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Reviews - Lysistrata

Reviewed by Paul Simei-Barton, NZ Herald.

Speaking across a gulf of 2400 years, Aristophanes' raunchy comic fantasy about women abstaining from sex to force their men to end the Peloponnesian War delivers an emphatic affirmation of sassy, get-it-girl empowerment.

Michael Hurst's racy adaptation is true to the spirit of the play rather than the letter, with Athenian women strutting the stage as Sex and the City-style cougars while the Spartans are given an amusing East European vibe.

Classics scholars may be disappointed to see Aristophanes' sparkling verse replaced by coarse modern idioms but there is compensation in the inclusion of ancient Greek poems presented in beautiful musical settings with John Gibson's score creating a strangely hypnotic fusion that is both timeless and contemporary.

The blending of ancient and modern is most effectively carried off in Shona McCullagh's choreography which brilliantly evokes the earthy bawdiness of the comedy while hinting at the inaccessible world of Greek ritual with surreal dance sequences that celebrate the wild power of unrestrained female sexuality.


Read the full review here.

Read the Theatreview review here.
Read the Metro review here.
   

New webseries ‘Game Over’ launches

“When I grow up, I want to marry a grown man addicted to playing video games,” said nobody ever.

Game Over is a ten part web series following the lives of four Kiwi girls who bond together from their shared hate of computer games. In a quest to stop their addicted boyfriends from gaming their lives away, the four girls start up a secret club. Can these four unlikely friends band together to reclaim their relationships and freedom?

Directed by Trish Phelan, the cast and crew behind Game Over are a mix of multi-talented females. With their skills in directing, writing, improv and comedy, only very good things can come from such a talented and fresh group of women.

Featuring Auckland Actors' Lana Walters and Jess Holly Bates.


Watch the series here.
   

Westside gets $7.6m funding for second season

Taken from NZ Herald.

A second season of Outrageous Fortune prequel Westside has been confirmed in the latest funding announcement from NZ on Air.

NZ on Air has announced that $20.3 million from its first funding round of the financial year will be invested in local drama and documentaries.

Fans of Outrageous Fortune's West family will be treated to a second series of prequel Westside on TV3, with 10 new episodes announced at a cost of $7.6 million.

A new series announced for TV One is Dirty Laundry, a 13-part drama centred on a middle-class family whose mother is jailed for money laundering, while the rest of the family must decide whether to keep her business interests going to sustain their lifestyle.


Read the full article here.
   

Top of the Lake 2 moves to Oz

Taken from if.com.au, by Don Groves.

The sequel to Top of the Lake will be set and shot in Sydney.

Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss returns as Detective Robin Griffin, who investigates a criminal case in the Harbour City.

Jane Campion and Gerard Lee, who created the original 6-part series, are writing the scripts for Top of the Lake 2.

BBC2 commissioned a sequel after the first series, which followed Griffin as she investigated the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old girl in New Zealand, was nominated for eight Emmys and won the gong for best cinematography for a TV movie or miniseries.


Read the full article here.
   

Ex-Shorty St star summons Greek goddess in latest role

Taken from NZ Herald, by Cherie Howie.

On stage, she's the leader of a sex strike, aimed at ending a 20-year-old war. Off stage, Amanda Billing can't fathom such a drastic move.

The former Shortland Street star is playing Lysistrata, the heroine of the Greek comedy of the same name penned by playwright Aristophanes almost 2,500 years ago.

The Michael Hurst-adapted and directed play begins a 3.5-week season at Auckland's Q Theatre on July 30.

In it, Billing's Lysistrata leads a group of women, including characters played by longtime screen and theatre actor Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Step Dave's Sia Trokenheim and Hannah Tasker-Poland, on a sex strike. They also take control of Athens' money, both of which outrage the men.

Playing Lysistrata was "the best make-believe" she'd ever done as an adult, Billing told the Herald on Sunday.

"We're really grounded into our female energy. It's lots of fun. Being a girl, being a priestess, spiritual being. Summoning Aphrodite, that's something every woman should do on a daily basis."


Read the full article here.
   

The Man Who Disappeared

Taken from NZ Herald, by Dionne Christian.

Because they had been to many Edinburgh Fringe Festival shows, Rochelle Bright and Kitan Petkovski made a decision: the next show from their theatre company, Bullet Heart Club, would be completely different from the debut production, the much-loved, award-winning Daffodils.

