October 31, 2015


You'd be mistaken if you thought that a production company called Sweet Muffin would produce saccharine sweet theatre. Are there children? Yes! Most of the cast are aged 8-12, but that's as sweet as it gets.

Nightmare follows the story of 12 year Jimmy and his baby brother Joel. The boys have been removed from their abusive home to live with their unfamiliar Aunt Dala and the landlady Angie. Jimmy's days are gloomy, but Ole Lukoje, the Sandman, visits him at night and Jimmy can escape into dreams. But when the fantasy starts to seep into reality Ole grows too strong. 

There was so much subtext in this play that it struggled to become text. The first fifteen minutes were confusing and I would have remained lost had I not read about the play (above) beforehand.

The sandman was an excellent theatrical actor, the aunt a subtle, honest portrayal. The younger child/puppet could have benefited from the actor/puppeteer wearing black to indicate they were not a character. I'm not convinced such a large children's chorus was necessary if at all. More indication of isolation may have resulted from the young lead being the only child on stage.

What is attempted is good. We work through and escape our issues in our sleep but that can be a dangerous preoccupation. I should note I had nightmares after seeing this production.

Tickets: $15
Performances: October 29 & November 5, 6.30pm; October 30-31 & November 6-7, 8pm
Venue: Newtown Community & Cultural Centre

October 28, 2015

A Beautiful Hesitation / Demented Architecture

The current offerings at City Gallery have evocative titles designed to make you think.

The central piece of Demented Architecture - so central that you could easily miss that there is anything else - is The Cubic Structural Evolution Project. You've probably seem images of it already; a white lego world of beautiful and varied towers which you are invited to add to. Robots, hearts, love, names and towers lacking structural soundness indicate that many have taken up the invitation. It is lovely to see something being created, added to, rather than destroyed.
Demented Architecture closes 8 November

Fiona Pardington's photographic collection A Beautiful Hesitation, the largest exhibition of her work yet, is somewhat fragmented though grouped into similar themes. She doesn't shy away from the darker side; creating still lives with washed up items, taking pictures of extinct birds and human remains. Her images have a beautiful quality which makes them appear as if they were painted.
A Beautiful Hesitation closes 22 November

October 6, 2015

In My Very Bones

The WWI exhibition at Katherine Mansfield House and Garden was opened by the ANZAC of the year; Louise Nicholas, a courageous woman. The sun set behind the Tinakori Hill as the attendees; members of the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Society, members of the literary community, sponsors and the Chief Librarian from the Alexander Turnbull Library which lend objects for the exhibition; gathered on the lawn, drinking wine and eating ANZAC biscuits, listening to the speeches. The exhibition, In My Very Bones, was curated by the House Director Emma Anderson with assistance from a student of Victoria University's Masters in Museum and Heritage Studies.

The exhibition traces the effects of WWI on the life and writings of Katherine Mansfield. She saw the war through the eyes of her younger brother, who was not the sort to die.  But his death launched her into writings about early life in New Zealand and impacted her marriage. The walls of the exhibition room, a vibrant blue, show the timeline of Katherine's life with her brother and how his death caused changes. Letters between the siblings are displayed in glass cases and copies are open along the wall for easy reading.

The exhibition is open until the 29th of January, admission is included in general admission to the House.

October 1, 2015

Animal Farm

There is always something uncomfortable about watching a human act as an animal. But what Animal Farm reminds us is that we are still animals despite the clothes we wear, the tools we use and the politics we run our lives with or that run our lives. Originally a commentary on communism this new production also raises questions not only about cruelty to animals but cruelty to other humans. It opens with an uncomfortably long monologue and there are strange pieces of narration scattered throughout. Actors tackle more than one animal part each, which can be difficult to follow despite excellent animal antics. I feel the actors have sacrificed their bodies for their art; there will be sore knees and backs amongst them.

Backyard Theatre has produced a multi media performance that doesn't detract from the actors performances.

Performances: 30 September - 10 October, 7:30pm (no show Sunday & Monday)
Tickets: $25
Venue: Gryphon theatre