September 30, 2013

The WOW Factor

The World of Wearable Arts has exploded all over Wellington but for those of you who can’t afford the $100 tickets you can check out some of the past winners (and placers) at Te Papa. To celebrate 25 years of WOW 25 items from past shows are currently on display at our national museum.

If you’ve been to a fashion exhibition at Te Papa before you’ll know how to find the Eyelights Gallery; if you haven’t, you’ll need to check for directions as it is tucked back behind the Slice of Heaven exhibition (which is also worth checking out). It’s a shame that there wasn't a grander gallery to hold the exhibition, it warrants more space for people to get a closer look and see all sides of the garments. At the entrance of the gallery is a piece that illustrates how detailed the works can be, there is something new at each angle which is missed when seen from the stage or a single sided glass enclosure.

There are videos playing with images from the shows which include pieces on display. Props and several performer costumes are shown alongside winning entries. The range of dates covers the whole life of the show including the very first winner, Wild Walker, which is more sedate than some of the later pieces.
Unlike the stage show this isn't flashy or terribly exciting, Te Papa could have made a much bigger song and dance about it. However, this is an unparalleled opportunity to get a good look at these amazing creations up close and personal.

Showing at Te Papa till 6 October.
Cost: free

Te Papa are talking about it on their blog
Also check out the Wow Window Dressing Competition in store windows around town. Go here to see which stores are involved. Te Papa are showing creations from local college students at their stores (not just at the museum, there’s one in Brandon Street too!).

The Pole Room - September

Another fabulously entertaining night of stunning pole performers took place at the new Fringe Bar located on Allen St, Courtney Place. As a veteran of these shows I can categorically state that they just keep getting better!

The Pole Room is a regular feature at the Fringe Bar; showcasing local Pole Dancers as well as Polers from around NZ and overseas. We were treated to performances by Ryoko Ibaraki and Michelle Kasey from Auckland as well as Douglas Jarrett from Pamerston North.

The shows’ theme was Dreamlands: Visions, Fairytales and Nightmares and this was expressed in a variety of captivating and skilfully executed performances.

The performances ranged from traditional fairy tales such as Snow White and Peter Pan through to modern horror characters such as The Corpse Bride and The White Witch. There was obviously a lot of time and attention paid to costume, choreography and music which made each routine very individual and held the audience’s attention throughout the show. It is exciting to see performers becoming more theatrical and creating a story with their routines, taking pole dancing to the next level.

MC Clever Hansel kept the show rolling along nicely, responding well to some light-hearted heckling and performing his own unique version of ‘Boylesque’. Liz Kirkman made for a convincing yet melodious ‘undead’ singer and Ernestine delighted with her belly dancing. Every pole performance was so individual and well crafted it is impossible to mention one above another. I can only hope we will see more appearances from them all in future Pole Rooms.

The new Fringe Bar provides a larger and slightly higher stage enabling the majority of the audience to get a better view. Room is still at a premium and you need to get there early in order to secure a good seat.

To all the performers; Ryoko Ibaraki, Kapi Huria, Michelle Kasey, Freya Devine, Jennifer Starrdust, Mei Chan, Rachael Palmer, Emma Humphrey, Katie Roberts, Douglas Jarrett, Lexi, Emzy Zajkowski, Ernestine, Liz Kirkman and Clever Hansel thank you for a wonderfully entertaining evening; your talent and skill never cease to amaze and inspire. To the creator and organiser of The Pole Room, Maree Prebensen, much gratitude to you for giving these talented people the opportunity to showcase their skills and provide us with consistently captivating evening’s entertainment!

Cost: $25
Date: 27 September 2013

September 8, 2013


Stagecraft continues to surprise me with the quality of their productions. They are not a group to rest on their laurels. Their script choices are excellent - each challenging in a new way. The God Boy was intense, Pride and Prejudice was funny (not as easy to achieve as you would think) and complex. Their new production, Proof manages to be funny, romantic and have a bit of a mystery thrown in there too.

