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The Reviews Are In

22 Mar 2024
The Reviews Are In

Bernie Dieter’s Club Kabarett

Bernie Dieter’s Club Kabarett: Auckland Arts Festival 2024 reviews

Review by Ethan Sills, NZ Herald, Published 15 March, 2024

…Her voice is incredible, accompanied by an equally talented band, and the music is the perfect score to each performer who graces the stage. The band and performers work in tandem, the songs incorporated into each routine so that specific beats in the music match each split, spin and drop.

It was a particular standout during Joe Keeley’s opening and closing aerial performances, a clear highlight that was captivating to watch and listen to…

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The Valentina – The Rebel Alliance

Facebook review by Eve de Castro-Robinson, Posted 10 March, 2024

Opening night of the Auckland Arts Festival, and Oscar and I headed to the world premiere of The Valentina. A real winner for 8- 88 yr olds, a wildly imaginative, fast-moving, witty, visually arresting, interstellar romp with a standout performance from Laika the space-dog. Much to learn about astronauts too, including descriptions in various languages including Maori. Junior interjected lustily throughout and immediately got the rick-rolling reference, singing along happily. Unfortunately the sudden appearance of a violent alien monster dampened the magic somewhat and soon a small voice asking to go home won out. @aklfestival @afalstie @therebelalliance #thevalentina

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Te Tangi e Te Tūī - Te Rēhia Theatre, Te Pou Theatre & The Dust Palace

Te Tangi a te Tūī transcends language and leaves us in a state of blissful awe.

Review by Tatiana Hotere, Theatreview published 7 March, 2024

…Groundbreaking, majestic and spectacular, the weaving of Te Reo Māori storytelling with cirque performance of high calibre, makes this show a must-see for audiences of all ages and cultures. It transcends language and it leaves us in a state of blissful awe.

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We want more decolonial theatre

Review by Marisa Diamond, Theatreview published 8 March, 2024

… Standing among a full standing ovation at Te Pou Theatre, there was no mistake that Te Tangi e Te Tūī is a powerful, breathtaking, and important show.

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Te tangi a te Tūī, photo credit Ralph Brown

Manifesto - Stephanie Lake Company

Manifesto by Stephanie Lake

Review by Brigitte Knight,, published 8 March, 2024

…Ignited by a single, shocking crash of the drums, Lake’s choreography motors through ensemble, solo, and small group sections with vibrancy and momentum. Rooted in stylised classical technique but expanding, morphing, disrupting into contemporary, hip hop, breakdance, salsa, capoeira, and improvised vocabularies the material strives for Balanchine-style “see the music, hear the dance” integration with Fox’s powerful score, achieving synthesis at times but with scope for greater variety and differentiation of movement at others…

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Wild, unadulterated joy.

Review by Jenny Stevenson, Theatreview, published 10 March, 2024

…The absolute power of drumming and its ability to elicit movement and heightened emotion in response to an insistent beat, cannot be underestimated. Multiply this effect exponentially, with nine dancers responding to the sound of nine drum kits and the result is a whirl of untrammeled rhythmic dance that is underpinned by wild, unadulterated joy…

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Manifesto full of relentless energy and amazing invention

Review by John Daly-Peoples, New Zealand Art Review, published 9 March, 2024

…Nine musicians with a selection of drums, cymbals and bells ranged above a group of white clad dancers who sat, calmly facing the audience. But then the first burst of cymbals sent a shock wave through the dancers, followed ten seconds later by another explosive sound with a corresponding eruption of the dancers – and so it begins – torrents of sound which galvanized the dancers into hectic sequences of they responded to the changing tempo of the drumming. They seemed to be responding as though to electric shocks or the physical impact of the sound waves with their somersaults, kicks, lifts, throws and breakdance moves…

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NZSO Beyond Words

a lament, a reflection and a celebration

Review by John Daly-Peoples, New Zealand Art Review published 11 March, 2024

…OUM was resplendent in her shimmering gown and elaborate head covering Her voice with its roots in Morocco and in the tradition of Egyptian singers of the 1930’s like Umm Kulthum drifted and soared above the orchestra’s tapestry of eastern sounds along with the answering voice of Tapakis’s oud.

Her singing and movements at times suggested she was in a trance-like state while at other times she exuded an emotional intensity and in her singing “Hijra” she sounded like a French chaunteuse…

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Beyond Words

Facebook review by Eve de Castro-Robinson posted 10 March, 2024

Tonight's BEYOND WORDS at the Town Hall was the culmination of an afternoon's presentations on the commemoration of the Christchurch mosque attacks. Janna Ezat's delicate calligraphy upstairs was beautifully expressive, then there was a kōrero on unity and the arts before the NZSO took the stage. An alcohol-free event signalled great respect for the Islam world, and a prayer room was available. Following a mixed first half with the highlight, Pärt's Siloan's Song ringing out plangently, the major work, John Psathas's AHLAN WA SAHLAN filled the auditorium with the composer's paean to peace and unity. The golden clad OUM keened beseechingly alongside oud player Kyriakos Tapakis' silvery pluckings and the full orchestra surged and ebbed. Psathas wove an aura of real magic in the hall, and the audience rose in a rapturous standing ovation, on the eve of Ramadan. The composer embraced each soloist in turn, the strong emotions evident being testament to the relationships built up over the many months of work. As-salaam alaikum.

