Reviews - Rupert

Reviewed by Janet McAllister, NZ Herald.

This Auckland Theatre Company romp through Rupert Murdoch's trials and tribulations is highly enjoyable but not entirely satisfying.

It's fun seeing a large cast of experienced talent being put through their comic paces by director Colin McColl as they quick-change between myriad characters. Particularly hilarious are Stephen Lovatt's rouge-cheeked marionette Ronald Reagan, Hera Dunleavy's straight-laced seductress Margaret Thatcher, and Simon Prast relishing his homophobic lines about hellfire as a Fox News host. Also very funny are Adam Gardiner as a young ball-scratching Packer brat in yellow swimmers, and ATC newcomers JJ Fong and Arlo MacDiarmid.

Jennifer Ward-Lealand is an empathetic straight woman while Stuart Devenie plays ringmaster Murdoch as surprisingly subdued (he's sometimes hard to hear), perhaps in deliberate contrast to the excellent Damien Avery whose "young Murdoch" is all brash get-up-and-go. The Murdochs get to keep their dignity where their foes (such as fired Aussie Prime Minister Gough Whitlam) do not.

Read the full review here.

Read the Theatreview review here.
Read the Metro review here.
Read the Theatre Scenes review here.


by David Williamson
25 June - 25 July

The most powerful media magnate in modern history, Rupert Murdoch, takes a cabaret-style romp down memory lane to give us his cleverly crafted version of his life. Watch as Rupert tap-dances his way to early success across the ditch, discos towards his big American breakthroughs, shares a fiery post-Falklands tango with Margaret Thatcher, and charms some of the most powerful players of the twentieth-century.

A smash hit at the box office when it premiered at the Melbourne Theatre Company, Rupert is now scheduled for a West End run. Rupert is a scintillating celebration of avarice, acumen and the lifestyles of the super-rich and famous. With legends and larrikins, song and dance, Williamson's irreverent and irresistible expose of media, money, power and politics is sure to be 2015's maverick theatrical event. Scandalously audacious!

featuring Stuart Devenie, Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Damien Avery and Simon Prast
direction by Colin McColl

for more information and to book tickets visit the Auckland Theatre Company website

48 Hours Auckland City Finals Winners

Taken from 48 Hours.

Congratulations to all Auckland teams for 2015. Here are the results from tonight's show.

AUCKLAND CITY WINNER - Bread Winner - Chess Club - Musical Movie

AUCKLAND CITY RUNNER UP - Hard To Read - Peru - Musical Movie

V Best Actress - Amanda Billing - Tide - King Gains Bury Bitches
V Best Actor  - Barnaby Fredric - Bread Winner - Chess Club
CANON Regional Best Cinematography - Sinistral - Daryl Habraken
LETTERBOXD Best Director Award - Benjamin Brooking & Anna Duckworth - Peru
Best School Team - Marck Wan Productions - Closed on Sundays
Best Original Song - Hard to Read by Paul Williams - Peru
Best Original Score - Pthios at Play by E. F. J. Fagan - Hybrid Motion Pictures
Best Animation - Dogs Breakfast - Barry's World
Best Script  - Chess Club - Bread Winner
Best Editing - Allan George & Ben Fowler - Sideways Productions
RIALTO CHANNEL Rising Talent Award - Marck Wan Productions - Closed on Sundays
Best Makeup - Chillybox - Clean Getaway
INCREDIBLY STRANGE Film - Inappropriate Pictures - The Wrong Jar
Best Use of character - Chillybox - Clean Getaway
Best Use of the prop - Pie Productions - Voodough
Best Use of the line - Pikelet - Mr Baker

Filthy Rich: NZ’s most expensive TV show starts filming

Taken from NZ Herald.

Filming has begun on the country's most expensive television series, appropriately titled Filthy Rich, set to screen on TV2 next year.

The multi-night drama will star Miriama Smith opposite a cast of up-and-comers, including Josh McKenzie, Alex Tarrant, Taylor Hall and Emma Fenton.

They'll be joined by familiar faces, including Elizabeth Hawthorne and Jodie Rimmer.

The series, produced by Shortland Street's Steven Zanoski, received $8.25 million of funding from New Zealand on Air, the most money ever handed out to a single drama series.

Read the full article here.

Stan Walker, Rhys Darby join Taika Waititi’s Barry Crump movie

Taken from NZ Herald.

Stan Walker and Rhys Darby have joined Sam Neill in the cast of Taika Waititi's movie adaptation of a book by Barry Crump.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which is based on Crump's Wild Pork and Watercress, stars Neill as the cantankerous foster uncle Hec who goes bush in the Ureweras with his city kid nephew Ricky after Social Welfare threatens to put the boy into a home.

Singer and X Factor NZ judge Walker and comedian Darby have supporting roles in the film which is already shooting in West Auckland and the Central Plateau, from where Walker posted a weather report from the set on instagram.

Read the full article here.

Maori TV’s home-grown winners enrich comedy scene

Taken from NZ Herald, by Alex Casey.

