30 July-23 August 2015: Lysistrata
Michael adapted and directed Aristophanes' Lysistrata for Auckland Theatre Company, at Q Theatre. It stars Amanda Billing, Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Sia Trokenheim, Darien Takle, Hannah Tasker-Poland, Cameron Rhodes, Fasitua Amosa, Andrew Grainger, Paul Glover Peter Hayden, Lucinda Hare and Nomi Cohen, with design by Rachel Walker, choreography by Shona McCullagh, music by John Gibson, and costumes by Troy Garton.
Click here for info and to book. ATC has posted 49 rehearsal photos to their Facebook page; check them out here.
NZ Herald: "Speaking across a gulf of 2400 years, Aristophanes' raunchy comic fantasy ... delivers an emphatic affirmation of sassy, get-it-girl empowerment ... The superb 13-member cast throw themselves into the robustly physical staging as they prance and cavort in various stages of undress".
Theatreview: "Hurst has, in his inimitable style, grabbed Aristophanes' play firmly by the goolies and given it a thoroughly good shake up and this modern treatment really works ... the music is at once magical and intense. It serves the singing, which is a real feature of this production, and also the carefully integrated choreography ... and highlights the many and varied abilities of this multi-talented cast ... The evening is full of star turns ... it's a no-brainer that you should go and see it".
Metro: "Michael Hurst loosely updates the text, throws in some 7th Century lyric poetry for the Classics nerds, packs it with physical gags, and makes a joke of explaining archaic references whenever they come up. You might be surprised how much of it remains Aristophanes ... This Hurstified Lysistrata is virile, cheeky, over-the-top, and completely delivers on its promise of entertainment. The most fun you can have in a theatre this winter".
Lumiere Reader: "In the hands of Michael Hurst, [an intelligent adaptation] is achieved with impressive clarity, displaying not only a deep understanding of the classics but a devilish sense of humour too ... really get the audience roaring with laughter ... Go see it".
Theatre Scenes: "if there is one person in New Zealand to not only direct, but adapt, such comedy for the 21st century, it is the ever humorous Michael Hurst ... the communal nature of theatre, the sharing of ideas through entertainment, that sits at the heart of Hurst's production ... the theatrical value of Lysistrata will be of thorough entertainment to all audiences".
What's Good: "hootingly funny ... There is not a weak link in the cast, and their comic timing is excellent ... The songs, full of beauty and feeling, raise the stakes and deepen the emotional impact of the production. When the actors rise in harmony a capella, you feel the touch of divinity ... This is a life-enhancing communion of a theatre production, lively and full of love and laughter, and we didn’t want it to end".
It's the women who call the shots in this hilarious comedy classic about one woman's extraordinary mission to end a war. Leading the charge in the show that's been described as Sex in the City 411 B.C. is New Zealand's fab four of musical theatre – Amanda Billing (Chicago, Shortland Street), Jennifer Ward-Lealand (Rupert, The Heretic), Sia Trokenheim (Step Dave, Stepping Out), and Hannah Tasker-Poland (Chicago).
"Comedy for the Greeks was immediate. It drew on contemporary issues, sent up popular figures and satirised local institutions and events. In this way, Lysistrata feels surprisingly modern. There will always be a funny side to sex and politics, and though the specific issue of the Peloponnesian War and its ruinous effect on the city state of Athens is at the centre of the play, in a wider sense the song remains the same. It's really funny, it's moving and it's gloriously human" – Michael Hurst
31 October 2015: Ash vs. Evil Dead premiere
Michael directed episodes 6 and 7 of this new tv series in June 2015. It will air on STARZ! beginning on Halloween 2015. Click here for more.
The trailer below was premiered at San Diego Comic-Con on 10 July 2015.
The show is executive produced by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Bruce Campbell, and showrunner Craig DiGregorio, and stars Bruce Campbell, Lucy Lawless, Mimi Rogers, Jill Marie Jones, Ray Santiago, and Dana DeLorenzo. Australian streaming service Stan has announced that it has exclusive rights to the show in Australia, and that it will air on the same day that it is shown on STARZ!; click here for info.
This 10-episode first season is the long-awaited follow-up to the classic horror film franchise The Evil Dead. It is set to premiere on STARZ! in fall 2015. Bruce Campbell is reprising his role as Ash, the stock boy, aging lothario, and chainsaw-handed monster who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity, and the terrors of the Evil Dead. When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons – personal and literal. Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its "Evil" grip.