Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Arrived today

Late last year, the Patron Saint of Wellington, Sir Peter Jackson, and his equally excellent and talented wife, Fran Walsh, purchased the building that BATS Theatre is housed in. 

BATS currently only uses one of the three floors of the building, and the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes used to own the building and take up the other two floors (the middle floor has this amazing hall with a stained glass dome in the ceiling). 

When the Buffs sold the building and moved out earlier this year, they weren't exactly fastidious in their removal of their things, which has meant going up into their old rooms for rehearsals has been excellent for poking around and being nosey. One thing we found on a bookshelf left full of books, was this postcard. 

Seeing as it was sent from Bristol in 1978 and had such an amazing message, we decided to send it to our friends Hannah and Ralph who are currently living in Bristol. Being an extreme goody good, I was a bit worried about removing the postcard from where it had lived for over 30 years, but I'm glad we did. If I was a postcard, I'd want an equally unexpected turn in my life.

Monday, March 26, 2012


My Nana wore this dress to a wedding, maybe in the 70s? Although she wouldn't call it a dress, she'd call it a 'frock'. I 'borrowed' it for a tea party birthday I had one year during my Wairarapa College days and it has hung in my wardrobe ever since.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Everything and nothing really

New permanent sculpture in Glover Park that I saw while walking through on the weekend. It makes me think of hot air balloons, exotic palaces, and tree forts.

In between rehearsing and working, I have seen lots of good things lately. I started writing about them all but then I lost the enthusiasm for it. So in brief:

Two weeks ago I saw The Artist, which I really enjoyed. Last Wednesday night I saw A Play About Love which I also enjoyed.

On Friday night I saw Raoul which had some moments of absolute magic that I am still amazed thinking about, but also lacked cohesiveness and seemed to suffer from having too much money. For example, there were some amazing puppets, but they kind of just came on, had people gasp and clap at them, and then they left again very quickly - they weren't used to their full potential or developed as characters. The parts I enjoyed best were often the most simple - a trick with a big round mirror which made it look like someone had fallen into the mirror and disappeared, some physical comedy in which the guy couldn't get comfortable while sitting reading a book. Overall, Raoul didn't live up to its hype for me.

On Sunday night I saw my last New Zealand International Arts Festival show: Hohepa. A modern New Zealand opera. I really did not like it. Maybe modern opera just isn't for me, but it felt like a bad musical. There were clearly some amazing (especially male) singers, but it felt like we didn't get to hear the full range of their voices because they did a lot of talk singing (there's a flash Italian word for it but I can't remember it). And there's something that just annoys me about people singing such inane things as, 'And Jane was very seasick' and 'We are going to the shops soon.' I kid you not. Those were actual lines.

On Saturday night I saw Hugo, which I LOVED. I went with my little brother who was in town, and it's lucky he was, otherwise I probably wouldn't have thought to go at all. It was in 3D which normally doesn't do much for me but this was so so good. I loved the setting (Paris in the 1930s) and the mystery and all the clockwork mechanics. The idea of an automaton blew my mind. On the way home I was saying to Hunter, 'But they couldn't really have made automated dolls before computers that could draw such detailed pictures - you'd have to have so many tiny cogs and wheels and things inside them, how would they all fit?' But when we came home and I looked it up, it turned out it was true. They really exist. Given I'm scared of dolls, I think seeing one working in real life would creep me out way too much, but as a concept, they are fascinating.

This was Lyall Bay from the deck of Maranui on Saturday morning. It seems a long time ago given that rain, wind, fog, and cold temperatures have now hit town with a vengeance.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


On Saturday, my Nana turned 78. We had lunch at the golf driving range cafe to celebrate, as you do in the Wairarapa. But first, I discovered the rather civilised Thorndon Farmers' Market on my way to catch the train.

Hunter took this photo of me holding Isla. It's so good! 

I had to get the early train home on Sunday morning as we had a rehearsal that afternoon for our next show. The show is called Nucking Futs and it's on at BATS from the 12th to the 21st of April. We're doing some podcasts in the lead-up to opening night - they're basically Alex and I rambling about different parts of the internet and coming up with brief flashes of comedy lightning. Even though everyone who reads this blog is likely to know about the podcasts already anyway, the link is here.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dream theatre

I just saw one of the best shows I've ever seen - clever, funny, dark, musical, and a little bit different.