It would feature a more complex, darker story which would push every element of the music, story and staging. The result is The Deliberate Disappearance of My Friend, Jack Hartnett, with an original soundtrack and an epic story which jumps from Auckland to Amsterdam but is performed by just one actor, Todd Emerson, with a live band comprising composer Abraham Kunin, Leon Radojkovic (Brel, Live, Live Cinema) and Alex Freer, who will tour with Tiny Ruins and Bic Runga later this year.

Bright says Daffodils, a nostalgic cabaret-style story of her parents' romance, put the heart into Bullet Heart Club, whereas Jack Hartnett provided the bullet. Although different in tone and genre to Daffodils, it stays within their signature style of bringing together contemporary music, media and stories.


Read the full article here.
   

AAANZ Press Release on Hobsonville Studio plans

The Actors Agents Association of New Zealand (AAANZ) supports the decision by Auckland Council to allow ATEED to seek arrangements for a film studio precinct at Hobsonville Point.

The AAANZ wholeheartedly agrees with the Auckland Development Committee’s decision to greenlight Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED)’s proposal to put together a deal for the private sector to either lease or buy 20ha of council-owned land at Hobsonville Point to develop a purpose built screen precinct, with 10ha to be used for new housing.

The AAANZ is the organisation which advocates for both the nation’s actors agents and their actor clients. Its members are certain that Auckland needs to facilitate the setting up of an integrated screen precinct which supports studio facilities as well as general industry and specific screen training for all disciplines. We believe that the creation of this precinct will attract and support both international and local film and television productions as well as provide a central location for the many service suppliers such as equipment rentals, training institutions, fx creators, casting directors and agents.

ATEED have highlighted that in the last year alone there were a significant number of productions that were unable to use Auckland due to the region’s poor studio infrastructure. The changes made to the financial incentives for productions last year are but one part of the revival of the industry and the creation of this precinct will both ensure the retention of existing jobs and the creation of additional ones across the industry. The opportunities will encompass onset jobs and the creation of intellectual property (IP), a stated objective of the government.

Auckland’s screen production industry is a very important part of both the regional and the national economy. The AAANZ looks forward to continuing to support the initiative as it is finalised.

Media enquiries:
Graham Dunster (AAANZ Chair) graham@aucklandactors.co.nz
   

Flicks Interview: Deathgasm

Taken from Flicks.co.nz

Finally… We finally get to see Deathgasm, the homegrown heavy metal horror that’s been wowing international audiences. And in venues like The Civic, no less! High on anticipation, we talked to director Jason Lei Howden about his film before the first Kiwi audiences get to experience the craziness as part of the NZ International Film Festival.


FLICKS: You must be pretty excited about bringing your movie back home.

Yeah, very excited. It’s been crazy. I’ve been to audiences in America and Brazil and Sydney so it’s been really exciting to come back. It’s kind of like a hometown screening I guess.

Big time. What are you most looking forward to about seeing it was a bunch of Kiwis?

It’s going to be great to share it with all the people that have worked on it and put so much into it who haven’t seen it yet. That’s really exciting.

And also seeing how Kiwis respond to the humour. It had a really good screening to a sold out audience in Sydney at the Film Festival a few weeks ago. Yeah, really looking forward to seeing how that goes.

I guess there’s a precedent for Kiwi splatter-comedy-horror-awesome-nonsense travelling really well internationally. It’s not like it’s something that audiences overseas haven’t seen before. Do you think it’s going to be a tougher audience back home?

I guess there is the cringe factor which seems to have changed a bit recently, but yeah, there was a time when New Zealanders couldn’t watch people with New Zealand accents on TV and movies. Not so long ago even. Hopefully, that’s changing. We got a great response in the US. I didn’t even know that we’ve almost got a reputation for these crazy horror movies now. A lot of people in the US, that’s what they think of when they think of New Zealand cinema. It’s great to be contributing to that image I guess.


Read the full interview here.
   

48 Hours Film Competition Results

Taken from NZ Herald.

A musical about a man seeking revenge over losing the last loaf of bread in a supermarket has taken out the top title at the Rialto Channel 48Hours film-making competition.

Bread Winner was announced the top short film out of 700 entries in the annual event, which sees groups of budding filmmakers spending a weekend shooting a movie as quickly as they can.


Read the full article here.

See all the results from the 48 Hours Film Competition here.
   

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
   
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