added delight, I... read more

Ali Harper – Legendary Diva at Circa Theatre

By , 27/07/2016
I came away from singer Ali Harper’s and musical director Michael Nicholas Williams' “Legendary Divas” opening night presentation at Circa Theatre feeling as though I had been seduced in the nicest and yet most whirlwind kind of way – Ali Harper’s all-encompassing stage personality, supported by her own and her pianist Michael Nicholas Williams' consummate musicality throughout, simply took me over for the duration. To bend a clichéd but... read more

Wellington G&S with another hit in funny, well-sung The Gondoliers

By , 19/09/2015
G&S goes on and on. Hard to think of another composer whose music in a certain genre has acquired such a single-minded following from so many, and of those, one suspects, some don’t particularly enjoy any other kind of opera or musical theatre, or even any other kind of classical music. Offenbach has no comparable cult status in France; nor Lehár or Kálmán in Austria; nor any one composer... read more

Circa Theatre’s “Dead Tragic” a life-enhancing experience

By , 22/11/2014
That old wizard of stage and screen, Noel Coward, was right when he famously quipped, "….how extraordinarily POTENT cheap music is……" - that is, if the response of the "half-century-onwards" hearts that were pumping and pulsating throughout Circa Theatre's startlingly in-your-face "Dead Tragic" collection of truly-and-tragically-dreadful 1970s songs was anything to go by. In fact that opening sentence gives you an idea of some of the convolutions of the lyrics... read more

High Mountain Flowing Water – theatre, poetry and music

By , 22/10/2014
Encounters with exotic art-forms and performance-styles which are unfamiliar can have profound consequences - one thinks, for instance of the effect upon the composer Claude Debussy of the Paris International Exhibition of 1889 with its displays of art and music from places like Java, in particular the sounds made by the gamelan orchestra. Earlier the prints of Japanese artists such as Hokusai had reached Europe and inspired a whole... read more

Ancient Mariner Rime watered-down, though stunning to look at

By , 09/03/2014
This was an evening which, on the face of things, promised much, with a presentation that, right from the outset, looked terrific, but then didn’t go on to adequately develop the musical and contextual possibilities afforded by these arresting visual images. I’d not seen but had heard about the group’s previous appearance at the New Zealand Festival in 2000 with the anarchic musical Shockheaded Peter, and so was looking... read more

Festival opera Ainadamar semi-staged but powerful, strongly cast and magnificently performed

By , 02/03/2014
In spite of the many attempts by composers of the present day to use contemporary issues and events as subjects for opera, few have survived more than an opening season of performances.  For by determining to display a command of the concepts and fashions that musical academia has developed and made de rigueur for a composer who wants to be taken seriously by his peers,  most have failed to... read more

Fabulous and compelling evocation of times past

By , 15/02/2014
This show - an hour's worth of stunningly-wrought, cheek-by-jowl evocation by just two performers, of an episode in Wellington's musical, colonial and imperial history - is a "must see".  Writer and director Jacqueline Coats has recreated a significant colonial musical event, one presented by the "Port Nicholson Music Appreciation Society" to mark the occasion in 1840 of Queen Victoria's marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. As befitted the... read more

NZSO’s “Tall Tales and Tangos” musically resplendent but dramatically inert

This was a matinee concert devised specifically for children, and it was great to see so many of them at this well attended event. Rugby legend and classical music enthusiast Anton Oliver introduced the programme, giving a particularly warm welcome to the under-tens with his assurance that ”this concert is for you”. The orchestra comprised some fifty players, probably a bit of a squeeze in many theatre pits, but eminently... read more

The Big C from Circa Theatre

This remarkable production follows Paul Jenden’s own journey from his diagnosis with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia, through the rigours of treatment, and on to an eventual state of remission. You might well wonder how such a subject could possibly be the stuff of a lively and entertaining stage show – doubts initially shared by Jenden himself, who writes in the programme: “When I was throwing up in a hospital bed I... read more

Panorama Theme by Themocracy