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Performance History   Reviews/Articles

Artworks Theatre
Oneroa, Waiheke Island, NZ
27-28 January 2017
  REVIEW, Gulf News: "It takes a great actor to pull off such a story, and Michael Hurst excelled. I sat on the edge of my seat for the full hour and even jumped a few times. … When the inner struggle came to be an actual physical struggle on stage, I was baffled. And I still am. Because Michael Hurst managed to fight himself on stage without me wondering how. It was persuasive and marvelous. … The reviews of this play are not overrated … if I could, I would watch it over and over again". (Emma Haas, 2 February 2017)

Hawke's Bay Arts Festival
Havelock North, NZ
10 October 2016
  REVIEW, Theatreview: "multi-layered, original script masterfully weaves the lives of the tormented four – Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear and Othello – into a fast, frenzied web of self-torment and speculation … a formidable piece of theatre. Hurst sustains the fine line between tragedy and comedy throughout … Hurst's performance is mesmerising" (Karen Beaumont, 11 Oct 2016)

Artworks Theatre
Oneroa, Waiheke Island, NZ
23-24 September 2016
  Article: "In a Nutshell"
Waiheke Weekender (8 September2016)

Titirangi Theatre
Titirangi, NZ
16-17 September 2016

REVIEW, Theatreview: "Michael Hurst in exhilarating form taking us on a well-crafted, clever, uproariously funny and ultimately moving journey…smart and witty script…belly laughs of sheer delight…Hurst's facility with the language, whether Shakespearean or modern, is a joy to experience. The poetry flows effortlessly, and when he inhabits characters with absolute sincerity and truth, allowing the language to do its work supported by minimal technology, the audience is held spellbound…There are moments of such depth of emotion in Hurst's performance that the hair stands up on the back of my neck as my heart goes out to the extremely vulnerable human being he has created. No Holds Bard allows us to investigate 'What a piece of work is a man' in a truly Shakespearean way, and we are fortunate to see a master craftsman at work in that investigation." (Leigh Sykes, 17 September 2016)

Interview, Jesse Mulligan, Radio NZ National:  Michael talks No Holds Bard, including a snippet from the show (13 September 2016)

Escape! Festival
Tauranga, NZ
3-4 June 2016
  REVIEW, Bay of Plenty Times: "compelling one-man play … hour-long tour de force … Hurst held the audience spellbound with a bravura performance … It could just be the most powerful performance of anything you will see all year". (Paul Chapman, 5 June 2016)

Tiny Theatre at Garnet Station
Westmere, Auckland, NZ
10-12 September 2015

Official Xena Convention
Burbank, CA
21 February 2015

Arts Festival Dunedin
Fortune Theatre, Dunedin, NZ
15-18 October 2014

REVIEW, Theatreview:  "clever, densely layered script is exceedingly demanding of the lone actor ... Michael Hurst ... makes it look easy. He changes character faster than you can blink ... He takes the audience to the extreme lows that Hamlet, Macbeth, Lear and Othello exemplify. Yet within a syllable Hurst makes these tragic heroes utterly hilarious." (Kimberley Buchan, 16 October 2014)

REVIEW, Otago Daily Times:  "Hurst, an accomplished Shakespearean actor, has great timing and he's always good to watch." (Barbara Frame, 16 October 2014)

Interview:  "Method in Madness"
Otago Daily Times (16 October 2014)

Interview:  "Brainstorming the Bard"
Otago Daily Times (13 October 2014)

Baycourt Community & Arts Centre
Tauranga, NZ
17-18 July 2014
  Interview:  "Preview:  Hurst Gives His All - No Holds Bard" by Rebecca Cawston
Bay of Plenty Times (3 July 2014)

Erupt! Lake Taupo Festival
Great Lake Centre, Taupo, NZ
8, 10 May 2014
  Interview:  "The Bard in Actor's Grip" by Kirsty Lawrence
Taupo Times (15 April 2014)

Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Assembly Roxy
Edinburgh, Scotland
1-26 August 2013

REVIEW, BroadwayBaby:  " ... irreverent and avant-garde production ... gripping and superbly written ... riveting and utterly entertaining; a breathtakingly visionary and deeply emotional theatrical masterpiece that has raised the bar on where and how the Bard can travel from page to the stage". (Faith-Ashleigh Wong, 16 August 2013)

REVIEW, Theatreview:  "No Holds Bard is full of depth and intelligence, but its most important element is its humour. ... a masterpiece of Elizabethan schizophrenia.  At times an utter piss-take, and at others a carefully constructed work of poetry ... feels just as Shakespeare should". (Robbie Nicol, 24 August 2013)

REVIEW, SG Fringe:  "Michael Hurst gives a bravura performance of immense energy and intensity, brilliantly walking the tightrope between genuine tragedy and insane comedy, reaching incredible heights ... The audience were gripped, moved and entertained in equal measure".

