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Posts tagged: music theatre

Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” a triumph for Witch Music Theatre at Wellington’s Te Auaha

By , 30/06/2021
“Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd” proclaimed the first singer shortly after the opening of Witch Music Theatre’s instantly-riveting Te Auaha production of the eponymous show  – no argument or dissent was brooked, as we had already been ensnared and drawn into an ominous, all-pervading scenario of compelling unease  generated by gothic, phantom-sounding organ figurations, dimly-perceived Nibelungen-like figures materialising from nowhere performing scrubbing-like tasks of enslavement, and a sudden... read more

Burt Bacharach – a tribute from Ali Harper at Circa Theatre

By , 23/01/2021
I can’t think of another performer I know whose presentations give me more pleasure than do those of Ali Harper’s, for her unbeatable combinations of artistry, energy and sheer charisma! And here, at Circa Theatre once again, we were treated to all of those qualities put at the service of the music of one of the most iconic songwriters of recent times, Burt Bacharach. His is a name which... read more

“The Older the Better” – a triumph of age and experience at Circa Theatre

By , 03/12/2020
A footnote to the show’s title above the cast list in the programme reads: “The performers you may or may not see, tonight....”. When putting the show together around the talents of three ninety-plus performers, Dame Kate Harcourt, Coral Trimmer and Sunny Amey, the producer of “The Older, the Better” Kate JasonSmith found so many willing participants among what she called “a fabulous collection of Gold Card performers” that... read more

Voices of Women – A New Zealand sufferage celebration by Janet Jennings

By , 19/09/2020
Inspired by the 125th anniversary of the 1893 Electoral Act in New Zealand which gave women the right to vote in New Zealand, the first self-governing country in the world to enact such legislation, this CD collection of works by Janet Jennings was first performed as a single concert in Hamilton, at the Dr. John Gallagher Concert Chamber, University of Waikato, presumably by the same performers. The opening work, Magnificat... read more

NZ Opera’s “Eight Songs for a Mad King” a brilliant, Janus-faced experience

By , 02/03/2020
Firstly, some background for the curious – the “King” of this concert’s title is King George III of England, who suffered from mental illness throughout his adult life, eventually being removed from his throne and kept under lock and key in Windsor Castle. Over his final decade he lost his eyesight and hearing, and fell prey to frequent manic episodes, by all accounts babbling endlessly as he slid into... 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

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

Spectacular centenary concert for Leonard Bernstein from the NZSO

By , 11/05/2018
Faced with an auditorium less than half full for a concert to celebrate a hundred years of one of the most famous (I carefully refrain from using ‘greatest’) composers and conductors of the 20th century, raised interesting thoughts. One was that I had expected about this sized audience; that, before I’d seen the NZSO offer of big ticket discounts. I’ve no doubt that everyone interested in classical music and broadly defined popular... read more

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