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2018 Reviews

Air Play

Air Play

Having an audience engaged and right there with you within seconds of opening a show is a feat that must be acknowledged right up front. Christina Gelsone and Seth Bloom do this with Air Play and are utterly charming and delightful from that moment until they take their bows. There’s no hard work involved for the audience at any stage. Children laugh and marvel out loud. Adults do as well. - Theatreview

 

Ann-Droid

Ann-Droid

This charming story is told with assistance from a LED-encrusted dress and headgear, a small ball-shaped robot and a drone. The use of modern technology including the animated backdrop create a setting that will charm and engage any audience from age 2 to 102. The crescendo is blindingly well-executed and unforgettable. - Theatreview

Rhian Sheehan

Rhian Sheehan

Compositions constantly swelled to a satisfyingly textured and layered soundscape. The audience was invited to enter dream worlds created not just by Sheehan's band, but with the aid of images projected onto the screen veils. The always impressive Dunedin Youth Orchestra string section, under the baton of Anthony Ritchie, were well employed. - Otago Daily Times

Knee Deep

Knee Deep

The immersion in the performance is both charmed and complete. Arts Festival Dunedin is to be applauded for bringing Knee Deep to Dunedin, for exposing Dunedin arts lovers to work of this calibre – for its entertainment value as well as the appreciation of the immense skill and dedication of the performers. - Theatreview

Attila the Hun

Attila the Hun

What do you get when you cross a late-night burger bar with Attila the Hun? A belly ache, that’s what you get, and that’s just from the laughing! Well-crafted, beautifully delivered and full of laughter and depth, Attila the Hun is a razor-sharp commentary on the pressures of modern life. Bravo! - Theatreview

Beloved Muse

Beloved Muse

Blaha and Black are both very accomplished indeed, and Dunedin audiences are lucky to have the opportunity to see this work performed by its enigmatic muse. The performance is a fitting way to open this year’s festival. - Theatreview

Born Out Of Curiosity

Born Out Of Curiosity

The work is beautiful. The performance is engaging. Enough said. - Theatreview

Dark Matter

Dark Matter

This work is all about the lighting, which is beautifully and exactly choreographed - it is amazing what can be expressed with a single lightbeam. This incredibly technical work is not a passive performance - the watcher has to work for it, but the reward is ultimately there. - Otago Daily Times

Don McGlashan

Don McGlashan

An excited full house reciprocated the relaxed warmth of award-winning musician Don McGlashan at the Glenroy Auditorium with spontaneous sing-alongs, foot stamping, standing ovations and cheers. A rich salute to New Zealand's distinctions. - Otago Daily Times

French for Rabbits

French for Rabbits

Despite creating some of New Zealand’s most hauntingly beautiful music, their live shows are often interspersed with humour, sideways charm and unexpected tangents. They’ve been described as able to make a concert hall feel like a living room, as they bring people into their dreamy, earthy, sweet, sad, funny old world.

Jane Doe

Jane Doe

If a measure of good theatre is whether you are changed by it, Jane Doe has succeeded beyond doubt with these young women. Bishop has been careful not to sensationalise the sensitive subject matter, the production is anything but dull. Congratulations to the Festival for supporting accomplished work that carries such a powerful social message. - Theatreview

Killergrams

Killergrams

Killergrams delivers a stark and compelling live act, sharing a love for solid blues, country and alt-rock styles, along with well-crafted lyrics. Moving from acoustic and electric guitars to the piano, sometimes in the same song, Killergrams offers a great show. 

Michael Houstoun

Michael Houstoun

New Zealand professional pianist Michael Houstoun has been enthralling audiences internationally and in this country for more than 45 years. Dramatic outbursts contrasted with passionate returning nostalgic themes, and his rapt audience rewarded with a long applause and standing ovation. - Otago Daily Times

Miss Jean Batten

Miss Jean Batten

Any piece of solo theatre is carried by the strength and skill of the sole actor, and Alex Ellis is no exception. Just like Jean Batten’s flight, Ellis’s delivery is soaringly majestic, leading us through frustrations, fear and passion in a storm of memories and emotion. I am struck by her pure love and joy for the art and science of flight. Why does she do it? Because she wants to. - Theatreview

My Best Dead Friend

My Best Dead Friend

The performance strikes me more as a portrait of a friendship, with a nod to the transitory nature of life and youth. Whatever the creators’ intended message, it makes me laugh and cry, think and feel. It is very, very good. My Best Dead Friend is funny and beautiful and devastating. - Theatreview

NZTrio Exotica

NZTrio Exotica

Performing together for the first time with a new line-up of musicians, these rock stars of the classical world – Ashley Brown, founding cellist, Andrew Beer, APO concertmaster, and Stephen De Pledge, international piano soloist – invite you for an evening of tapas-style music. 

Shot Bro

Shot Bro

In a culture where men are taught that showing emotion is weak, it’s an important message, and resonates with the audience. Mokaraka is a skilled entertainer, and manipulates the energy in the room with ease. - Theatreview

Songs for Nobodies

Songs for Nobodies

Harper’s characterisation is dazzling. Each character distinct in voice, stance and delivery; every facet clearly conveyed with charm and humour. And then there is the singing. Building on her delivery of each personality, the delivery of each diva’s music is perfection. The voice, the nuance, the feeling – it is breath-taking. - Theatreview

St Paul's at One

St Paul's at One

Dunedin-based international operatic soprano Anna Leese joined local pianist and internationally renowned accompanist Terence Dennis in an outstanding recital of art songs and operatic arias in St Paul's Cathedral. This was magnificent recital from two of our country's top musicians. - Otago Daily Times

Tell Me My Name

Tell Me My Name

Manhire, from time to time, offers an opening line or two from the next riddle to be performed; perhaps a little insight into Anglo-Saxon riddles or other snippets of interest. The performance is all about the riddles being sung by the beautiful voice of Griffin, supported by the show’s music composer Norman Meehan on piano and Martin Riseley on violin. - Theatreview

The Kugels

The Kugels

Yes, they are fine musicians, and yes, their ensemble is excellent, but there’s something else that’s far more important: the Kugels clearly love Klezmer, and they also love encouraging others to love it. And what’s more, they’re fighting a winning battle. - Seen and Heard

The Maori Sidesteps

The Maori Sidesteps

The [Maori Sidesteps] style proved hugely popular with the audience, as they trawled through a programme of about 20 songs, with humorous banter. Vocal style and blended harmony was impressive, and one guitar and bongo drum were ideal accompaniment. - Otago Daily Times

Valerie

Valerie

Valerie is an intergenerational, inter-disciplinary story that goes to the very heart of family mythologies. Music, genetics and storytelling merge to explore and unravel a family history of mental illness in a celebration of resilience, compassion and love.