REVIEW, Edinburgh Spotlight:  " ... a tsunami of a performance ... real connection and feats of physical and mental ingenuity.  It elicits gasps as well as laughs, and shifts acrobatically between comedy of an almost stand-up nature and emotionally-rooted tragedy.  A breath of fresh Shakespeare air and a comedic head-bashing all in one!" (Danielle Farrow, 17 August 2013)

REVIEW, The Scotsman:  "Leading New Zealand actor and director Michael Hurst brings an old-school mastery of Shakespeare to this comedy one-man play ... The writers make use of every opportunity for a Shakespearian joke, while Hurst proves himself as adept at physical comedy as he is at the Bard ... " (Susan Mansfield, 19 August 2013)

REVIEW, Three Weeks:  " ... this sweaty, schizophrenic, Shakespearian mash-up could become a classic". Holly Sharp, 14 August 2013)

Interview, Good Morning, TVOne (video):  Michael Hurst talks with Jeanette Thomas about taking his solo show No Holds Bard to Edinburgh Festival Fringe (16 July 2013)

Basement Theatre
Auckland, NZ
2-15 June 2013
16-19 July 2013

REVIEW, Theatreview:  "It's funny clever, surprising and always entertaining. Physically this is the most demanding performance I have ever seen in a one man show.  Hurst does not hesitate to go further than anyone before ... The audience who have seen this show around the country already praise this show with ovations.  Its release to the world stage will be a triumph for one of our greatest theatre icons.  It deserves the highest of accolades". (Johnny Givins, 5 June 2013)

REVIEW, Lumiere Reader:  " ... a hilarious and impressive take on Shakespeare that makes fun of the Bard’s heroes as much as it embraces them ... scenes where Hurst has to stage a fight with himself that are jawdropping ... The best thing about this show, other than Hurst, is how accessible it is ... Hurst’s performance is one that stands up universally and the script is one that will travel and appeal to any audience". (Sam Brooks, 6 June 2013)

REVIEW, Theatre Scenes:  " ... a great way to showcase Michael Hurst’s mastery of the Shakespearean form, cleverly peppered with an irreverent comic edge.  Hurst’s acting skills were totally evident with a flawless performance in poise and expression and accent, flitting dexterously between characters throughout ... there is so much combat, amazing acting, comedy and power ..."

BLOG:  "The Bard of Now"
Basement Theatre website

Interview:  "Explosions of Shakespeare in the Mind"
Auckland City Harbour News (31 May 2013)

Interview (video): "Michael Hurst's One-Man Show"
Nightline, TV3 (4 June 2013)

Interview (radio): "Michael Hurst - No Holds Bard"
Morning Glory, bFM (5 June 2013)

Q Theatre
Auckland, NZ
7 June 2013
  No Holds Bard was the headline act for fundraising gala One Night with Q, which benefitted Q Theatre in Auckland.

Downstage Theatre
Wellington, NZ
16 May - 1 June 2013

REVIEW, Theatreview:  " ... a virtuoso performance. His technique is remarkable, the lift of an eyebrow, the pitch of voice, accent, tone and expression are utilised to snap him from character to character.  His one-man fight is fantastic ... and draws appreciative oohs and aahs from the audience. ... Anger, terror, sorrow, regret, the stuff that plays are made of; Hurst conjures each with ease".  (Hannah Smith, 18 May 2013)

REVIEW, The Dominion Post:  " ... the two great joys of his performance are the physicality which he displays in the comical fights that he has with 'himselves' and his voice that can roar and whisper and still make every word crystal clear ... what a fine and versatile Shakespearean actor Michael Hurst can be". (Laurie Atkinson, 20 May 2013)

Opinion: "In Praise of ... Paying Homage to Shakespeare"
The Dominion Post (18 May 2013)

Interview (radio): "Tim Fookes talks to Michael Hurst who's starring in No Holds Bard, a crazy mash up of Shakespeare's most famous works, at Wellington's  Downstage Theatre"

Interview (radio):  With Dave and Camille on Classic Hits - "His new show No Holds Bard is on at Downstage from tonight (May 17) - we talk with him about career, life, everything!"

