Taken from The Lumiere, by Sam Brooks.
They Saw a Thylacine
(Sarah Hamilton/Justine Campbell)
Two Australian women and an unassuming set didn’t prepare for one of the most intellectually engaging and rhythmically powerful works I’ve seen this year. A proudly environmentalist work, and an even more assured theatrical one. Utterly essential.
(Bullet Heart Club)
The best new New Zealand work to premiere this year by a country mile, Daffodils
was as much a celebration of a certain generation and their music as it was a condemnation of their “she’ll be right” mentality. Stunning music, performances, and direction is just the icing on the cake.
(Nightsong Productions / Theatre Stampede)
If all theatre that took this many risks could be so accomplished and downright pleasant. As much about the simultaneously loving and destructive nature of family as it was about its own spectacle, 360 – A Theatre of Recollections
is the kind of show that deserves to run for ever.
Angels in America
One of the best plays of the last 30 years given a production it truly deserves, and that Auckland theatre deserves. A marathon just for an audience to get through; the first time I was struck into awe by the sheer magnitude of the production, the second time I was caught off guard by the precision of it. The achievement of the year.
’s larger show The Night Sky
was the bigger, flashier spectacle, but The Wilderness
is what lingers in my mind. Wondrous, engaging, and gorgeous in equal spades, it’s the most adventurous and brave blend of music and theatre that I’ve ever seen.
When The Rain Stops Falling
In on a technicality, this production staged by the Court Theatre
remains one of the most wondrously huge pieces of theatre I’ve seen this year. It takes Andrew Bovell’s elephantine text magnified four hundred percent. Beautiful visuals and a committed cast complete the package.
Both Sides Now
(Auckland International Cabaret Season)
Julia Deans does Joni Mitchell. That’s all you should need. But more than just a great singer recounting the hits of a great songwriter, Deans delved deep into the back catalogue and soul of Mitchell for one of the most emotionally engaged shows of the year.
A horror for the millennial set, Silo
gave us Amy Herzog’s deeply unsettling treatise on the problems with our generation, and Oliver Driver
’s production lifted it into body-shaking horror. It stuck with me.
(Okareka Dance Company)
I know next to nothing about dance, but my own visceral response and the response of those around me told me that Mana Wahine
was not only a special world, but an angry, stirring and profoundly human one. Dance for the soul.
Lies + What Have You Done To Me
(Stephen Bain / Nisha Mahdan)
If there were two shows that made me believe more of what theatre could be, it was these. The former was a performance of courtship that was like watching somebody cut a raw nerve onstage, the latter was a tribute to the performances that we all take quietly without questioning. Both reminders of theatre’s continual growth; both triumphs in every sense of the word.
Read the full list here