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June 25, 2015

Grey, the Fifty Shades of Grey sequel, disappoints

Lucire staff/0.36

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The highly anticipated sequel to E. L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey novel, Grey, as told through Christian Grey’s perspective, was released last week.
   I’m a fan of the first three books and I was excited to see how the events that helped us all fall in love with Mr Grey in the three books, as told through Anastasia Steele’s perspective, would differ from Mr Grey’s. I have to admit, I feel utter disappointment.
   Not only does the book feel like a cut-and-paste section of a badly written essay leaving the reader thinking, ‘Hang on, I’ve read this before,’ but Grey gives the impression that it was written way too fast with not enough time or thought given to explore the psyche of Mr Grey.
   Sure, it has some funny points, I’ll give James that, but it hasn’t had great reviews so far. Maybe I expected too much; maybe I thought that Grey would reveal something more than a 27-year-old man behaving like a 15-year-old boy who has to analyse every single little comment that is made to him by Miss Steele. The amount of self-loathing and hate Grey describes is enough to drive the reader to throw their hands in the air and say, ‘I’ve read enough,’ and leave the book lying on the floor.
   For a series that has won a lot of acclaim and attention for being fresh, there is nothing fresh in Grey. So much of the book is a repeat of the first, as told by Anastasia, with minor insights into the psychopath that Grey is.
   What I found interesting was that his psychologist is called Mr Hyde. This observation made me think of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Grey has two personalities that battle for dominance over him, and therefore, over Anastasia. That small reference could have been explored, in my opinion, in more depth, but I guess the pressure to produce a sequel was too much for James.
   As a fan, I was let down completely. I felt James was just changing a few words and names around, and didn’t really explore the psychopath enough. We know he has childhood issues, we get it, but that doesn’t give him the right to tell Anastasia how she should behave. Perhaps, someone should have given Grey a lesson on how he should behave towards he woman he claims to love.
   In this case, the movies will be better than the books.—Snjezana Bobič

Filed under: culture, living, Lucire
June 23, 2015

Ralph Lauren and British Vogue host Wimbledon party: Matt Smith, Jessica Chastain, Lily James attend

Fenella Clarke/22.54

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Chris Allerton

On Monday, Ralph Lauren celebrated its 10th year as official outfitters of the championships at Wimbledon, with a summer cocktail party hosted by British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman and former number-one professional tennis player Boris Becker. It was held at the Kensington Palace Orangery in London and guests enjoyed a live DJ set by Chelsea Leyland, and British-inspired canapés, summer cocktails, Pimms and champagne.
   Ralph Lauren is the first brand to create all the outfits on court in Wimbledon’s 129-year history, including umpires and ball persons.
   Co-hosts of the event were Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie, along with Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, the Countess of Mornington, actor Philip Brook, former tennis pro Richard Lewis, CBE, and Ali Spencer-Churchill. Many were adorned in Ralph Lauren and Polo Ralph Lauren: Shulman in a Ralph Lauren Collection navy silk Rylie dress and cashmere cardigan; Christie wore a black skater dress with a mesh panel on top, with a orange nappa leather envelope clutch; Lily James wore a white midi-length shirt dress paired with a gold lizard strappy jean sandal; while Jessica Chastain wore a black high-neck sleeveless dress with white inverted pleats. Actress Emily Mortimer wore a simple white shift dress, while Alice Eve wore a camel-coloured long-sleeve, high-necked dress; Maisie Richardson-Sellers was there looking stunning in a metallic organza shift dress with gathered sleeve detail, Downton Abbey actress Joanne Froggatt looked like the epitome of summer in a yellow sleeveless dress. Of the stylish men present, Boris Becker wore a royal blue suit and former Doctor Who star Matt Smith wore a navy suit, a blue striped shirt and a green tie.
   Other guests included Jeremy Irvine, Lottie Moss, Lady Kitty Spencer, YouTubers Jim Chapman and Tanya Burr, Erin O’Connor, Laura Bailey, Lily Becker, Joanna Vanderham, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Jamie and Ale Murray, Mollie King, Sam Rollinson, Charlotte Wiggins, Lara Millen, Petra Palumbo, Tania Fares, Lady Helen Taylor and Tim Taylor, Lady Kinvara Balfour, Alice Naylor-Leyland, Jessica, Camilla and Emily Staveley-Taylor (the Staves), Ella Catliff, Jenny Halpern and Ryan Prince, Jade Parfitt, Viscount Althorp, Alice Brudendell-Bruce, Charlotte Dellal, Bay Garnett and Tom Craig, Emily Johnston, and Catherine Kallon.—Fenella Clarke















































