Beauty and the Bro – Mel Parsons and James Nokise

Various venues - on tour, New Zealand wide

02/09/2014 - 04/10/2014

The Mussel Inn, Onekaka (near Takaka), Nelson

14/08/2014 - 14/08/2014

Arts On Tour NZ 2014

Production Details

Take an acclaimed folk singer and a celebrated Samoan/Welsh comic, and be rewarded with an evening of music and comedy like no other. Mel Parsons and James Nokise combine their considerable talents to bring you their intimate live cabaret show, ‘Beauty and the Bro’.  

Nokise has returned from the UK stand-up comedy circuit to perform ‘Soso Gangsta’, his hilarious and slightly true take on New Zealand gang culture. Parsons will be presenting new work, plus a variety of songs from her first two albums – ranging from rollicking country numbers to heartfelt ballads, and accompanied by multi-instrumentalist, Gerry Paul (Grada, Tim O’Brien).

“Parsons has a voice that could work any night in Nashville, yet sounds somehow intrinsically New Zealand – and the songs are good, very good.” –Black Magazine

“Nokise is a fresh, cheeky and (a) remarkably astute voice in today’s comedy climate.” –Nik Smythe, Theatreview

James Nokise

A Fred Dagg Comedy Award nominee and two time Billy T Comedy Award nominee, James Nokise has carved out a reputation in New Zealand going after everything from gangs to politicians to pacific Island stereotypes.

Fresh from four years working on the United Kingdom stand-up comedy circuit, he’s also performed at the Edinburgh and Adelaide Festivals, guest lectured at universities, been a member of the award winning Puppet Fiction (Pulp Fiction with Puppets) crew, written Wellington’s popular political satire series, Public Service Announcements, all the while continuing to be a regular host at Wellington and Auckland comedy clubs, as well as a commentator for Radio Live and 531PI.

Not bad for a bro kicked out of a gang in the Hutt Valley.

Mel Parsons

After growing up on the West Coast, Mel Parsons now calls home a hotel room and a suitcase, building her fan base the old fashioned way, winning over audiences on the live circuit. The two time NZ Music Award finalist for Folk Album of the Year, Parsons has received accolades for her 2009 debut record ‘Over My Shoulder’ and for ‘Red Grey Blue’, released to widespread critical acclaim in 2011.

Last year Parsons toured Australia, UK, Ireland, Germany and New Zealand as a solo artist and joined the cast of ‘Fly My Pretties’ for the sold out 23-date ‘Homeland Tour’. She has also spent two years touring as one half of the double bill show ‘The Bitches’ Box and Mel Parsons’, playing in woolsheds all over the country. Parsons is currently working on her third album, due for release in early 2015.


Tuesday 2 September 7.30pm Geraldine 
The Country Café, 76 Talbot St
$20 Book: Tresjoli Giftware o3 693 9339 

Wednesday 3 September 7.30pm Oamaru 
ODT Inkbox, Opera House
Adults $25, Students $20
Oamaru Opera House or Oamaru i-Site 

Thursday 4 September 7.30pm Owaka 
Memorial Community Centre 
Adult $20; Seniors $18; Senior Students $10 
Book:  Mary Sutherland 03 415 8613; Catlins Café 

Friday 5 September 7.30pm Gore 
The Little theatre
$25 / $20(plus booking fee)
Book: SBS St James Theatre 0508 ITICKET

Saturday 6 September 7.30pm Invercargill 
SIT Centrestage Theatre, Don St
$25 / $20 / $5
Book: Ticketdirect or Cue TV 

Tuesday 9 September 7.30pm Okarito 
$20 Book: Okarito Nature Tours 

Wednesday 10 September 7.30pm Hokitika 
Old Lodge Theatre 
Revell St 
$20 Book: Hokitika Regent Theatre 

Thursday 11 September 8pm Barrytown 
Barrytown Settlers Hall 
$20 Tickets at the door 

Friday 12 September 8pm Westport 
NBS Theatre 
$27.50 Book: NBS Theatre or 

Saturday 13 September 8pm (Dinner from 6pm) Mapua 
The Playhouse Café and Theatre Restaurant 
$20 Book: The Playhouse Café 03 540 2985 

Sunday 14 September 8pm Onekaka 
The Mussel Inn 
$15 Book:  The Mussel Inn 

Tuesday 16 September 7.30pm Wanganui 
Royal Wanganui Opera House 
Adult $25; Senior $23; FOH $20; Student $15 
(Special rates for school groups) 
Book: At the venue or 

