The new stage version of Disney musical MARY POPPINS comes garlanded with awards and critical accolades; it has all those great Sherman Brothers songs; its book is by Julian Fellowes and its originating director in London was Richard Eyre. Which is all well and good, but the million-dollar question remains: will Australian Matt Lee manage to replicate in Bert what is widely held to be the worst cockney accent in cinematic history on the part of Dick Van Dyke. Gor blimey, Guv, it just won’t be the same otherwise. As for the minor matter of Mary: she’ll be played by Rachel Wallace, who toured the US twice in the role. The Civic, Auckland, from October 18.
The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s FORBIDDEN LOVE concert comes with a sexed-up title and an even more sexed-up marketing campaign (just look at the lips going for a pash in those posters and ads). The NZSO isn’t slow, either, in pushing the recent UK album-chart success of soloist Nicola Benedetti, whose The Silver Violin secured the “25-year-old Scottish beauty” the highest classical placing since Nigel Kennedy 20 years ago. The music – since there is music to be had here – justifying the title and putting Benedetti through every one of her paces is Francesca da Ramini, Tchaikovsky’s technically demanding, Dante-esque delving into the consequences of illicit desire, plus his Violin Concerto in D Major, Kenneth Young’s Dance and Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington, October 13; Regent on Broadway, Palmerston North, October 15; Municipal Theatre, Napier, October 16; Founders Theatre, Hamilton, October 18; Auckland Town Hall, October 19. Meanwhile, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, clearly missing a trick or two in the marketing department, has a very traditionally promoted BACH MASS IN B MINOR. But then you don’t need to jump through hoops for music like this, especially when you have Stephen Layton of award-winning British choir Polyphony conducting. Auckland Town Hall, October 18. Finally, the NZPO – that’s the New Zealand Pops Orchestra, in whose O SOLE MIO concert you’re as likely to hear the Exponents and Simon & Garfunkel as you are a light classic from Strauss and Puccini. You will also hear – “Who knew?” alert – Lockwood Smith on baritone duties. The speaker sings. Auckland Town Hall, October 21.
An artist as prolific as Dick Frizzell was not about to let a road trip in the South Island go to waste and sure enough the visit earlier this year has already borne fruit: Frizzell’s first paintings of Central Otago, his take on which is conveyed in the title GRAND CENTRAL. Milford Galleries Queenstown, October 20-November 14. Over at the sister Milford Galleries Dunedin, Jenna Packer’s ANCHORED takes another familiar landscape, Otago Harbour and its surrounding bays, and defamiliarises it with her fantastical combinations of waka, sailing ships and blimps alongside contemporary boats and aeroplanes. Until November 7.
If you see people going for it with a can of spray paint in Taupo over Labour Weekend, don’t attempt a citizen’s arrest – chances are they’re part of GRAFFIATO, which brings together the country’s best street artists to work their magic/curse (depending how you look at it) on the town, including on its skate park. October 19-21 (although, obviously, the artworks aren’t going anywhere afterwards).
Bernie Griffin & the Grifters’ 29 Diamonds flirts perilously with the well-meaning but mawkish territory of Sean Plunket’s “poem” The Men of Pike, but works by dint of the restrained simplicity of both Griffin’s lyric and its delivery. The song is the centrepiece of the credible Kiwi country band’s new Everything So Far album and will doubtless perform the same role on the GUN¬ SLINGERS BALL tour, for which Griffin is joined by the Broadsides and Steve Abel. The Cabana, Napier, October 18; Bodega, Wellington, October 19; The Mayfair, New Plymouth, October 20; Gravity, Hamilton, October 21; Powerstation, Auckland, October 26; Sawmill, Leigh, October 27. Take a hanky – even the right side of wince-making will leave you with a tear in your eye.