Chris Allerton

June 19, 2015

Phoenix Organics’ Love Project helps clean up New Zealand’s polluted rivers

Fenella Clarke/22.55

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Top Phoenix Organics’ promotional image for its latest venture to tackle river pollution. Above The sites for the Love Project’s tree-planting between June and September. Below left A #loveyourwater promotional card, with wildflower seeds embedded within.

On June 5, Phoenix Organics started planting native plants along polluted rivers for the Love Project, a venture which started last year with the company helping to remove 5,000 ℓ of rubbish from New Zealand beaches.
   When figures were released by regional councils last month revealing that more than half of New Zealand rivers were unsafe to swim in and that Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Canterbury and Northland were the worst, Phoenix knew it had to help.
   Co-founder of Sustainable Coastlines, Sam Judd, said, ‘Working with Phoenix Organics, we’re helping communities to stop pollution at its source by setting up riparian planting events—these help reduce pollutants entering rivers by reestablishing native vegetation.’
   Phoenix is hoping that through the Love Project, its customers will feel inspired to make a real difference in New Zealand’s coastal areas.
   ‘We’ve been committed to sustainability since day one and believe New Zealand should continue to build on its clean, green image through involving communities in projects like this,’ said Steve Cook, marketing manager for Phoenix Organics.
   The Love Project is also partnering with environmental artist Martin Hill, based in Wanaka, to create a sculpture during the project, with more information about being released late July.
   Auckland saw the first planting day on June 5 at Wakaaranga Creek; Wellington follows on June 26 at Owhiro Stream. Christchurch’s day is on July 31 at Travis Wetland, while Nelson’s is on August 21 at Corder Park. Northland and Waikato are in September.
   To find out more, you can look at Phoenix Organics’ Facebook and Instagram as well as the hashtag #loveyourwater.—Fenella Clarke


Above Phoenix Organics has planted one tree on behalf of Lucire publisher Jack Yan.

June 14, 2015

Royal Wedding: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist wed, the bride wearing Ida Sjöstedt

Lucire staff/23.00

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Mattias Edwall/Swedish Royal Court

Saturday saw the Royal Wedding of Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist in Stockholm. The Prince, the second child of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, and Ms Hellqvist married at the Slotskyrkan inside the Palace, in a ceremony combining traditional and fresh elements to suit the couple’s tastes.
   Prior to the arrival of the bride and groom, Swedish state television focused its cameras on one of the newest additions to the Royal Family, Princess Leonore, the daughter of Princess Madeleine and Chris O’Neill. Princess Leonore’s cousin, Princess Estelle, the daughter of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, was one of the flower girls.
   The first reading was from Corinthians 13:4–7, 13, read by Crown Princess Victoria, and the service was presided by the Chaplain to the King and Bishop Emeritus Lars-Göran Lönnermark.
   The bride wore a silk crepe gown designed overlaid with Italian silk organza by Ida Sjöstedt. The lace was made by José María Ruiz with a lengthy hand-cut train. Her tiara gifted to her by the King and Queen. Her veil was made in tulle, embroidered with sheer cotton lace.
   The bridal bouquet was created by court florist Claes Carlsson.
   Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’, Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ and a gospel version of ‘Joyful, Joyful’ gave the wedding ceremony a more upbeat twist, with invited guests, including royalty, clapping along to the final song, used as the recessional.
   Royal guests included Queen Sonja of Norway, her son Crown Prince Haakon and his wife Princess Mette-Marit, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary, Prince Joachim and Princess Marie. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex, and Princess Takamodo of Japan also attended.
   Hellqvist had modelled for Slitz and appeared on the reality television show Paradise Hotel in the mid-2000s before meeting the Prince via mutual friends. The Palace has emphasized Hellqvist’s more recent work, including her studies in business, her qualification as a yoga instructor, and her work for the non-profit organization Project Playground.
   As with the weddings of Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Madeleine, the royal couple travelled around Stockholm in the traditional parade barouche in a cortège before returning to the Palace for the formal reception at the Vita Havet Assembly Rooms.
   The King informally cheered the crowd on after the royal couple kissed at the Palace, much to the delight of the estimated 500,000 who had lined the streets of the capital.
   The wedding cake was made by the Swedish National Pastry Team. The dancing, which concluded the evening, took place in the Karl XI Gallery.
   The bride is now officially titled Princess Sofia, Duchess of Värmland.