(Photo from here)

1927's The Animals and Children took to the Streets was so good it's hard to even rave about it. The actors were perfect - I didn't even realise the woman playing a man was a woman, I just totally believed she was a tall, lanky man with Edward Scissorhands hair, until the curtain call when only three women appeared on stage. The different characters were so clear and the costume changes so quick I thought there were four people in the show. I think the Edward Scissorhands hair caretaker was my favourite character though.

The aesthetic was beautiful and creepy and storybook-like and reminiscent of a certain time period but also could be any time. The songs and live music worked perfectly. The animations and the way the actors interacted them was the best use of AV in a theatre show I've seen. It was such an integral part of the show, it felt like they had worked with it from the very beginning instead of adding it on later.

I really liked how dark the humour and the story was and how they didn't shy away from it - I was disappointed when they presented us with two options for the ending and it seemed that the audience had chosen 'Idealistic', I wanted to see how far they took the other option: 'Realistic'. Thankfully, they disregarded the audience's choice and brought the story to what I felt was its natural conclusion - it wasn't a show about happily ever after. It also really reminded me of the riots in London in August when I was there and made me think about young people in the 'dodgy' parts of cities and towns and various people's theories about why young people are often 'disengaged' and angry and their 'solutions' for them.

I didn't laugh out loud a lot, the humour was a more sustained, clever kind of humour. And I feel like they didn't take themselves to seriously, which made it so much easier to fall into the world of the show and their style.

Turns out it wasn't that hard to rave about after all.

(Photo from here)

On Monday night I was very lucky and got to see Circus Ronaldo's Circenses thanks to a spare ticket (Nova and I saw them setting up the Big Top last week). Circenses was amazing in a totally different way. It was a circus but it wasn't a circus and it was also so much more than a circus. The company has an amazing history - I loved seeing the different generations on stage together - and the performers are so multi-talented. The concept was great and I feel like Alex and I got it the best way around (which had nothing to do with us), because we were backstage first and then in the second half we got the 'on stage' show. The knife throwing woman had me pretty nervous backstage and on stage anyway.

So many great shows this year - I wish I could see more.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What it is sized city (not big, or little, or big little)

On the weekend I went to Auckland to catch up with two Sophies I used to live with, and see one of the Sophies in the Silo Theatre production of Top Girls at the new Q Theatre.

The show was really good. Great design, strong performances (my new favourite phrase) from all the actors, and a very clever script. And Q Theatre is rather flash.

As per usual, I did a lot of eating. This was my haloumi breakfast salad on Saturday (I was intrigued by what a 'breakfast salad' would be, turns out, it's just a salad) at a place called The Rabbit Hole.

We went to the newly refurbished Auckland Art Gallery to see the exhibition 'Degas to Dali'. The gallery is really nice, and the exhibition was good too. We were given the strangest survey to fill out as we left the gallery though, it included such questions as, 'Are you a spiritual person? Do you like going to the countryside as often as possible?'

In one section of the building they had the original pillars showing through the wall which was interesting. I loved the fabric flowers hanging from the ceiling in the foyer of one of the gallery's levels - the flowers all move.

My next brunch had a ridiculous amount of avocado. I basically ate a whole avocado. I also had fresh pineapple and mint juice which was excellent.

At Sophie's house they are growing impressive chillies and have swing ball. Their garden is very tropical. Auckland grows on me more every time I go there.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Around and about

Circenses' big top under construction; Nova climbing on the rocks outside Te Papa; a tree on my way home; some excellent sunflowers on Aro Street (the photo's a bit crooked because I took it quickly from across the road, I'm very aware that standing outside a house taking photos for no apparent reason could look a bit dodgy); very well made puppets from Puppet Fiction which was on during the Fringe in the Pit Bar at BATS. I have still never seen Pulp Fiction (even though it was one of the reasons classic movie Sunday started in the first place) so the scene I watched that night was very stressful.