A kick in the balls [by Sharu Delilkan]
The show started off in the classic Kila Kokonut Krew slapstick style that we are all familiar with. But it was not long before it was obvious that Vela Manusaute was totally on the ball. His latest show at the NZ International Comedy Festival titled Big Balls was a great way to get the ball rolling and to talk about the tough ‘ball breaking’ issues.
The tone of a show riddled with silly ball puns very quickly turned serious, making us realise that it was a different ball game altogether.
Vela’s creation of an all too familiar authority figure which can only be described as a cross between a religious leader and a motivational speaker was powerful, making the delivery of his ‘balls’ of wisdom unstoppable. It was great to see a Pacific Island created character, however insufferable, giving his fellow Kiwis a kick in the balls with special poignancy.
KKK still Kings [by Sharu Delilkan]
There was almost a carnival atmosphere when entering the Mangere Arts Centre, a setting befitting the Kila Kokonut Krew’s 10th year anniversary celebrations featuring the production that put the company on the map, Taro King.
Unfortunately I don’t have the benefit of being able to compare it with the first time it was staged. So all I can give is my reaction to what it was like seeing it with fresh eyes.
Just as when we saw Indian Ink Theatre Company’s first show Krishnan’s Dairy recently, after a decade, it was great to see where KKK started. And more importantly it was interesting to find out the impetus for playwright Vela Manusaute to write this iconic slice of Pacific Island life in Aotearoa.
For those of you who don’t know, Manusaute (who also plays Sammy) drew on what he felt and experienced working in an Otara supermarket way back in 1997.
Walking into the theatre and being greeted by DJ JXN (Glen Jackson) on stage drew me in immediately. I couldn’t help chuckling to myself when I read the words on his tee shirt ‘Shout Yr Maouf’. That definitely set the tone for what was to come. I found it even more interesting the way people tended to go up to DJ JXN and shake his hand on stage before taking their seats – something that would only happen in a South Auckland theatre – chur! And using him to do the ‘turn your cellphones off” and supermarket announcements was genius.
Killer Kreation Knocks yer socks off [by Sharu Delilkan]
The ‘Klu Kux Klan’ of Pacifica aka Kila Kokonut Krew have yet again pulled a rabbit out of the hat with another first - The Factory, New Zealand’s first Pacific Island musical.
“What the hell”, I thought. “How can it have taken until 2011 to produce a musical, with the abundance of Pacific Island musical talent in Aotearoa?”
The Factory is not just created by Islanders, it’s a musical about Islanders, that covers the struggles faced by generations of Islanders coming to Niu Sila for “milk, honey and money".
The show is the brainchild of KKK co-founder Vela Manusaute and is inspired by his father’s journey to Aotearoa to work and make a better life for his family.
The factory is the main character, originally providing hope and income for new arrivals to New Zealand but ultimately stripping the workers of their connections to family and their aspirations for a better life.