Mattias Edwall/Swedish Royal Court



SVT

May 27, 2015

Reasons to raise a glass as Stoneleigh, Mumm, Hennessy and Ardbeg celebrate around the world

Lucire staff/12.49

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Victor Boyko/Getty Images

Top Mark Ronson celebrates with Champagne Mumm in Monaco. Above Julie Nollet, Raphaël Gérard, Hervé Mikaeloff, Olga Kisseleva, Bernard Peillon, Laurent Pernot, and François Xavier Desplancke pose at the ribbon-cutting ceremony during the Hennessy 250 Tour at the New Manege in Moskva. Below left The award-winning Stoneleigh Latitude Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014.

Several wine and spirits brands have reasons to celebrate today. New Zealand’s Stoneleigh has received a gold medal at the 2015 Decanter World Wine Awards for its Latitude Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014. This honour, from the world’s largest and most influential wine show (competing against over 10,000 wines), joins others than Stoneleigh has received lately, with the same vintage winning gold at the New Zealand International Wine Show and Easter Show Wine Awards, and a trophy at the Marlborough Wine Show.
   Maison Mumm, meanwhile, celebrated the launch of the world’s first digitally connected champagne bottle. And since Mark Ronson was in town, why not get him on board another yacht to DJ the event?
   When the cork is popped at the Formula One podium, a sensor sends a signal to the venue’s AV system, triggering the programmed entertainment. VIP guests at the event included Cara Delevingne, Poppy Delevingne, Eddie Jordan, and club owner Jean-Roch. Singtank, the duo of Ronson’s wife Josephine de la Baume and her brother Alexandre de la Baume, also performed.
   Ronson was asked to present the winning Mumm jeroboam to Nico Rosberg on the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix podium.
   The Hennessy 250 Tour has arrived at the New Manege in Moskva. This travelling art and culture exhibition, curated by Hervé Mikaeloff, in collaboration with scenographer Nathalie Crinière and Hennessy heritage expert Raphaël Gérard, celebrates Hennessy’s history and future, with archival materials, portraits and films. Artworks and installations by Xavier Veilhan, Pierrick Sorin, Constance Guisset, Tony Oursler, Charles Sandison and Anton Corbijn feature, while the Russian stop additionally sees Olga Kisseleva’s work, Dancing Spirit, and a contemporary dance performance by Farfor. The tour is open till May 30.
   VIPs at the launch include Maurice Richard Hennessy, Corbijn and Kisseleva, Gérard, Hennessy CEO Bernard Peillon, François Xavier Desplancke, Laurent Pernot, seventh-generation master blender Yann Fillioux, Interview Russia editor Aliona Doletskaya, and Tatler Russia editor-in-chief Ksenia Solovieva, Olga Karput, Sofia Zaika, Olga Thompson, Miranda Mirianashvili, and Museum of Contemporary Art director Vasili Tsereteli and his wife Kira Sacarello. The gala dinner was followed by a performance from stars from the Bolshoi Theatre and a tasting of the Hennessy 250 Collector Blend.
   Ardbeg celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, and marks the occasion with a grand Ardbeg Day on May 30, when Ardbeg “embassies” around the world hold a series of events. This year’s limited-edition Ardbeg Perpetuum will be present, and New Zealand, which will be the first to hit May 30, will hold its Ardbeg Day celebrations at House of Whiskey, 50 Courthouse Lane, Auckland; Regional Wines & Spirits, 15 Ellice Street, Mt Victoria, Wellington; and Whisky Galore, 66 Victoria Street, Christchurch.


















Victor Boyko/Getty Images

May 22, 2015

Superb and deeply meaningful: the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Salute: Remembering WW1 impresses

Jack Yan/12.27

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Ross Brown

Above Dancer Joseph Skelton in the core image used for Salute: Remembering WW1.

