March 27, 2021

Yes Yes Yes

Workshopped with and specifically created for high schoolers Yes Yes Yes is all about sex. But, no it isn't. It's really about the bit that comes before sex: consent.

It's almost a one woman show but it includes videos from real teenagers and audience participation to round things out. It can be hard to check on the well being of a whole theatre while dealing with hefty issues but they manage it by having a survey during the performance - twice. There's some great tech going on here which allows the audience to see other viewers comments, creating a unique show each time.

A really hard issue is handled with great respect and maturity. This is something that needs to be discussed with anyone in possession of a body - so, everyone.

Performances: 23-26 March

Tickets: $30

March 23, 2021

Strasbourg 1518

It took me a good hour to calm down after experiencing Strasbourg 1518. It was phenomenal, there is no other word for it.

The show is exquisitely choreographed immersive chaos that speaks to the current climate despite it being about a 500 year old dancing plague. There is music that isn't music but merely sound which may have you wondering if you've stepped somehow into a heavy metal concert.

Last year perched on the precipice of lockdown I think this show may have been even more powerful in it's one night that it was staged before the world closed down. But it is still a delightful mess - and a literal one, they do everything but set the stage alight.

I cannot recommend this highly enough and the audience agreed with a standing ovation from the packed theatre. This show deserves to be sold out every night of its short run.


Performances: 23-28 March, times vary

Tickets: $52

March 17, 2021

The Museum of This Morning

The Museum of This Morning is a delightful, collaborative piece of Fringe at it's best. 

The museum curator "collects" aspects of audience members mornings to create a fascinating show. The audience interaction, instead of being cringe worthy as it so often is, felt comfortable - like we were all involved and welcomed members. 

How can one little aspect of your morning potentially have impact hundreds of years in the future? Apparently it can!

This show involved excellent audience management, improv skills and relatively ok drawing abilities. We left feeling like this was something we helped build and the audience members were all friends.

Bonus - it's an early show so you can catch another Fringe piece after or sneak out to close by Cuba street for a drink to discuss the show with your new friends.

Performances: 16-19 March, 6:30pm

Tickets: $20

March 12, 2021

The Cool Mum

 Do you understand your kids? 

Are you a cool parent?

If you answered yes to either of these questions (which, let's be fair if you did you lied) then you won't need Jo Ghastly's seminar on how to be a cool parent. 

If you answered no then you should head down to the Cavern Club to watch The Cool Mum as Jo proves just how well she knows her teenage kids.

It's a slick performance including video, a slide show and, t-shirts for the unlucky few who get picked on for audience participation. Jo has thought of every aspect of teenage life from social media to interpreting your sons grunts.

I don't even have kids and I had a good giggle. 


Tickets: $18

Performances: 7pm 11-13 March. The Cavern Club

January 24, 2021

The Look of Love

I've gotten used to seeing Ali Harper with a different show every couple of years at Circa, her talent never disappoints. Her most recent offering is The Look of Love a review of the music of Burt Bacharach. Does the name sound familiar? The music will too, the show is filled with instantly recognisable hits.

Ali's beautiful voice was backed by almost seamless recorded accompaniment and her on stage pianist Tom LcLeod, and guitarist Callum Allardice. Callum showed hints of embarrassment as Ali flirted with him and Tom even managed to sing at one point. 

The audience was a touch older than I'm used to seeing on opening nights, they were reluctant to participate in the performance till right at the end when the show was closed with a standing ovation.

Performances: 23 January – 20 February (times vary)

Tickets: $52

October 1, 2020

The Glitter Garden

Four drag queens enter a theatre, hilarity ensues. The Glitter Garden is the first drag show specifically for kids. Wellington showed out in full force to support the show dressed in their very sparkliest best.

Most of the jokes seem to be pitched at the adults in the audience but the kids were certainly enjoying themselves, at times running ahead of Hugo who managed quite well to pull them back into line and stay on script. All of the secondary characters had their lines and music pre-recorded which wasn't always easy to understand - but being drag there was the expected lip synching. 

There was dancing too so it may have been a good thing they only had to lip synch the singing as the performers would likely have been out of breath.

Circa has produced something unexpected for these school holidays. All the performers are drag queens, all tickets are only $15 and there's even an option to pay it forward by buying tickets for others so no one has to miss out.