Overshadowed by other seismic shifts in our TV landscape, Maori TV recently debuted local Friday-night comedies Brown Eye and Find Me a Maori Bride. Going head-to-head with comedy juggernauts Jono and Ben and 7 Days, both shows are adding some much-needed fresh perspectives to New Zealand television comedy.

... Find Me a Maori Bride is the second new comedy kid on the block, a fantastic mockumentary following two culturally-estranged cousins forced to marry a Maori woman in order to return to tradition - and secure a $47 million inheritance. It's the perfect blend of comedy, culture and chaotic camerawork - shambolically following the characters on their equally shaky journeys to love.

We meet George and Tama as they begin dating and desperately trying to claw back their cultural roots to win over the wahine. Stereotypes are brought to the fore and treated playfully; a comedic exploration of what it means to be Maori in modern New Zealand.

"I'm allergic to seafood, I've never owned a Bob Marley CD in my life," George laments. Te reo is peppered throughout the script, and subsequently misused by Amanda Billing's character Crystal. Subtitles reveal the English names for her children (one is called Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls.)

Read the full article here.

Must-see TV: Find Me A Maori Bride

Taken from NZ Herald.

No, it's not the Maori TV answer to The Bachelor NZ. Though there are plenty of moments in the early episodes of Find Me A Maori Bride just as excruciatingly hilarious as the recent reality show.

Only this time they are intentional - Find Me A Maori Bride is a mock reality series, one that has much fun skewering the fly-on-the-wall genre.

Fortunately, the makers of Find Me A Maori Bride have had some practice with that, having done the same on Auckland Daze, which mocked a bunch of struggling actors and their fragile egos.

Fans of Daze will find a lot to like here. Folks who don't like flash Aucklanders will too.

Read the full article here.

Westside: Outrageous Fortune rewinds the clock

Taken from NZ Herald, by Lydia Jenkins.

It opens at Mt Eden Prison, January 24, 1974, with Ted West walking out of the gate, finally free. He's all sideburns and leather jacket, mixed with a cheeky grin and sidelong glance. It turns out he's been inside for three years, having copped the sentence for the bungled burglary of a safe at Smith & Caughey's.

Yes, Ted West, criminal mastermind, is back. But it's not Outrageous Fortune, season seven. The original show's creators Rachel Lang and James Griffin have turned back the clock to find Ted in his prime. He's a charismatic 30-something, with a firecracker of a wife in Rita, and an 11-year-old son,Wolf, who's already showing signs of following in his father's footsteps.

There are lamingtons and screwdrivers, sausage rolls and crates of beer, lots of orange, lots of brown, vintage Holdens and Fords. This is Westside, the tale of Ted, his family and his gang, cruising and bruising through the 1970s.

Lang and Griffin never expected to return to the notorious West family - as Lang says, after they finished Outrageous Fortune in 2010, they were "really quite shagged". But though she was looking for a local historical criminal event to base a new series on, the idea for Westside popped up.

Read the full article here.

What Now’s new presenter Bianca Seinafo

Taken from

Bianca Seinafo has just been named as What Now's new presenter. She tells James Croot a bit about herself and what she's most looking-forward to in her new role.

Firstly, congratulations Bianca. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Bromley, Christchurch with a household of three brothers and two sisters, so my parents had their very own version of The Brady Bunch. Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my wonderful church family - The Tafesilafa'l Community. This is where I got to strut my stuff on the Sunday school stage, I guess you can say. That's where my love for performance started. I love eating, laughing and spending time with my family.

What made you decide you wanted to be a What Now presenter?
Reading the job description and thinking back to when I was a kid watching. I knew I wanted to be part of the chaotic, funny, quirky and fast-paced world of What Now. The biggest factor in my decision to putting myself forward, was my two gorgeous nephews Cassius and Corleone. They watch the show and LOVE IT, so being able to say Aunty Bee is going to try and be on What Now and them seeing me pursue a goal of mine, was definitely very motivating!

Read the full interview here.

Ex-Shorty star fights off big screen zombies

Taken from NZ Herald, by Dominic Corry.

Chances are you've seen Mike Edward's face on television in the past 15 years. And if you've seen his face, you've probably seen his chest, too. A perennial small-screen presence from City Life to Nothing Trivial, Edward is perhaps most recognisable as Shortland Street villain Zac Smith.

Now Edward is putting his TV experience to good use in the new local film, I Survived A Zombie Holocaust, which hits cinemas on Friday, when it will be released simultaneously on DVD and on Video On Demand (VOD).

The low-budget Kiwi horror comedy presents a spin on the crowded zombie genre - it's about a zombie film shoot that is overrun by actual zombies. Edward plays the egotistical lead actor of the film-within-a-film, a would-be action hero whose real-life failings are laid bare when things get hairy.

Having played more than his fair share of "hunks" thanks to his Spartacus-ready physique, Edward relished the opportunity to subvert those kinds of characters in the film.

"The second I got the script I went: 'Wow. I can play that total cliche [of the action hero], and also the real human under that that's insecure and weird and has some issues'. So I can get to play both. I remember in the audition script, he busts down a door and his shirt comes open. So you just go with it.

Read the full article here.
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