Review: En route, Auckland CBD

By Janet McAllister

Add a comment
En route; down at Britomart. Photo / NZH
En route; down at Britomart. Photo / NZH

Walking tours - especially those guided by a remote, apparently all-seeing, all-knowing central HQ - are full of tantalising possibilities: where will I be going? How will I know how to get there?

Taking advantage of the format, many of en route's contact methods are whimsical, delightful, treasure-hunt surprises. And their behind-the-scenes organisation is remarkable - location permissions alone would be a migraine.

The soundtrack uses local actors and music, but as a joint UK/Australian production (between Richard Jordan Productions and "one step at a time like this"), the show doesn't talk about Auckland itself or its history.

Instead, the recorded voices sound like life coaches or relaxation experts, and have much to say ponderously about personal journeys and perception: "I identify with the ground beneath my feet ... Am I the only spectator to my being here?" etc.

The best moments are when the city's architecture stands in for something else - most appropriately a spiral staircase becomes Dante's terraces of purgatory, thanks to a great selection of local art - and also when the city itself becomes the experience.

I hadn't before noticed John Radford's wonderful, large Lane Change sculpture in Durham Lane.

Due to the relentless commands - a necessary feature of the format - as well as the esoteric tones and solemn self-consciousness, en route is perhaps not for those feeling cynical or rebellious. But if you want to let go, relax, and take some time out - just as any tourist on an organised tour is pleased to relinquish responsibility for a little while - then it's a great escape. Pockets are useful. $39, including refreshments.

What: En route
Where: Auckland CBD, until March 24

- NZ Herald

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 25 Jul 2014 08:09:58 Processing Time: 569ms