Four Women

Centrepoint, Palmerston North

26/02/2011 - 12/03/2011

Production Details

A vision of beauty in a bloody eyeball…

Piles of dirty washing as found art… 

Scales that tell lies and lies, faded skin, disobedient hair straighteners and a large boned existence. 

A fascinating insight into the journey of WOMAN ONE, as she traverses the oceans, frightening men and conquering the world with her size 11 feet. 

Centrepoint Theatre, Palmerston North
26 February – 12 March
Show Times: Wednesday 6.30pm, Thursday – Saturday 8pm, Sunday 5pm. There is no performance the Sunday after opening night.
Ticket prices: Adult $37, Seniors $25, Community Service Card Holders $25, Students with ID $15, Under 30s $25, Dinner & Show $65  

The cast of Four Women talk to Lynn Freemen on Arts on Sunday. Click here to listen to the podcast.

Starring Anapela Polataivao, Stacey Leilua and Tavai Faasavalu

A lovely, heart-warming show

Review by John C Ross 28th Feb 2011

Pasifika girls!! You want to, sure, you really can be a Big Brown Barbie (or not so big), a beauty princess, and whatever else you choose to be! That’s the key message of this feisty show, devised by Leilani Esmae Sieni Salesa with this young Samoan theatre collective, Kila Kokonut Krew. South Auckland-based, their Four Women enjoyed its world premiere in Palmy last night.

It’s a rumbustious, inventive, perceptive, vital, humorous three-hander, with two women and one man each playing multiple roles, or just dancing, ensemble. At the start, there’s the man dancing vigorously down-stage centre, with the two girls up-stage, trying to follow, rather lamely. At the end, it’s the character Woman One who’s in the centre, totally come into her own. 

The title Four Women is a tad misleading. Really, there’s Woman One (Stacey Leilua), first as a twelve-year-old, then as a late-teens-ager, and her Aunty (Anapela Polataivao) and their respective side-kick friends or rellies. Aunty, having to act as her niece’s de facto mum, does her best to keep her impulsive charge in some sort of order, and dreams of having her win a Miss Samoa (NZ) contest. Now wouldn’t that be proof of her success, in bringing her up!

In practice, a girl who takes as her hero and role-model Sesame Street’s Miss Piggy, because she’s a strong-willed individualist and an envelope-pusher, is not going to be that predictable.

There’s a marvellous episode in which Woman One, as a school-kid, exploring a butcher’s shop’s vile-smelling rubbish bin, finds unexpected wonder and beauty in an eye. There’s a couple of very funny scenes in church, with the unscrupulous minister (Tavai Faasavalu) seeking to extort vast sums from his congregation.

This kind of show, with one sequence after another, needs a smooth flow from one into the next, and Vela Manusaute, the director, has managed this admirably, with nothing on stage except a long clothes rack with the costume-stuff draped over it for quick changes, and a couple of boxes, for instant furniture. Certain sequences have plenty of vigorous music. 

As this is its first outing it may get the odd bit of fine tuning, somewhere along the line. Some of the dialogue races on a bit too quickly, for my ears, though one does get the gist of it. But then again, this is not the Kila Kokonut Krew’s first production, so they know what they’re doing; they are all well-trained; and they work exceedingly well together. It’s a lovely, heart-warming show.
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