@nzsymphonyorchestra @johnpsathas @fawzihaimor @kyriakostapakis @janna.ezat

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Beyond Words, photo credit Jinki Cambronero

Not King Lear – Hobson St Theatre Company

A sophisticated play addressing social and personal issues

Review by John Daly-Peoples, New Zealand Art Review published 10 March, 2024

..There is level of sophistication to the play that is rewarding both in terms of the ideas it explores about relationships and homelessness but also in its approach to theatre…

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Not King Lear, photo credit, Andi crown
O le Pepelo, le Gaoi, ma le Pala’ai, photo credit Anna Benhak

Ju Percussion

Facebook review by Eve de Castro-Robinson, Posted 17 March, 2024

Flying mallets and multi-keyboard rhythmic textures marked Ju Percussion Group's Auckland Arts Festival gig. The ten performers each possessed phenomenal technique - especially the marimbist wielding six mallets - in the rapid passagework required. The most theatrical work, Solar Myth thrilled with the choreography of red fans and white masks and our own John Psathas' Kyoto offered a delicate, nimble polyphony for quintet. 朱宗慶打擊樂團 / Ju Percussion Group Auckland Arts Festival John Psathas

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Facebook review by Eve de Castro-Robinson, Posted 15 March, 2024

An extraordinary evening with the Ukrainian DHAKABRAKHA folk-rock-punk troubadours who were utterly genuine, deeply charismatic, and heavily politically charged. Russia is a terrorist state! read the banner behind them at one stage, at others delightful folk illustrations in vivid hues, and they sang song after song in voices that cut the air with a thrilling nasal edginess, the only male in the group crooning in a memorable falsetto. The three women sported national garb and played percussion, keyboard, and a gloriously decorated cello. At the end, the accordionist auctioned his small painting off and raised $1100 for the Free Ukraine cause. @dakhabrakha #freeukraine

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The Kings Singers: Finding Harmony

The King’s Singers: Vocal Magicians

Review by John Daly-Peoples, NZ Arts Review, published 18 March, 2024

As well their ability to sing like a choir of angels they can sing like a rowdy pub crowd or an earnest revolutionary mob.

They understand what music is capable of and why it is important. They are not merely singing great songs with interesting lyrics, they are singing songs which have inspired people at particular times...

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The King’s Singers at Holy Trinity Cathedral

Review by William Dart, NZ Herald, published 18 March, 2024

And it was immensely civilised entertainment, a beautifully curated programme transporting us around the world and through the centuries, with superlative singing punctuated by urbane, informative commentary.

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In the name of the Son – the Gerry Conlon Story

In the name of the Son: a harrowing tale of injustice

Review by Malcolm Calder, NZ Arts Review, published 15 March, 2024

… In the Name of the Son by Gerry’s lifelong friend Richard O’Rawe and Martyn Lynch tells it as it was. And Blaney delivers it switching seamlessly between the different genders, ages and accents of those who played a role in Conlon’s fascinating story. That is what makes this otherwise harrowing tale of injustice worth nothing less than the standing ovation he received at opening night..

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Auckland Arts Festival Round Up #1: O Le Pepelo, Manifesto, et al

Review by Sam Brooks, Dramatic Pause published 11 March, 2024

…It is, I think, the best Auckland Theatre Company production since The Haka Party Incident back in 2021. It is telling, and should be observed, that it comes from the company platforming local storytellers – in this case, I Ken So Productions…

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(Dramatic Pause is a new independent arts review site by Sam Brooks – (ex-Arts Editor at The Spinoff)

Best of the Fest #3 - Māori cirque theatre, exploring fa’a Sāmoa, iconic waiata and Gravity & Grace

Panel review by RNZ Culture 101 broadcast 8 March, 2024

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Auckland Arts Festival Round Up #2: Bernie Dieter's Club Kabarett, Boy, et al.

Review by Sam Brooks, Dramatic Pause published 18 March, 2024

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(Dramatic Pause is a new independent arts review site by Sam Brooks – (ex-Arts Editor at The Spinoff)

Best of the Fest #4 - Tim Minchin, The King’s Singers, Arooj Aftab, Bernie Dieter’s Kabarett, Lost Lear, Belle, and In the Name of the Son

Panel review by RNZ Culture 101 broadcast 15 March, 2024

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