May in Christchurch is entertainment month. Not only is it the traditional New Zealand Music Month, but this May, Christchurch plays host to a wealth of musical events and comedy shows. As the nights draw in, and the cold of the approaching winter starts to bite, May is a perfect month for snuggling up at a concert, comedy performance or even being chilled to the bone at a zombie play. Here are a few ideas to get you out and about in Christchurch this May.
Zombie: Red Zone
Described as “immersive theatre with guts”, this interactive play is set in the present day after a deadly virus named “Z” has devastated the world and turned almost everyone into flesh-crazed zombies. Performed in a site-specific, military-style set (the location in Christchurch’s Red Zone is perfect for a post-apocalyptic horror yarn) the detailed stage has been created by former Christchurch local Simon London who has worked on sets for The Hobbit. The play itself is the work of David van Horn who has worked on Sione’s Wedding and Avatar. The audience are not just passive observers but are forced to make choices which not only effect the outcome of the story but may even save them from being chewed up by the slavering hordes. Zombie: Red Zone plays nightly at 7pm in the Evacuation Zone, corner Cass and Colombo Streets until May 17th. The plague has spread; the dead have risen…have you got your popcorn?
New Zealand Music Month
For fans of New Zealand Music, May is the month when the country celebrates the talent of it’s singers, song-writers and musicians. There is a wealth of talent on show in Christchurch this month beginning with Sons of Zion, who return to the Dux de Lux on the 9th of May for a follow-up to their sold-out performance in the same venue last October. Fusing dub, rock and rhythm ‘n’ Blues onto a foundation of reggae, Sons of Zion have a strong and loyal following attracted to their energetic live performances, nifty lyrics and solid musicianship. The R18 show kicks off at 9pm and continues into the wee hours.
so worth a look are Janine and the Mixtapes who play the Dux on Thursday, May 15th at 9pm. Billed as a “smoky-voiced” RnB singer, Janine and the Mixtapes are appearing as part of the Beck’s Set, a showcase of emerging New Zealand musical talent. Also appearing live is Shayna King. Since she first started playing guitar at age six, Shayna King has amassed a collection of self-penned songs and garnered a reputation around Canterbury for captivating live performances. Having played support slots for such luminaries as Fly My Pretties, Mark Wilkinson and Nik Kershaw, Shayna King is touring New Zealand in May. She performs along with Geraldine singer Jaz Paterson, at The Darkroom, 336 St Asaph St, on May 22nd at 9pm.
For lovers of classical music, there are some outstanding orchestral works being performed in the city in May. Conducted by Russian maestro Alexander Lazarev, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Russian Fire, a collection of works by famous Russian composers, will take place at the CBS Canterbury Arena on Tuesday May 20th at 7pm. The concert opens with Rachmaninov’s achingly beautiful Caprice Bohémien: inspired by gipsy love songs. Russian pianist Alexander Melankov then performs Schumann’s Piano Concerto before the orchestra launches into Shostakovich’s fiery Symphony No. 15. Da, comrade… The following evening, Beethoven and Beyond sees the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra tackle Beethoven’s last completed concerto: his famous 5th Piano Concerto. Premiered in 1811, the piece was nicknamed “The Emperor” because of its lofty gestures and noble phrasing. Following this, the orchestra plays a piece by Finnish composer Sampo Haapamäki before finishing the evening with another classic Beethoven work: his light-hearted 8th Symphony.
On Mother’s Day (Sunday May 10th) at 6pm, Dame Malvina Major and violinist Fiona Pears appear with the choir of Christchurch Cathedral in Appassionata at the Cardboard Cathedral. The show will include classical and modern works and will be sure to appeal to mothers of all ages who appreciate music.
The Riot Store
Kiwi comedy legends Ben Hurley and Brendon Lovegrove bring their irrepressible brand of humour to Winnie Bagoes City for a two-night laugh-fest on Thursday May 22nd and Friday May 23rd. No stranger to New Zealand TV audiences, Ben Hurley is a regular on the 7Days show as well as his After Hours specials and his successful NZ International Comedy Festival show: The Reckoning. Brendon Lovegrove, the “20 years man” has been entertaining audiences in New Zealand and worldwide for twenty years. Between them the duo of Hurley and Lovegrove are sure to have the crowd rolling in the aisles. The R18 shows kick off at 9.30pm each night.
Star of Flight of the Conchords, Yes Man and The Boat That Rocked, Rhys Darby is a man who needs no introduction…
Just joking. Mr Darby’s latest show, Mr Adventure, brings the former soldier’s favourite subject, adventure, alive with his trademark sound effects, witty observations and Kiwi-accented humour. According to his website, audiences can expect, among other things, “tales of awe from the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro…and how not to get lost in the biggest mall in America.” Sounds awesome, Murray. The Mr Adventure Show is on at the CBS Canterbury Arena on Saturday, May 21st.