If your kids enjoyed drag queens and want to see more then check out Ru Paul's Drag Race star Nina West reading stories for kids on her YouTube Channel.


Tickets: $15

Performances: 30 Sep – 10 Oct, Tues – Sat 11am & 6.30pm; Sun 4th Oct 4pm

You can find out more about the show, support, purchase books or the soundtrack on their website https://www.glittergarden.nz/

November 17, 2019

Alice in Wonderland the Pantomime

It's the Pantomime whirl season again! This year Alice in Wonderland gets Circa theatre's homegrown twist.

Alice (and panto dame Majorie Banks Street not to be confused with "Marsh banks") follows the white rabbit through the Justin Lester memorial tunnel on Mount Victoria into Wonderland. It's the sort of place where Wellington is turned on it's head and what Simon Bridges thinks of the beautiful Jacinda Ardern is what she's actually like.

And that's just the start of the political jokes. As a voting adult I felt pretty inadequate that I didn't get all the allusions. (Though I did spot Winston early on in the piece.) These, as well as references to Ru Paul's Drag Race, the orange skinned leader of the free world, walls and classic New Zealand music will sail over the head of your children. But they'll enjoy every minute of it.

There's all the classic panto elements. We're lucky enough to have two panto dames (because all the roles go to men); the traditional poor widow woman ("oh" ...though her husband, Kent Terrace, is only dead to her) and the cackling Queen of Hearts. Many "dun-dun-dun's" but no hisses for the bad guys, plenty of "he's behind you" and a lovely part where the children get to participate on stage (with photos! #circatheatre).

Even better than last years the whole family will love this pantomime.


Performances: 16 November - 22 December (times vary)
Tickets: $18 (child), $52 (adult)

October 13, 2019

Cock

Sensationally* named and erroneously ticketed as a romantic comedy Cock has made it's way to Circa theatre. John is paralysed by indecision between his dramatic ex boyfriend and his overly understanding new girlfriend.

From the title you'll expect something more explicit, certainly with more swearing, but I don't think the word is actually ever spoken on stage.

It's a full 90 minutes without an interval, probably because the dragging last scene takes up the whole second half. It does eventually end but it doesn't really conclude.

All of this would make you think it wasn't enjoyable. But it was! The acting was excellent, you can watch any member of the small cast emote perfectly whether it's their line or someone else's. It was very funny, often pulling out awkward laughs as actors simulated nudity and sex. Most of the time this was managed well but there were a few instances where actors continued before the audience had settled down.

It raises questions about who we are, what title we use and highlights our need to just have someone to hold on to.

*to cause sensation, not well named


Performances: 12 October - 9 November (times vary)
Tickets: $52

September 9, 2019

The Pink Hammer


Opening night of The Pink Hammer at Circa on Saturday was a resounding success with a clever script and spot-on casting making this must-see show for fans of Kiwi comedy.

Four would-be handywomen, Louise, Helen, Siobhan and Annabelle turn up for their first Pink Hammer workshop only to be sadly disappointed. Keenly anticipating a practical carpentry course run by Maggie, a female furniture builder, they find she appears to taken a runner. Determined to get their money’s worth, they coerce a reluctant Woody, Maggie's husband and out-of-work carpenter, to teach them himself. It’s his workshop after all and probably his fault his wife has left!

The women's reaction to Maggie’s absence reveals much about their personalities and prejudices but as the story unfolds we learn there is more going on than we first thought.

This is an outstanding performance from a strong cast, supported by an excellent set and music, particularly the poignant songs from Siobhan. Full of truly hilarious moments with a surprising twist in the tail, this play is definitely worth a night out.

July 24, 2019

ORCHIDS

An older woman and a younger woman open the show, fighting for a pair of Orchids. Are they Persephone and Demeter? Later there are references that feel like Medusa. But overall there is no discernible storyline to ORCHIDS, although it did seem like there was at points - till the dancing wandered off into something else.

A diverse cast - not the expected slim, white, young female - helped give this show some interest. They especially seemed excited to be on stage. I would have liked if ORCHIDS had managed to evoke emotions other than confusion or brief surprise.

A trigger warning for those that have issues with violence.

Performances: 24-27 July
For times, tickets and further details click here