TAPAC

Circus has a surprisingly long and varied history in New Zealand and Australia so it's no surprise that new groups keep springing up downunder. Black Cat Productions is one of the newest, started by Ellie May Marshall who trained right here in Auckland – at The Dust Palace – before going onto to work
in the USA and Australia. Along with Christa Ting, a martial artist turned aerial contortionist, and actor and acrobat Louis Lambert, Marshall has crafted a supernatural tale of love, revenge and the quest for power centred on a white witch who accidentally summons a sorcerer during a tarot reading gone wrong. So far, so spooky and a possible corrective to all the seasonal saccharine sweetness around.

Wicked Grounds, The Auckland Performing Arts Centre, Saturday & Sunday.

Spark Arena

You wanna dance? There's no excuse for not doing so this weekend. First up, the teams behind some of Australasia's leading festivals, concerts and events have banded together to launch Festival X Rising in NZ where dance, hip hop and pop artists Calvin Harris, Juice Wrld, Lil Pump, Tchami, Anna Lunoe and the Katayanagi Twins perform.

Festival X Rising, Spark Arena, tonight.

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But wait, there's more. Uptown, at the Wintergarden underneath the Civic, Friendly Potential takes to the subterranean former dance hall for the aptly named Catacombs where underground electronic music – complete with local and international heroes – rules supreme. Derrick May, Luca Lozano and Mr Ho. are among the eight acts. Like Festival X Rising, this is an R18 event.

Catacombs, Wintergarden, Friday & Saturday.

Now staking its claim to hottest pop group in the world boy band Why Don't We plays Spark Arena on Friday night. It follows an Australian tour for the Californian five piece of Daniel Seavey, Zach Herron, Corbyn Besson, Jonah Marais and Jack Avery. The oldest was born in 1998 but clearly they've wasted no time given that they play 25 instruments between them and have more than two million subscribers to their YouTube channel and more than four million Instagram followers. The group's EP Why Don't We Just beat Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars and Harry Styles to the number one spot on the US iTunes pop albums chart.

Why Don't We - 8 Letters Tour, Spark Arena, Friday.

Aotea Centre

Arabella Patrick stars as the Scarecrow in the National Youth Theatre production of the Wizard of Oz at the Aotea Centre this weekend. Photo / supplied
Arabella Patrick stars as the Scarecrow in the National Youth Theatre production of the Wizard of Oz at the Aotea Centre this weekend. Photo / supplied

The Wizard of Oz is 80 – and to celebrate, one of the country's most professional youth theatre companies brings it to the stage complete with all the much-loved characters and songs like Somewhere Over The Rainbow and We're Off to See The Wizard. It's not all a joyous jaunt along the Yellow Brick Road – there's flying monkeys and a wicked witch waiting at the end of it so while it's relatively family friendly, if you're taking a young one (sorry, under threes not permitted) you might want to think about their tolerance for a few old-fashioned stage frights. Then again, with a total cast of 250 and a live band all having a lot of fun, you might find your kids begging for audition notices for the next National Youth Theatre Company production.

The Wizard of Oz, Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre, Friday – Sunday.

SkyCity

Lloyd Cole performs two shows in Auckland this weekend. Photo / supplied
Lloyd Cole performs two shows in Auckland this weekend. Photo / supplied

When Lloyd Cole tours, the English singer songwriter prefers smaller venues where he can perform more intimate arrangements of tracks like Lost Weekend, Perfect Skin, Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken, Forest Fire, Jennifer She Said, No Blue Skies and Like Lovers Do. This weekend, he's in Auckland with Lloyd Cole and the Commotions guitarist Neil Clark performing an entire career-retrospective from the debut Rattlesnakes record through to this year's Guesswork with tracks from his nine solo albums in between. Shows in Christchurch, New Plymouth and Palmerston North sold out and an additional Auckland show's been added.

Lloyd Cole - From Rattlesnakes to Guesswork, SkyCity Theatre, Friday and Victoria Theatre, Devonport, Saturday.

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