Three years in the planning, the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Salute: Remembering WW1 commemorated the Great War in a memorable, respectful, and meaningful way, with a mixed programme that saw two world premières tonight.
   Gareth Farr’s specially commissioned score for Andrew Simmons’ Dear Horizon opened proceedings, with what could be described as a cinematic theme with a strong melodic base as the action unfolded on stage. Tracy Grant Lord’s backdrop, of barbed wire barriers used in World War I, loomed over dancers lying on the stage, as a lone ballerino walked among them. Lighting came on gradually, Jason Morphett’s design using shadows and darkness to build tension. This sombre start gave way to a beautiful, haunting and contemporary choreography, with an underlying bleakness, as Simmons highlighted the loss suffered in war. Costumes were grey, further emphasizing the sense of despair and focusing us on the dancers’ movements. The solo cello by Rolf Gjelsten gave a sense of minimalism that contrasted other elements of the brassy, powerful Farr score. While composed for the ballet, and only complete with the action, it’s not hard to imagine the work released on its own for lovers of ballet and cinematic scores.
   An all-male cast of twelve followed in Soldiers’ Mass. The genius behind Jiří Kylián’s choreography was how it conveyed emotion: a highly energetic and graceful ballet where the dancers move in a unified way, into battle constantly, pulling each other from the front and yet, still confronting, then falling to, the enemy. The score, by Bohuslav Martinů, set to the text by Jiří Mucha, was played back, and one scene sees the men lip-synching proudly to the Czech lyrics, yet with a sense of what they knew would follow. The ballet finishes as it started, with 12 backs to us, each dancer dropping his shirt in another representation of death as well as the annexation of the Sudentenland by Hitler in World War II. Shirtless ballerinos, incidentally, seemed to elicit greater applause from the audience as they took their bows. This restaging was by Roslyn Anderson, who had helmed the 1998 RNZB production of Soldiers’ Mass, with lighting design by Kees Tjebbes.
   After the interval, Johan Kobborg’s Salute injected comedic moments into a classical ballet, set to the score by nineteenth-century composer Hans Christian Lumbye. It saw the return of live music after the recording in Soldiers’ Mass, performed by the New Zealand Army Band. These skilful musicians adapted themselves easily to the lighter atmosphere, with Sgts Riwai Hina and David Fiu, and Pvts Joseph Thomas and Tom Baker rearranging Lumbye’s music to the Band. Natalia Stewart’s costumes (jackets with epaulettes for the men, red peplums and plenty of tulle for the women) shone on stage in a very cheerful ballet involving different sets of dancers, highlighting different aspects of love, from shyness and confusion to overconfidence and partnership; as well as the inevitable farewells as men went off to war.
   The battle vignette, with the General leading the charge, was equally enjoyable, interspersed with the long waits the women endured back home, before the conclusion as the soldiers returned home. Created for the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2010, Kobborg intended it to be a reflection of what happens when young people come together; the RNZB dancers showed their expressiveness in a ballet that injected a light-heartedness to the evening. Salute was staged by Florica Stanescu, with Morphett again behind the lighting design, with a brightness and cheer in contrast to his earlier work.
   While the RNZB often picks the cheery production number to end on, it chose Neil Ieremia’s Passchendaele, a world première, which gave this reviewer initial fears that the infamous battle would leave audiences on a down note. The fear was unfounded, because of the scale of Ieremia’s ballet, involving 19 dancers, and the superb execution in dance of this tragic battle, notable for being the day on which more New Zealanders had died or had been wounded than on any other day. Dwayne Bloomfield, formerly of the New Zealand Army Band, composed the score, which the band performed: the moments of martial music signalled the flawed advance by the New Zealand Division under Gen Haig. The dancers moved with great pace at times, in groups, on- and off-stage, representing the power of the soldiers and artillery, through impossible conditions. At other moments they recalled memories of home, contrasting with the loss that families suffered. Geoff Tune’s backdrops, in red and black, signified the blood on the battlefields, and his first one hinted at skulls, shifting gradually to other scenes of burned trees and desolation. The end of Passchendaele was chilling, after the soldiers each fell, their loved ones releasing them, as knocks were heard around the St James, representing the messenger bringing home to 845 New Zealand families the worst news they could receive.
   Ieremia was ingenious in how his choreography brought so much emotion and energy to the performance that the house was left in admiration. The message was indeed cautionary, telling us about the human tragedies of war, but the RNZB and the NZAB brought it to life with such conviction that Passchendaele received the greatest applause of the evening. It was a high note after all, but one that was more absorbing. Salute: Remembering WW1 is a superb programme, and a fresh way of appreciating the messages in the ongoing centenary commemorations of New Zealanders fighting ‘the war to end all wars.’—Jack Yan, Publisher