Interview:  "Spotlight on Michael Hurst"
Downstage Theatre website

Article: "No Holds Bard Sees Return of Writing Pair" by Tom Cardy
The Dominion Post (15 May 2013)

Hawke's Bay Opera House
Hastings, NZ
11 May 2013


Article: "Macbeth, King Lear, and Othello All Arrive in Hastings May 11th"
All About Hawke's Bay (4 April 2013)

Clarence Street Theatre
Hamilton, NZ
10 May 2013

  Press Release: "No Holds Bard Shakespeare Unleashed"
Scoop (4 April 2013)

TSB Showplace
Theatre Royale
New Plymouth, NZ
9 May 2013

  Article: "Hurst Lets Rip with Bard"
Taranaki Daily News (16 April 2013)

Dargaville Town Hall
Dargaville, NZ
6 December 2012


REVIEW, Dargaville & Districts News:  " ... audience members were enthralled with his acting talent ... a noisy chorus of clapping hands with a few even giving a standing ovation at the play’s conclusion".  (Rose Stirling, 12 December 2012)

Interview: "Comic Ravings of Bard Breathe Life into Hamlet" by Jo Belworthy
Dargaville & Districts News (28 November 2012)

Article: "Shakespeare Classics Get Modern Spin"
Dargaville & Districts News (24 October 2012)

The Turner Centre
Kerikeri, NZ
4 December 2012


Article: "Hurst Performs One-Man Show in Kerikeri"
Northern News
(21 November 2012); also in The Bay Chronicle (22 November 2012)


The Old Library Arts Centre
Whangarei, NZ
1 December 2012 (2 shows)

: "Brilliantly Bard" by Betty Harding
The Northern Advocate (4 December 2012)

The Victoria Theatre
Devonport, NZ
16-17 November 2012


Nelson Arts Festival
Nelson, NZ
26-27 October 2012
(as Frequently Asked Questions)


REVIEW, The Nelson Mail:  "Hurst acted each character superbly ... The crowd were hugely appreciative of Hurst's famous self-stage-fighting scenes, clapping riotously every time.  ... The audience gave him a standing ovation".  (Sarah Dunn, 29 October 2012)

REVIEW, The Nelson Mail:  "incredibly clever, funny piece of theatre ... Hurst brings each protagonist to life in an astonishing feat of sleight of hand, eye and mind ... The actor sustains the show's frenetic pace and energy, culminating in a spectacular fight between Macbeth and Hamlet, or Hurst against himself.  He's a knockout!" (Judith Paviell, 27 October 2012)

REVIEW, Theatreview:  "an exhilerating 70 minutes which showcases the remarkable skills and talents of this actor.  ... A spontaneous standing ovation is in order.  ... This is a performance not to be missed.  It is an opportunity to see and hear New Zealand's master thespian at work".  (Ruth Allison, 28 October 2012)

Interview: "Laugh a Minute as Actor Turns to Bard's Ghosts" by Anna Pearson
The Nelson Mail (24 October 2012)

Howick Little Theatre
Howick, NZ
19-20 October 2012
  Interview: "New First for Actor After Three Decades" by Chris Harrowell
Howick and Pakuranga Times (11 October 2012)

The Street Theatre
Street 2
Canberra, Australia
11-21 July 2012
(as Frequently Asked Questions)




REVIEW, The Canberra Times: " ... solo performer Michael Hurst displays a comedic tour de force of mighty mirth, brilliant timing, stunning slapstick pratfalls, hilarious parody and knockabout characterisation ... Familiarity with Shakespeare's text may heighten appreciation of the ingenuity of this work, but Hurst's performance alone will be enough to have you chortling in your chair or captivated by the actor's art". (Peter Wilkins, 14 July 2012)

REVIEW, City News: "If you love theatre, claw your way into The Street 2 in the next week or so to see the celebrated NZ actor, Michael Hurst, playing himself, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and King Lear, often all at once.  This is a rare performance by a mature actor in complete control of his art". (Helen Musa, 12 July 2012)

REVIEW, Stage Whispers: "In this one-man show, Hurst has the audience in stitches . . . Hurst's delivery of [the lines] imbues characters that we generally keep somewhere in an ancient castle of the imagination with truth and punch, bringing them undeniably to life ... The physical comedy of Hurst's characters engaging in vicious hand-to-hand fighting is as funny as it is amazing". (John P. Harvey, 14 July 2012)

REVIEW, artsHub: "New Zealand actor Michael Hurst is undoubtedly a genius at his art.  Oscillating between sombre and ecstatic, deranged and prim, hilarious and soulful, all in the space of a microsecond, here is an artist who has not only mastered, but well and truly nailed his craft". (Revelly Robinson, 20 July 2012)

