Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Category: Reviews – Music Theatre

Helen Moulder and Sir Jon Trimmer warmly invite all of us to “meet Karpovsky” at Wellington’s Circa Theatre

By , 06/11/2019
I thought, both for myself and for the readers of “Middle C”, I’d explore the colourful genesis of Circa’s current production “Meeting Karpovsky”, as it was something I for one knew very little about, having not seen the original 2002 production. It all came about through actress Helen Moulder wanting to bring to fruition a long-held desire to be able to dance with Sir Jon Trimmer, the doyen of... read more

Berlioz, and his “Lelio”, given their dues and more by Orchestra Wellington

By , 12/04/2019
My first reaction to the news that Orchestra Wellington was planning to give the New Zealand premiere of Hector Berlioz’s  Lelio, or “A return to life” in its properly-ordered place as a sequel to the well-known Symphonie Fantastique was a delightful amalgam of excitement, admiration, incredulity and skepticism regarding the idea. I knew the work from recordings, and it had long seemed to me of the order of something... read more

Side by Side with Sondheim at Circa a life-enhancing experience

By , 23/02/2019
I’m not exactly a veteran of live performances of Stephen Sondheim’s musicals – New Zealand Opera did a splendid “Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” in 2016 (which production AND its performance I raved about, here on “Middle C”) and both the NZ Drama School and the NZ School of Music have presented sizeable excerpts from, respectively “Company” and “Into the Woods”, each of which was deftly... read more

Beautiful, visceral, hypnotic, disconcerting – Stroma’s “essential experimental” at Wellington’s Pyramid Club

By , 29/11/2018
The venue really brought it all alive, in a way that I thought a more conventional concert-chamber-like place wouldn’t have done. In the most positive way we in the audience seemed to be “put at ease” by the “late-night club” surroundings at Taranaki Street’s Pyramid Club, and, rather than attending a concert, were instead made to feel we were “eavesdropping” on the ongoing creative processes constituting and shaping each... read more

“Puss in Boots” Pantomime gives delight for young and old alike at Circa Theatre

By , 18/11/2018
A director's note in the programme from Susan Wilson paid tribute to the late Paul Jenden 1955-2013), actor, dancer, director and author of this and several other pantomines performed by Circa over the years, describing his presence as “sadly missed”. One of his most successful pantomime adaptations was of the well-known story of “Puss-in-Boots”, based on the European fairy-tale known in Italy as Il gatto con gli stivali, and in... read more

Monteverdi’s Orfeo – a “rarely comest…spirit of delight” from Eternity Opera

By , 04/08/2018
To my consternation, I learned after the performance on Saturday evening was completed, that this was to be the only “outing” for Eternity Opera’s production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo! On a number of counts, this was regrettable, if only for the fact that I knew of a number of people who weren’t able to attend the performance and who had expected (as I certainly did) that there would be at... read more

SONGS FOR NOBODIES – Ali Harper explores the ordinary and the fabulous

By , 08/07/2018
Having previously enjoyed Ali Harper’s one-woman shows Legendary Divas and A Doris Day Special,  I was eagerly looking forward to my “latest” theatrical outing in her presence, which I imagined would be her “take” on the singers mentioned in the pre-show publicity. Apart from Maria Callas, the famous names listed were ones I actually knew very little about, so as well as being entertained, I was expecting to be... read more

Cynthia and Gertie go Baroque with Purcell at Circa Theatre

By , 13/12/2017
(until 23rd December) Firstly, a note of thanks to Cynthia Fortitude and Gertie Rallentando – Thank you both, for your indefatigable energies and your irrepressible buoyancies! Together, you were as a matching pair of Courtenay Place street-lamps to our sensibilities throughout the intoxicating journey upon which you launched us, offering support as well as illumination! Your concerted efforts generated such refulgence, shining forth from within the textures of one of... read more

Peter Pan – stardust forever at Circa Theatre

By , 18/11/2017

Now here was fun heaped up in spadefuls onto classic, tried-and-true fantasy with a splendid pantomimic treatment of J.M.Barrie's play "Peter Pan: the boy who wouldn't grow up", beloved of generations over a century of years. Writers Pinky Agnew and Lorae Parry, in their first-ever pantomime, managed to give us all the trappings of the art-form - music, slapstick comedy and topical jokes - while maintaining enough of... read more

Lively and colourful Iolanthe from Wellington G&S Light Opera

By , 14/07/2017
Iolanthe is one of the operettas admired by many who take it upon themselves to judge musical worth, and it doesn’t rank among the most popular, with Pirates, Mikado, Gondoliers and Pinafore. The company last staged Iolanthe in 2008. Here was a chance to see how those opinions stack up with someone who was not seeing it for the first time (I saw the 2008 production and reviewed it in... read more

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