Funny and poignant, Niu Sila is about a friendship spanning over thirty years, two cultures and one neighbourhood.
In 1960's Wellington, six-year-old Ioane Tafioka - fresh off the boat from the Pacific - moves in next door to six-year-old Peter Burton.
They begin an unlikely friendship that will change their lives. Peopled with drunken uncles, crooked ministers, left-wing university professors and a no-nonsense Polynesian matriarch, this is a hilarious and thought-provoking story that will challenge and delight.
This unique play is written by two of New Zealand's top comedy writers: Dave Armstrong (The Semisis, Spin Doctors) and Oscar Kightley (Naked Samoans, Sportzah!)
Staring Dave Fane (Naked Samoans, Skitz, The Semisis, The Strip) and Damon Andrews (The Tribe and Urban Gothic).
Niu Sila is quite simply exceptional.
Initially I was somewhat skeptical despite the rather amusing initial comment about turning our cell phones off or risk getting 'the bash'. I was smiling but still skeptical. The feeling remained as I realized that the two actors would be assuming different roles throughout the performance, an acting tactic that has left me flat in the past. But five minutes into the performance I fell hook, line, and sinker.
This is a strong play, combined with talented performers. Somehow this wonderful story, and the talent of the actors entranced the skeptic in me.
The performance follows the story of two boyhood friends from different cultural backgrounds. It explores the innocence and open acceptance of childhood, and the prejudice that exists in the adult racial world. Niu Sila is a combination of the quaint, the funny, and some rather hard-hitting emotional and social truths. I spent the duration of the performance positively transfixed. I laughed, I identified, and at one point I almost cried. It's rare for a story to touch on so many truths and emotions and still remain consistent and interesting. But somehow Niu Sila managed to incorporate laughter with poignant insights into New Zealand culture.
Both Dave Fane and Damon Andrews presented a convincing and heartfelt performance. They had the difficult role of playing different characters, often almost simultaneously, and managed to capture and hold audience interest throughout the entire show.
The story is amazing and the casting was impeccable. I cannot recommend this show enough. Niu Sila is an absolute must see. It will make your night.
I have had some very mixed experiences when it comes to stage shows. It just doesn't have the 'perk' and 'spark' full-production shows have. So, expecting another 'medium-to-good' production, I was quite impressed to find that within 20 minutes I was grinning like a maniac, laughing like a mule, and trying very hard not to burst into spontaneous fits of applause.
This show is a very poignant and powerful insight into multi-cultural life in New Zealand. With moments of hilarity, and somber moments full of introspection, the audience is taken through the rollercoaster of life that is multicultural Kiwi childhood.
I was particularly impressed with the sheer acting talent of Dave and Damon, and the skill these two men brough to the stage. The play had a cast of over a dozen characters, and despite wearing the same clothes and faces throughout the show, it was easy to see how each character interacted, even when four or more were 'performing' at once!
Overall, well, I think the score speaks for itself. I was totally stunned... 2 hours after the show and my hands are still sore from the clapping. A wonderful journey into the past, into an era that unfortunately no longer exists in our country.
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