BWW Review: PAN IS DEAD at Auckland Fringe

BWW Review: PAN IS DEAD at Auckland FringeReviewed by Taylor Goggin for Monica Moore

Myth and dystopia collide in Pan is Dead, a new dark fantasy musical from Theatre of Love.

In a society where gender is obsolete and equality achieved, will the desire to dominate bind people in different ways?

Are we capable of obtaining utopia?

And who is Pan? A good shepherd or a lascivious predator?

I was pleased that I ventured into the woods to find out for myself.

Directors James Wenley and Irene Corbett deliver an engaging and entertaining piece with this new musical written by Wenley with music by Erin Fagan, Pete Hickman, Lily James and Chris McMenamin.

The cast walk through the audience drawing them into the story in the intimate theatre space creating an almost interactive feeling. I, for one, felt very much part of what was unfolding on stage being intrigued by what could happen in a society which has attempted to strip itself of gender; who benefits and who suffers?

Accolades to Joshua Rennard and Rory Janssen for a set and staging that is cleverly simple and well utilised.

Michael Goodwin's lighting design was very effective, setting the mood and entirely changing the feel of each scene.

The music, a collaborative effort with the company writing the lyrics, contributes to the story exactly how it should; appropriate in genre and the feeling it evokes.

The performers were excellent. Clara Newton as Cass and Grace Hood-Edwards as Hele were sincere to their characters and heartfelt in their delivery. Both showcased beautiful voices and the delivery of their musical numbers was a highlight.

Cally Castell was a force to be reckoned with in her fierce performance as the arbitrator. She also has an incredible voice; very strong.

Special mention must also go to Quentin Warren as Pan. He is simply fabulous, in both look and performance.

This piece is yet more evidence that Auckland Fringe is to be taken seriously in its promise to deliver a fantastic line up.

Get along and see it.

Pan is Dead

Tuesday 20 Feb-Sunday 25 Feb
The University of Auckland Drama Studio
Arts 1 Building, 14A Symonds St, Auckland


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