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CALENDAR 2 - 20 MARCH 2011

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Updates from the 2011 Artistic DirectorElisabeth EastherSchools Review CompetitionReviews
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Plenty more music, plenty more to see

By David Malacari - 14 Mar 2011
We are right in the middle of the Festival and it will be over before we realise, so there's no time to lose. Already the critical and audience response has been very gratifying.

Vietnamese Waters Puppets has been one of the highlights of the Garden Theatre. The lanterns down the walkway beside the Town Hall hint at the presence of these delightful puppets but you need to see this show to believe it. And if it drizzles you'll get a free poncho to keep you dry while the puppeteers work their magic in the temporary lake. There's nothing like a bit of drizzle to remind you that autumn is nearly with Auckland. The performers come out for their curtain call to remind us that they have been waist deep in water behind the bamboo curtain the whole time operating the puppets.

The Manganiyar Seduction opened in the mighty Civic last week. One review likened the concert to 'a vertical orchestra'. Three rows of curtained cubicles stacked one on top of the other become the platforms for a transformative musical experience that you will not forget. This week in the Civic, on the final day of the Festival, a 'Foley' or sound FX artist will help create the live soundtrack to the screening of Carnival of Souls, alongside Leon Radojkovic and his band Dr Colossus. You can still book for this fantastic show.

Maguy Marin's incredible work May B, completed its season last week and was a testament to the brilliance of author and playwright Samuel Beckett as well as to choreographer Maguy Marin's genius. May B is a refined and seminal work of dance-theatre , now on its 30th anniversary tour and it was a privilege to have it in Auckland as part of the largest survey of French dance theatre, FranceDanse New Zealand 2011, ever held in the Southern Hemisphere. The last of the FranceDanse productions, Jerome Bel's The Show Must Go On, opens this week.

Performances of First Love and The End, two of Beckett's prose works are also opening this week. Both are wickedly funny and again illustrate what an amazing writer he was.

Xiang Xou, and Lautten Compagney's performances had audiences moved. Many concert goers have told me how much they enjoyed the performance of Timeless which juxtaposed music from the 16th century with that of the 20th centuries to the point where it is difficult to tell which was which.

The reception for Martha Wainwright was fantastic. We are hoping for her to return again soon.

And the Ihimaera concert had an amazing roster of local artists of international stature.

There is plenty more music and plenty more to see: The Auckland Philharmonia next Friday and Music with Flavours of Asia in between including Spirit of India: Shehnai and Flute, O'Cambodia, New Purple Forbidden City Orchestra and the New Zealand String Quartet. On top of that Paul Kelly sings his A-Z and the venues of Auckland are full of life-affirming, entertaining, challenging and provocative theatre and dance: Gaff Aff from Switzerland, Douglas Wright from New Zealand, U-Theatre from Taiwan, Titeres Porno from Colombia and a week more of the Vietnamese Water Puppets, Smoke & Mirrors and the delightful Festival Garden in Aotea Square.

Be there, get into it. Get a ticket to a great arts experience.


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