Ruth, Roger, and Me

Ruth Roger and ME

Ruth Roger and Me, by Andrew Dean

Published by Bridget Williams Books

Reviewed by Kevin Hodder


Ruth, Roger and Me was a bit of a left field media sensation when it came out earlier this year. Andrew Dean, Rhodes scholar at Oxford, is an unlikely voice for the struggling youth of 2015. However, his reflections on the challenges faced by young people today, on growing up in Christchurch and Ashburton, and the impact of the neoliberal policies typified by Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson are poignant and direct. [Read more…]

Nice Work if You Can Get It

don franks nice work

Nice Work if You Can Get It; Notes from a Musician’s Diary

By Don Franks (Steele Roberts, $19.99)


Reviewed by Shomi Yoon


If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a fly on the wall of the social functions of the rich and powerful but not be tainted by that experience, then Don Frank’s Notes are  whimsical retellings of being that musician. From playing for the Young Nats, to Piggy Muldoon’s birthday party at a high class Italian restaurant, even to the Police Association, Don has played for the lot. [Read more…]

Proving a villain: the Bacchanals’ Richard III

RichardIIIRichard III, directed by David Lawrence. Bats Theatre, Wellington, until 31st January.


Reviewed by Dougal McNeill

Stabbings, strangulation, child murder, an earl drowned in a barrel of wine, sword fights, dirty politics, and – naturally – one of the best baddies in the whole of literature: Shakespeare’s Richard III sets out how villainy needs to be done. The Bacchanals’ wonderfully rambunctious and satirical production is a delight. They manage to make the play accessible without patronizing their audience or smoothing off any of the script’s rough edges. This is a text-centred production – and the ‘keen encounter’ of wits on display makes that a pleasure in itself – as well as a physical and fun, almost farcical, performance. Those new, or intimidated, by Shakespeare will find plenty here to entertain them, while existing fans and readers will have their appreciation of the playscript deepened and enriched. [Read more…]

Review: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom


Chadwick’s Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is a biographical film about the late Nelson Mandela’s life. The film takes its audience through Mandela’s life from his early years as a lawyer to him eventually becoming president.


One of the first things which stood out to me about this film was the amount of violence. Long Walk to Freedom is certainly more violent than is depicted in the trailers. Chadwick shows the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre: white soldiers gunning down black African men, women and children. But the violence is not just monopolised by the ‘Whites’. In another scene, a black African boy, suspected of being an informer, is hunted down by his peers. After catching him, they douse him in petrol, before setting him alight. The scene then plays out a little longer, so that the audience may hear the screams of the burning boy amidst the cheering of those who burned him.


There are, however, some redeeming scenes in this film. One of the most memorable ones for me was when Mandela addresses his relative’s grandchildren at the villa. In this scene, Mandela is walking with his wife Winnie in the back yard when they see his relative’s grandchildren taunting some white African guards. He snaps at them, and asks them why they are doing that. They then reply, “Because they are white.” Mandela then replies, “So you are doing that because of the colour of their skin?” Through this scene, Chadwick shows that racial atitudes are not held only by Anglo-Saxons. [Read more…]