The Final Fling
It’s the last week of the Festival. I have mixed feelings – lots of joy, a little sadness and a wee bit of relief that I am still surviving.
My joy comes from the wonderful audience response we have had to so many shows. The superlatives have abounded and the quality of the work is truly amazing. One always has doubts even after seeing the work live somewhere. Will our audiences react the same way as audiences in another part of the world? Check out a few reviews here.
My sadness comes from seeing great artists visit our country, loving the manaaki and hospitality, the audiences, the people on the street and then knowing we have to say goodbye again. Every single artist has not wanted to leave. This morning in the wee small hours the fabulous cast from Macbeth left to return home. Their feedback to us has been so positive. And their gift to us was their performance. A triumph.
While a wee bit tired, particularly from being seduced into the TimeOut Festival Garden every night to hear the free music, meet the artists and talk to audience members and friends (wasn’t Saturday night extraordinary, with the mysterious White Night vibe in the Garden?!), I am looking forward to returning to a normal life. But we have one more fabulous week and I am very excited about the artists still to perform.
Highlights still to come include:
Mark Thomas’ Bravo Figaro – a beautiful tale of love, fathers and family. Told with humour and humility – this is a must see for everyone who has a Dad – so that’s all of us.
Last night’s opening had a packed house laughing out loud with Mark as he told of his anarchist background and his differences with his Dad. Then, before we knew it, we were in tears. I had forgotten how much Mark’s work meant to me, and last night I saw that it meant a lot to other people as well.
iTMOi by Akram Khan is a contemporary ballet honoring the genius of Stravinsky’s ballet, The Rite of Spring, which sparked a riot at its first performance in 1913. However, iTMOi is issued straight from the mind of Khan. It's his own angels and demons in play, his own experience of the hurtling, dangerous forces that generate art.
FELA! The Concert is a full-on music-theatre extravaganza featuring the music of Fela Kuti, with a 10-piece band, singers and dancers.
“ Fela! The Concert is loud, bright and energetic – go along ready to dance” - Adelaide In Daily
“One of Fela Kuti’s central beliefs was that music should be used for good. This concert is on message” – Adelaide Now
Before coming to the show, get some background on this freedom fighting musician by taking in the fascinating documentary, Finding Fela, for free in the Festival Garden on Wednesday at 9.30 pm.
White is magical, for children from 2 – 4 years old, and oldies like me. I was entranced when I saw this production many years ago. From the same writer and company who brought The Ballad of Pondlife McGurk last Festival, White will have littlies spellbound.
And continuing this week is The Book of Everything. After seeing the performance on Saturday night, Metro’s editor Simon Wilson tweeted, "I know, I’m raving. I don’t always, not by any means. But this one, I loved."
Reviews have been so positive for this gorgeously directed, wonderfully performed and designed work. The Book of Everything is both hard hitting and uplifting. While many children from nine years and older have attended, it does require parental guidance. So if you want to take your children, talk to them about the issues first.
On the final weekend we will all be in the TimeOut Festival Garden during the day for Family Garden time and the Family Day. If you or your kids want an outrageous new hairdo, or to draw with famous NZ artists, or make lei, listen to music, learn to hip hop dance, make sure you get to the Festival Garden. It’s such fun and it’s all free. The cyclone has passed, the rain has stopped and we can expect beautiful fine days for our last weekend of fun.
We just had our final artists powhiri with mana whenua and Festival staff to welcome our manuhiri from overseas. The cast and crew of Fela!, iTMOi, The Kitchen, Bravo Figaro!, Electric Swing Circus and many others were there. The atmosphere was wonderful and everyone felt completely uplifted and rejuvenated – even after long flights. There was a sense of joint purpose, as each artist looked forward to sharing their gifts with all New Zealanders.
Happy festival-ing. You can sleep next week.
Images (from top): Payasam for audiences at The Kitchen, Patrick Carroll as Thomas in The Book of Everything, Lei play at the TimeOut Festival Garden. All images by Gate Photography.