Date / Venue: Wednesday September 3rd, 2015 - ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland
Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is a great romp - love triangles, magical beings and a touch of evil balanced by lots of comedy and happy endings. It offers great raw material to work with, but what English choreographer Liam Scarlett, designer Tracy Grant Lord, lighting designer Kendall Smith and the talented cast of the RNZB have brought to the production is something else.
The curtain opens on to Tracy Grant Lord's jaw dropping creation, a magical woven labyrinth of vines that form bridges, staircases and secretive retreats. Glowing fungi-like spores mark the sides of the stage and the edges of a few receding paths, but the clever set offers an unfathomable sense of depth, only adding to the imaginative and enchanted qualities of the set. As fairies sparkle across the stage, flitting through the enchanted wood in divinely frothy and iridescent tutus, we see the first of the sumptuous costumes and echoing hues that she has sprinkled through the production. They are followed by the King and Queen of the Fairies who discover a sleeping child and quarrel over who will take him, setting a course of spell casting, jealous love and trickery that defines the story.
MacLean Hopper's King of the Fairies is seriously dashing, debonair in a 1950s way with a lick of silver at his temples and a touch of evil about him. Accompanied by a Matrix-meets-King-of-the-Fairies and slashed to the waist cloak that moves and swirls about the dastardly hero, Hopper invests Oberon with strength, glamour and wit. He and the luminous Tatiana, danced beautifully by Tonia Looker, will offer the audience one of the most sensual and sublime pas de deux I've ever seen late in Act II.
The 'mechanicals' of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream have evolved into a troupe of campers with a somewhat Famous Five vibe, kitted out in woolly hats, khaki shorts and butterfly nets. It's here we find the cast for love's misadventures and some sparkling and comedic choreography by hot ticket choreographer, Liam Scarlett. Lovers Hermia (Lori Gilchrist) and Lysander (Joseph Skelton) pull out a romantic and scene stealing pas de deux, while a nerdy and bespectacled Abigail Boyle was fabulous as an astonished femme fatale. Although disappointed that the injured Kohei Iwamoto wouldn't be dancing the mischievous sprite Puck,Shaun James Kelly made the role his own. An expressive and energetic performer, Kelly wove Puck's misdirected magic spells, turned lovers' fortunes upside down, appeared from all corners of the clever structure and even flew across the stage on a swinging vine.
In a diaphanous cream tulle gown and sparkling with crystals, Tonia Looker's exceptional Tatiana was an elegant and sylph-like addition to the sensual forest. Thanks to Puck's miscast spell she falls madly in love with Bottom, a camper turned into a donkey by the same bumbling sprite. As the besotted Tatiana ruffles his ears, nuzzles into his fur and drops sweet little kisses on to the donkey's nose, Harry Skinner's Bottom quivers and twitches with unexpected delight, hardly believing his luck.
This is the best production yet from the Royal New Zealand Ballet - it is fresh and superbly performed and, I imagine, likely to be influential internationally. It is quite simply sublime.
After its New Zealand tour (which runs till 20 September), A Midsummer Night's Dream will be performed by the Queensland Ballet, with whom the RNZB co-produced, in 2016.
In the mid to late 90's, when grunge began to wither away and MTV strived to find the next easy to access label to attach to new batch of up and coming rock bands, global attention started to shine on the Alt Rock scene.
The I Love The 90s Tour returns to Auckland next year March 23rd at Auckland’s Spark Arena, with a completely off the chain lineup featuring classic Hip Hop crew Naughty by Nature. Vin Rock from the Grammy Award winning rap group speaks fondly of this country and love of our people.
The Soundsplash Festival is returning to Raglan in January 2018. Local reggae favourites Katchafire are returning to feature on the bill. We sent a few questions over to lead vocalist Logan Bell ahead of the festival.
Following 2015’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis'The Third', the sibling trio are back stronger than ever, harnessing their ability to create pop-infused soul, blues, rock n roll and a large mix of genres to perfection, in the shape of their fourth studio album, Superscope.
Kylie Price has just released her new album Bones. Last week she appeared on theNZ Entertainment Podcast, where she sang a new song I Dont Want To Go off the album while talking shop about her dream gig to play with Ed Sheeran and her Philipino roots.
Last week I caught up withPeter Hook ahead of returning down under for Australasian leg of the Joy Division and New Order Substance tour. We had a great chat about the spirit of punk, what it takes to write a book and why shows like the X-factor are so unhealthy…
Long established as one of New Zealand’s finest acts, South Pacific reggae-soul legends, The Black Seeds are set to tour the country in September, following the release of their long awaited 6th studio album Fabric, (out today - Friday September 8th).
Jacqueline Nalpant is a Booking Agent for the Paradigm Talent Agency, and is heading to New Zealand early next month where she'll be one of the speakers for the Going Global Music Summit (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September at Roundhead Studios, Auckland).
Since making her musical debut with her song Drift early last year, fast attracting a solid fan base and over 1 million plays across Spotify and Soundcloud in just a few months, Madeline North, better known by her musical moniker So Below, has once again blessed us with a moodier, masterful electro-pop banger, titled Ruin.
Since forming in 1998, the Antwerp, Belgium based trio Triggerfinger have long become a mainstay on the rock scene, building a solid reputation across Europe, the US, Canada and beyond, as one of the hardest-driving and sharpest dressing bands around.
Popular metalcore group Northlane are on their way to New Zealand. The Sydney band are touring North America taking in countries like Chile and Mexico as they head our way down-under next month to play Wellington’s San Fran then Auckland at the iconic Kings Arms.
Returning to New Zealand for the first time in three years, Australian metalcore band In Hearts Wake are on their way to our shores next month for a quick run of shows supporting their label cohorts Northlane.
Courtney Marie Andrews has landed in New Zealand, and set to play two concerts this week with Joe Pug - tonight at San Fran in Wellington (Wed July 19) and tomorrow night at The Tuning Fork in Auckland (Thu July 20).
Auckland two-piece Skinny Hobos, Alex Elvis and Texas Holdom, are heading on a 5 date New Zealand tour with headliners Decades, Bakers Eddy and Dead Favours. Kicking off tonight in Hamilton (July 14), the tour will also take them to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and finishes up in Dunedin.
Have you ever considered sharing your most personal experiences with the entire world? Well come this Friday 14th July, that’s what Emma Cameron, the rocking front-woman of kiwi band Decades is about to do, when they release their long-awaited full length debut album, The Truth And Other People, so we sat down with the cheerful front woman to discover just what truth this album reveals..
Whilst Sonny Landreth is a well known slide-guitar master, zydeco enthusiast and phenomenal blues legend, what you may not know about him, is that he is one of the nicest gentlemen in the entire universe.
He was always the boy next door type energy, that type of person you just always wanted to be around. From day one, Shay Taylor has always been one to break the mold and live life in such a vibrant and contagious manner, that no matter who he spoke to, they walked away feeling great!
Anthonie Tonnon is taking his new Extended Player and single to Australia, and to New Zealand towns that missed the first run of dates, or sold out too quickly. He’ll also be appearing at three summer festivals this February.
After a stand of three Auckland concerts that sold out in minutes in January, Connan Mockasin is hitting the road across Aotearoa for the first time in eight years this summer for a select run of headline shows.