Salute has been supported by the Lottery Grants Board, New Zealand Defence Force, Qantas, the Göthe-Institut, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, national sponsor Vodafone, and Pub Charity. Dates are May 22–4 in Wellington; May 28–30 in Christchurch; June 3 in Dunedin; June 10 in Hamilton; June 13 in Takapuna; June 17–20 in Auckland; and June 24–5 in Napier. The Royal Ballet will feature the UK première of Passchendaele in November. Further information can be found on the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s website at rnzb.org.nz.

Aishwarya Rai, Karlie Kloss, Paris Hilton, Kendall Jenner, Liu Wen among celebrities at AmFAR gala at Cannes

Lucire staff/2.04

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Ian Gavan


Dominique Charriau


Venturelli

Cannes’ AmFAR Gala is the big bash during the film festival, with celebrities this year flocking to the Cinema Against Aids event at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc at the Cap d’Antibes. Over the years, the event has raised US$140 million for AmFAR’s research programmes designed to consign Aids to history.
   Celebrities attending this year included Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (wearing a mauve Elie Saab gown; husband and co-event chair Abhishek Bachchan could not be present due to work commitments), Kendall Jenner (in Calvin Klein), Toni Garrn (in Elie Saab), Irina Shayk (in Atelier Versace), Doutzen Kroes, Paris Hilton (in Yanina, with jewellery by Avakian), Selita Ebanks, Eli Mizrahi, Chanel Iman, Petra Němcová, Jourdan Dunn, Karlie Kloss (in a silver Tom Ford), Eva Longoria (in Georges Hobeika), Soo-Joo Park, Barbara Palvin, Isabeli Fontana, Antonio Banderas, Li Yuchun, Natasha Poly, Sienna Miller, Marion Cotillard, Adriana Lima, Liu Wen, Rita Ora (in Marchesa), Lily Donaldson, Dita von Teese, Lara Stone, Gigi Hadid (in Tom Ford), Noomi Rapace, Diane Kruger, Sara Sampaio, Bella Hadid, and Tom Ford. Donning jewellery by de Grisogono were Kloss, Sampaio, Joan Smalls, and Izabel Goulart. Sharon Stone commemorated 20 years of supporting AmFAR at the event.
   This year’s Black and White Collection fashion show was curated by Carine Roitfeld, with music by Mark Ronson. Imagine Dragons, Mary J. Blige and Charli XCX (wearing Vivienne Westwood) performed live at the event.
   Sponsors included Bold Films, Harry Winston (who created an Epic Cluster necklace for the auction, with proceeds going to HIV–Aids research), the Weinstein Company, and Moët Hennessy.
   L’Oréal Paris treated the evening as the perfect opportunity to showcase its support of the entire Festival de Cannes, with 10 of its spokeswomen attending—promoting its Superstar line of mascaras and eye-liners and Infaillible lipsticks and foundations that have proven to be staples for celebrities this year.
















Gareth Cattermole






























Ian Gavan; Pascal Le Segretain/AmFAR15; George Pimentel/AmFAR15; Venturelli; courtesy AmFAR

May 18, 2015

Karst is the New Zealand School of Dance’s most innovative season yet

Jack Yan/13.09

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Stephen A’Court

Top New Zealand School of Dance third-year contemporary students. Above Latisha Sparks, William Keohavong and Jadyn Burt.