Wednesday 17 September 7.30pm New Plymouth 
Theatre Royal, TSB Showplace 
New Plymouth 
$25 Theatre seat; $30 Table seat; $200 table of 8 
Book: TSB Showplace Box office, 0800 111 999 

Thursday 18 September 7.30pm Tokoroa 
Tokoroa Little Theatre 
$20 Book: Tokoroa Clothing Co 07 886 8488 

Friday 19 September 7pm Whitianga 
Town Hall 
$15 Book: Whitianga Paper Plus 

Saturday 20 September 7.30pm Coromandel 
Coromandel Bowling Club, Woollams Ave 
$25/$20 (concession) 
Book: Coromandel Information Centre 

Sunday 21 September Kauaeranga 
Kauaeranga Hall 
$20 Book: Txt or phone 021 078 8675 or at Lotus Realm Pollen St 

Tuesday 23 September 7.30pm Kerikeri 
The Turner Centre
Adults $30; $20 Seniors, groups 5+, students under 18 
Book: Turner Centre 09 407 0260 

Wednesday 24 September 7.30pm Hokianga 
Copthorne Hokianga 

Friday 26 September 7.30pm Whangarei 
The Riverbank Centre 
Reyburn House Lane 
$25 Book: 
Whangarei Suit Hire, Rust Lane 

Saturday 27 September 8pm Onewhero 
OSPA Theatre, Hall Rd 
$20 Book: River Traders Tuakau 09 236 8875 

Sunday 28 September 7pm Tauranga 
Baycourt X Space
$22-$25 plus booking fees
Book: Baycourt Box Office; 0800 TICKETEK 

Wednesday 1 October 8pm Upper Hutt 
$20 Book: 04 527 2168 

Friday 3 October 8pm Balcairn 
Balcairn Hall
$25 (inc supper) NO BYO 
Book: Sally Mac’s, Amberley, Sefton Garage, Stan’s 7 day Pharmacy Rangiora 

Saturday 4 October 7.30pm Twizel 
Pukaki Lounge Top Hut 
$20 book: Twizel Information Centre and Mackenzie Lotto Plus 

Arts On Tour New Zealand

AOTNZ organises tours of outstanding New Zealand performers to rural and smaller centres in New Zealand. The trust receives funding from Creative New Zealand as well as support from Interislander and liaises with local arts councils, repertory theatres and community groups to bring the best of musical and other talent to country districts. The AOTNZ programme is environmentally sustainable – artists travel to audiences so that that small town and country dwellers can enjoy high quality entertainment on their home patch.

A fine double bill indeed

Review by Antony Hodgson 19th Sep 2014

It is an easy going atmosphere at the Mussel Inn, Onekaka, Golden Bay with the performers hanging out with the punters, the fire keeping things toasty and the beer easy to drink. The allotted start time comes and goes and about 15 minutes later, when the room has settled to a comfortable hum, a ‘voice of god’ announces the imminent arrival to the stage of the famous James Nokise.

The ‘voice of god’ is, of course, Nokise himself leaning laconically against the bar referring to himself in a mix of ego-stroking and self-deprecation that sets the tone perfectly for the evening. 

Onstage he launches into what appears at first to be an introduction for Mel Parsons but as the family stories, tales from the road, topical comments and New Zealand cultural references come thick and fast, I realise that this is his actual half of the show and 40 minutes disappears with much laughter and response from the audience. 

James’ act, Soso Gangster, jumps wildly from topic to topic with stories which must be prepared material but flow out of the heckles and comments from the crowd so smoothly that he simply runs with whatever comes his way. This is not a show where we can just sit back and observe the show, as James brings his material right into the here and now, engaging with every comment that is dished up from the floor. 

This skill keeps us with him throughout his act as if our particular group presence and response are actually part of his material. 

James’ upbringing with a Samoan father and a Welsh mother in the metropolis of Lower Hutt provides a wealth of asides and anecdotes and Soso Gangster draws the majority of its material from observations of NZ gang culture. Running a line that few would brave, he points out the inconsistencies of the displayed toughness of the gang members and provides some great renditions of their physical and vocal mannerisms. 

The show is peppered with observations of small town NZ, garnered while on this AOTNZ tour, and I’m sure that the incidents of this show in Onekaka will be spun into the act for the remainder of the tour.  Perhaps the moment where, in response to a red-headed hecklers’ brilliant line, James jumps into the audience, bends down to her in her wheelchair and gives her what looks like quite a kiss.

This is a fine double bill indeed. The easy laughter and cracking pace of the first half leaves us well sated and ready for the more introspective lyrics of Mel Parsons supported by Gerry Paul on guitar and banjo. 

If this show is passing your door, I suggest you take yourself out for an enjoyable evening.


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