Day 4

Above: Ann-Droid

Gemma Carroll reviewed this performance of Valerie for Theatreview: "This is theatre for the wild, bleeding soul; for those not afraid to sit with discomfort and to inevitably feel hope and the strength of the indomitable human spirit. Highly, highly, recommended. Our standing ovation is from the depths of our hearts."

The Hook (thehook.nz) have been busy reviewing all our shows. For those who missed yesterday's festival offerings, you can experience them vicariously through Jess, Toby and Ian's words:

Valerie: "..the more one family here and another family there share their own telling of this thing we label 'mental health' the easier it is for all the others to open up their dark cupboards, and free their ghosts...this show is a gift, and a love story."

Wilson Dixon: "In a very funny show, Dixon paints a vivid picture of his family... all brought to life through hilarious anecdotes (think trailer trash hicks, think Deliverance)."

Cuentos de Espana: "We are now in Spain! Jose’s gestures, the way he holds himself, in fact all of him, in his velvet coat, paint a picture of you-know-where. He flicks his head and we imagine a matador."


What a full evening! Valerie stunned us with its emotional force and intelligence, and a score of original beautifully, movingly delivered songs. Followed by Wilson Dixon, who kept the Spiegeltent chuckling for a good hour with his constant stream of laid-back country humour and weirdly logical, guitar-strummed philosophising.

The braziers are lit in the Festival Garden, folk are lingering, talking. Another successful festival day, and the long weekend before us, with its promise of spectacular happenings, entertainments, delights and discoveries aplenty.


Andy Heast has just seen Ann-droid, along with 300 rapt school children:

It's a masterpiece, there's no better word, bringing a magical experience to the child in all of us.


At the MTG in Napier, there was a reverent, hushed stillness in the audience over a (fittingly) extended lunch hour as Anna Pierard, Jose Aparacio and Lorelle McNaughton shared temperamental flavours of Spain. Delicious, definitely to be savoured... Cuentos de Espana is on tomorrow night at 7pm at the Blyth.


And if you haven't got your tickets yet to Valerie, don't let that dissuade you from coming down to the Spiegeltent tonight - there will be door-sales. This was Pitsch's pick from the Edinburgh Fringe, which he was lucky enough to attend in September. The buzz is already building for those who know they're on to a good thing.

Our late night show, Wilson Dixon, has been sold out for weeks, and tickets to the matinee performance of Cuentos de Espana at the MTG today are selling fast. The message is, don't shilly-shally as ticket sales are moving quickly.

Sold-out shows to date, include Promise & Promiscuity and the festival finale, Carnivorous Plant Society and Hopetoun Brown. Greg Johnson's Every Song has a Story and the writers workshops tomorrow with Anna Mackenzie have limited seats left.


Our Schools to Festival programme is running hot. Today The Nukes head to Wairoa to run ukelele workshops and performances for 10 local schools, 950+ kids...woohoo! They'll be back for White Night and for their Spiegeltent show on Sunday.

At the Blyth today, Katalin Lengyel and Szabolcs Toth-Zs (all the way from Hungary), will be entertaining 330+ students from 6 schools with their quirky, interactive show Ann-Droid. We can't wait for the public showing tomorrow. Look out for more in our Festival Stories - we're hoping to catch a few words with them in the Festival Garden this afternoon.

Motif Poetry has been steadily building towards our inaugural Battle of Hastings - Poetry Slam tomorrow night, which links in with similar battles around the country's main centres this month. They'll be holding one of their regular open mic poetry sharings this evening in CommonTate (at the Common Room in Hastings). The event's mastermind, Ben Fagan, has written a piece for the Spinoff on the phenomenon of slam poetry - you can read it here.

Welly slam



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