REVIEW, ArtSound FM: "Michael Hurst gives a towering performance in what must be a very difficult role to play. From the moment the play starts until it finishes, he sustains the intensity of a man in a deep crisis that is very real and quite alarming, and his comic timing is superb, making the most of every funny line in the show". (Bill Stephens, 15 July 2012)

REVIEW, The Barefoot Review:  "Hurst is a master in his multiple roles, drawing on a seemingly bottomless bag of tricks from many years of performing Shakespeare's works ... to create one brilliant spectacle ... an energetic and highly intelligent production that sculpts a clever comedy out of tragedy.  The writing is nothing short of magnificent, and the execution really packs the punch". (Deborah Hawke, 13 July 2012)

Interview: "Shakespeare goes solo in astounding stage production" by Kate Dzienis
The Examiner (19 July 2012)

Interview: "To be or not to be, at The Street" by Helen Musa
City Life (29 June 2012)

Fuel Festival
Playhouse Theatre, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts,
Hamilton, NZ
5-7 July 2012
(as Frequently Asked Questions)
REVIEW, Theatreview: "Michael Hurst's first solo show is terrific. The few remaining seats for the Hamilton shows should be snapped up. When it comes around, just go see it ... the fights he stages with himself, complete with back flips and chair rolls, drew gasps from the audience. They are genius ... Would that all orthodox remounts of Shakespeare had this exhilaration". (Mark Houlahan, 6 July 2012)

Basement Theatre
Auckland, NZ
21-26 May 2012
(as Bard Day's Night)


REVIEW, The New Zealand Herald:  "Polonius would probably announce Michael Hurst's first one-man show as 'tragical-comical-historical-pastoral', for it is a giddy grab-bag of Shakespearean riffs ... Hurst uses his rich voice and fascinating face to differentiate between the men ... an exhibition of thespian craft, beating himself up - as different heroes - in a prolonged, impressive comic routine". (Janet McAllister, 22 May 2012)

REVIEW, Theatre Scenes: "While Shakespeare allusions are dropped in their hundreds, the language is immediate and laugh out loud funny ... There’s a happy tension between ‘bad Shakespeare’ and ‘good Shakespeare’.  There’s a real delight taken in riffing on and ripping up the characters and Shakespearean pretension ... And yet, and yet, amongst the piss taking, Hurst restores Shakespeare to his pedestal ... We already know that Hurst is one of our best, but just to prove it again, he gives us this performance. It’s his skill that makes this fly, swapping between character, bawdy and pathos with swiftness and ease". (James Wenley, 23 May 2012)

REVIEW, Theatreview: " ... a performance that would grace any stage in the world ... at the heart of this wonderfully jubilant piece is Hurst himself, mangling the text as Shakespeare would have wanted, eating it up, chewing it roundly, spitting it out with venom, passion, anger, lust and love ... In Michael Hurst, I believe we have a talented genius, as fine an actor as any in the world". (Lexie Matheson, 22 May 2012)

Interview: "The Play's the Thing" by Dionne Christian
The Weekend Herald (19 May 2012)

New Zealand International Arts Festival
Downstage Theatre
Wellington, NZ
2-11 March 2012
(as Frequently Asked Questions)

World Premiere



REVIEW, The Dominion Post:  " ... the fourth and funniest and most outrageous Shakespearean offering of the festival ... In a comic tour de force Michael Hurst plays all the roles with relish, sending up styles of Shakespearean acting, poking fun at the language, and providing some gloriously funny physical comedy when Hamlet and Macbeth fight each other.  But miracuously he can also turn the comedy on a sixpence and change the mood almost without one being aware that he is doing so as he releases the emotional power of the poetry in some of the most famous speeches in the English language". (Laurie Atkinson, 3 May 2012)

REVIEW, Theatreview:  " ... something more than watching an excellent actor at work.  And so Hurst is, an excellent actor, but to a purpose greater than a mere display of talent.  Beyond the metaphysical swirls the physical highlight is the fight he manifests between Hamlet and Macbeth.  That it is not staged to elicit applause (although we want to applaud) confirms there is more to the purpose".  (John Smythe, 4 March 2012)

INTERVIEW, TelstraClear Festival TV:  Michael Hurst and Natalie Medlock talk about what the show is; with short excerpts from the show:


INTERVIEW, Sunday Mornings, Radio NZ National:  Michael Hurst talks with Chris Laidlaw about his early life, becoming an actor, and developing the show (19 February 2012)


INTERVIEW, Upbeat, Radio NZ National:  Writers Natalie Medlock and Dan Musgrove talk with Eva Radich about developing the show (20 January 2012):


Press Release: "Frequently Asked Questions - Michael Hurst"
Scoop (8 November 2011)