Proof is a captivating play. I discovered that there is also a movie starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Catherine. I watched part of the preview and it didn't compare to what I saw at Gryphon theatre. Hollywood has a tendency to over dramatise which makes theatre seem so much more real even though in theory it should seem more artificial. Having said that, I have the DVD and intend to watch it this week.

This play explores the thin line between genius and insanity. (I've always wondered whether the pressure of being a genius leads to insanity.) It brought to mind the story of John Nash in A Beautiful Mind, I’m sure people could draw many comparisons. But this story touched me more than that movie, it was human (although, as I’ve already said, plays and movies are far apart). It focused on the daughter of the genius and how she may have inherited some of his gifts. Two major plot twists kept you guessing; one very early on and the other when the play seems to be drifting along, this second twist gives the plot an entirely new direction.

The actors all spike in American accents which came across as natural. Each actor was perfectly chosen for their role and had great chemistry with the other actors. I really felt the depression, the confusion and the hope that Catherine, portrayed excellently by Gabrielle Wright, experienced. Like her I also wanted to hit her sister. The performers made great use of a limited set but I noted several references in the script that seemed to indicate that some scenes were meant to be indoors. I loved the geeky t-shirts worn by the math nerd.

I identified with Catherine; I wanted Gabrielle’s hair which seemed to speak for the character itself but also her part made me feel guilty, wondering what I could have achieved with my potential had I not suffered from a mental illness. Sometimes being smart has its limitations.

This is a great play for anyone with a pushy sister, a close relationship with their father, and any geniuses or nerds out there. If you like Big Bang Theory you may find something in this play for you.

Performances: 5 -7 September 8 pm, 10 -11 6.30 pm, 12 - 14 8 pm
Tickets: $22

September 1, 2013

RCRD Game 3 2013: Brutal Pageant vs Comic Slams

The game on Saturday decided who would meet Smash Malice in the final game of the season; Brutal Pageant or Comic Slams. Seven Sharp were there to film, we don’t know when it will hit the screens - let us know if you do.

Comic Slams took an early lead with a series of power jams. Brutal Pageant frequented the penalty box throughout the game. As the official RCRD twitter said “Slams excellent control of the pack (is) forcing cutting penalties. (The) Pageant (penalty) box (is) full.”

Comic Slams featured Ella Kazam and J’Knee Dodgem, previously heavily used jammers, as blockers. They did an impressive job, mastering the art of locking their shoulder with an opposition player. This is a new technique being showcased this season. Jammer Anna Pave-U’Ova unfortunately didn’t shine as much as she did in the game against Melbourne. Brutal Pageant surprisingly chose Meat Train to jam several times, possibly hoping to put her great blocking skills to work on getting through the pack.  Pageant heavily featured Princess Slayer as jammer, but thankfully gave her some pack time this bout as she has the skills there too.

The half time show was excruciating; then became hazardous when ZM representatives hurled chocolate and mens moisturiser into the crowd. Safety standards dictated that those sitting on the balconies had to miss out. But, most exciting (!) was the announcement that there will be a workshop for kids ages 8-15 to learn the basics of low contact derby. You can contact The Skate Collective for more information.

Our picks for Most Valuable Player are J’Knee Dodgem for Comic Slams and Beatrix Skiddo for Brutal Pageant. Richter City awarded MVP to Bubble O' Kill for Brutal Pageant and Ma Whero Mischief for Comic Slams.

This was the second time I’ve seen the scoreboard unable to handle the scores ie. a team scored over 200. The official final score was 215-114 to Comic Slams who will be facing off against Smash Malice in the season final 2 November.

But before that is the second national tournament, Derby Royale, in Palmerston North over Labour Weekend. If you haven’t made plans for the long weekend yet, 16 teams are set to attend to battle it out. Check their Facebook for details.