1. It can’t boast Kevin Kline or Linda Ronstadt, both in the 1983 movie version, but as far as New Zealand casts go, the line-up for director Raymond Hawthorne’s new touring production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE is pretty top-notch, including Tim Beveridge as the Pirate King (Kline in the movie) and Tizane McEvoy as Mabel (Ronstadt in the movie), as well as Geraldine Brophy as the Sergeant of Police and George Henare as – go on, groan – the very model of a Modern Major General. Events Centre, Ashburton, August 24; Opera House, Oamaru, August 25; Civic Theatre, Invercargill, August 26; Regent Theatre, Dunedin, August 27; Theatre Royal, Nelson, August 29 and 30; Civic Theatre, Blenheim, August 31; CBS Arena, Christchurch, September 1 (two shows); Opera House, Wellington, September 3; Municipal Theatre, Napier, September 4; Baycourt, Tauranga, September 5; Founders, Hamilton, September 6; Quality Hotel, New Plymouth, September 7 (two shows); Regent on Broadway, Palmerston North, September 8; Civic Theatre, Rotorua, September 10; Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland, September 11; Forum North, Whangarei, September 12.
2. Romcoms, dramas and some great-looking thrillers (including Cold War and Conspirators) are on offer as part of the fifth HONG KONG FILM FESTIVAL, which this year has a programme for Wellington as well as Auckland. Rialto Cinemas, Newmarket, Auckland, August 22-28; Embassy Theatre, Wellington, August 29-September 1. For those seeking action of a different order from that promised by Tony Leung, there is the ADVENTURE FILM FESTIVAL as part of the Audi Quattro Wintergames in Queenstown and Wanaka. August 19-15.
3. AFTER MISS JULIE is Closer writer Patrick Marber’s update of Swedish playwright August Strindberg’s 1888 Miss Julie to an English country house in 1945 as the Labour Party enjoys a landslide victory over the Conservatives. British playwright Trevor Griffiths tapped similar strains in his 1981 television film Country: A Tory Story; Ken Loach’s New Zealand International Film Festival documentary The Spirit of ’45 fills in the factual detail. In director Cameron Rhodes’s production, Jodie Hillock takes the title role as the daughter of the house, while Errol Shand is the chauffeur who falls under her spell. Daughter of the house, smitten chauffeur … sounds a bit Downton Abbey, doesn’t it? Rest assured, it isn’t. Basement Theatre Studio, August 27-September 7. The Bachannals are a theatre company whose risk-taking is matched by their dependability, so when they say their GUN PLAY is The Complete History of Firearms and High School Shootings and ”a heart-warming journey as the sole survivor of the slaughter of a cheerleading squad turns her tragedy into triumph!”, you don’t need to be as alarmed as you might otherwise be. Although that exclamation mark is a concern. Bats Theatre, Wellington, August 20-24.
4. For its last-ever MADE IN NEW ZEALAND tour of Kiwi choreography, Footnote Dance is concentrating for the first time on the work of a single choreographer: Sarah Foster-Sproull and Colt, with music by Eden Mullholland. Opera House, Wellington, August 21 and 22; The Meteor, Hamilton, October 9; Q Theatre, Auckland, October 11, as part of the Tempo Dance Festival; The 4th Wall Theatre, New Plymouth, October 15. Meanwhile, to complement City Gallery Wellington’s themed group show HOW TO FALL (until August 25), Footnote performers join choreographer Malia Johnston and director/dramaturg Emma Willis for THE ART OF THE FALL, a “performative lecture” that explores ideas of falling both in the collaborators’ own work and elsewhere in contemporary dance. August 23.
5. Form, function, fah fah fah, blah blah blah … NEW OLDS: DESIGN BETWEEN TRADITION AND INNOVATION is a touring German exhibition of “household objects with a 21st-century twist”. (Actually the quote should be “household objects with a quirky 21st-century twist” but I always think it best to hold the quirk on these occasions.) I’m a slut for good design, myself; this is a must-see for anyone who is similarly inclined. Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, August 24-September 22. While you’re there, check out the works by the winner and two runners-up of the 2013 ECC STUDENT CRAFT/DESIGN AWARDS. August 24-August 30.