The New Zealand School of Dance always puts on a stellar performance, especially with its final-year class, but Karst, its Choreographic Season for 2015, adds some unexpected and welcome twists, and puts audience members into the performance, at least during the first half.
   Arriving at Te Whaea, you’re aware something is different: instead of the waiting area that you’re accustomed to, there’s blackness. The auditorium, meanwhile, has become the new waiting area, with TV screens showing the final-year students’ faces in the centre, and the tables moved within. As the show started, we were escorted to the catwalk above the plaza, where the show takes place.
   Wind over Sand (See below) gives you a different perspective as we viewed this from above, or on the stairwell, and there was some getting used to seeing a performance while standing. However, this didn’t detract from the enjoyment at all, and, as it turned out, Wind over Sand was simply a prelude to the cleverer and more entertaining numbers that were to follow. Audience members in wheelchairs were wheeled to ground level and watched from there, but would have had the same appreciation we did.
   Felix Sampson, one of the class of ’15, motioned us comically to come down from the stairs, surrounding the stage, where Jadyn Burt danced to Exhibit: J, using a single box as her prop, positioning herself on each side as she explored it.
   Seated at what would be our vantage points for the rest of the evening, Samuel Hall and Jag Popham began their number stood at different corners of the set, one motioning ever frantically while the other stood still. Without Regard contrasted movements and styles as the pair moved closer on stage.
   Another seamless segue, as bright lights shone from the end of the building, and we were into Volume, set to Planningtorock’s ‘Public Love’, with the notes asking, ‘If you could live in that place every day? Think of the possibilities.’ But, like some of the performances in Karst, those possibilities had a catch, the choreography signalling the old adage of, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ (Manifest) the Subliminal, similarly, strikes at the idea of balance, with backgrounds moving, essentially reiterating that the universe is structured the way it is for a reason. Upset that balance, and there is chaos. Loscil’s ‘Esturine’, with its repetitive rhythms and crackles contributed to an airy, almost lonely effect.
   Fragile Mortalities was the first number that blended visual effects as each dancer brought out a television screen with their face on it, looking cheerful, yet each began revealing their insecurities more and more, performing their internal collapses. In a similar world of paranoia, You Are My, set to the Harry Roy arrangement of ‘You Are My Sunshine’ saw cheer erupt each time the music started, but the despair soon strikes one dancer, then more and more, in different forms; words displayed at the back of the set disintegrated from hopeful to hopeless. At this point, one wondered if this reflected concerns students had about their lives in 2015; after all, who are better insights into the Zeitgeist, and more focused on the future than those who have settled in their careers?
   The 79 Bonnie Special brought the mood up slightly with the background video showing what appeared to be an old cassette-recorded programme. A tribute to New Zealand singer Connan Mockasin, using his song ‘Do I Make You Feel Shy?’, this was a comedic take, with Georgia Rudd donning a silk gown and shades, and lip-synching into a microphone, perhaps telling a tale of fleeting fame and the low-rent world that some inhabit, thinking they are on the A-list. Again, it seemed to be on the pulse of where popular culture is, in what might be deemed a post-reality-show world. Such shows still air, but in terms of the cycle, are they beyond maturity?
   Unfortunate Help, with Jessica Newman and Latisha Sparks in the main roles, see the dancers together with lengthy cardboard tubes, but pulled apart, others’ attempts at rejoining failing to unite the pair, who also fall into their darkness. At its end, Rowan Rossi emerges on stage, curious about the state of affairs, and we hear Sampson utter complete sentences for the first time, beckoning others to go as he and Rossi begin Only in Istanbul. Sampson narrates the piece, joking about Rossi and providing personal details about him, and the two come to dance in unison. Only in Istanbul is described as ‘A rigmarole’ in the programme notes, and the description fits: the movements are expert, but the story culminates in ‘Istanbul, Not Constantinople’ and the entire cast reemerges for Absent Ritual, a number that leaves Karst on an upbeat, positive note.
   Te Aihe Butler’s music, which is at the fore in Absent Ritual, actually comes through in many of the numbers, and is the effective, unseen uniting force behind Karst. It deserves special mention.
   Taken together, one does have to ask: where are society and culture today? Are we in times where we are leaving some of our citizens behind? What is the value of fame if it lacks fulfilment? If the students, who choreographed the works, are forcing us to ask these questions, then they have succeeded.
   The season is directed by Victoria Colombus, an NZSD graduate, and is the most innovative Lucire has reviewed at the venue. Colombus rightly used the space to great effect, and we hope that there will be future performances there. Removed from the traditional shape of the auditorium, the students made very effective use of their new stage, and the architectural structure helped give a scale beyond what the auditorium offers.
   Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School students worked on the lighting, which also showed a youthful passion combined with professionalism, while Donna Jefferis’s costumes were the icing on the cake.
   The season runs at Te Whaea in Newtown, Wellington, till May 23, with tickets from NZ$12 to NZ$23. Bookings are available at www.nzschoolofdance.ac.nz.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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