Polly Hood in Mumuland

Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland

15/04/2011 - 21/04/2011

Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland

26/04/2014 - 03/05/2014

Production Details

Little Red’s mother has asked her to take a basket of goodies to her sick grandma…sound like a familiar story? Think again!

This Red lives in West Mumuland and the journey South is full of surprises; singing chickens, talking trees, a kilikiti team, hip hop dancers and a very charming big bad wolf!

Can Red and her cousin, Maile, make it to grandma in time?

With live music, the best dancers and the funniest characters in Mumuland, POLLY HOOD IN MUMULAND is a musical extravaganza for the whole family these school holidays. 

Presented by Pacific Institute of Performing Arts and Auckland Theatre Company

Corner Bader Drive and Orly Avenue, Mangere
BOOK 309 3395 
Fri 15 Apr – SOLD OUT
Sat 16 Apr – SOLD OUT
Mon 18 Apr – 11am
Tue 19 Apr – 11am
Wed 20 Apr – 11am
Wed 20 Apr – 6.30pm
Thu 21 Apr – 11am
Thu 21 Apr – 6.30pm 

Dates: Saturday 26 April – Saturday 3 May, 2014
Times: Sat 26 Apr 1:00pm and 7.00pm,
Mon 28 Apr 11:00am and 2.00pm, Tue 29 Apr 11:00am and 2:00pm,
Wed 30 Apr 11:00am and 6.30pm, Thu 1 May 11:00am and 6.30pm,
Fri 2 May 11:00am and 6.30am, Sat 3 May 11:00am and 6.30pm  
Waged: $15.00; Unwaged: $10.00; Children 12 years and under: $8.00
From: www.eventfinda.co.nz or 0800 BUY TIX (289 849)
More info: www.atc.co.nz

 Starring: (2011) Pua Magasiva, Tama Waipara, Asalemo Tofete, Paul Fagamalo, Litea Aholelei, Troy Tu'ua and over 30 performers from the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts 
(2014) Peter Williams, Vai Autagavaia, Luse Sua, Paula Uvea, Tavai Faasavalu, Italia Hunt, Maia Te Ra-Fowler, Nastassia Wolfgramm, Olive Asi, Adyhana Urika (Anastasia), Troy Tu'ua, Faamanu Vaueli, Rocky Cooper, Joanna Seumalo, Kolopa Semei-Barton, Jake Toaga, Isaac Nonu, Siana Vagana (Lila), Ella Mavaega, Talia-Rae Mavaega, Josephine Mavaega

Designers: (2011) Sean Coyle and Sophie Ham 

Rachael Walker - Set Designer
Sophie Ham - Costume Designer
Gayle Jackson - Costume Designer
Andrew Malmo - Production Manager & Lighting Design

Paula Uvea

Dance , Hiphop , Family , Musical , Pasifika contemporary dance ,

A triumph – and only on for a week

Review by Johnny Givins 27th Apr 2014

Polly-panto hits the stage at Mangere Arts Centre with the confidence and energy of sunny tsunami.  Wave after entertaining wave, it crashes over the audience and produces the best children’s show I have seen in years.

A cast of 27 Polynesian actors, dancers and musicians blew the roof of the theatre last night as a full house roared.

The goal for Auckland Theatre Company was to bring the profession and the community together and make a theatrical event.  What a thrill it must have been for Colin McColl (ATC Artistic Director) and his family to witness the success of this initiative last night as Pollyhood in Mummuland made its opening night performance.

After open auditions, directors Alison Quigan and Troy Tu’ua cast 10 main parts and chorus of 13 who play multiple parts.  Rehearsing over a ten week period they adapted the Lauren Jackson script to their own world and talents. The energy commitment and talent of all the cast is impressive and of course entertaining. 

In true classic pantomime style they borrow from everywhere.  The well-choreographed dances (Troy Tu’ua) range from Siva to breakdancing to hip hop and funk.  The music (Nastassia Wolfgramm) borrows from Lorde’s ‘Royal’, ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf!’, Rap and a wide range of upbeat Polynesian classical and modern mixes. 

The singing is full blooded, with great harmonies and the discovery of some great solo voices. Three “chicks” and the story teller “rooster” are certainly a highlight as they lead the music with a great band.

Based loosely around the Red Riding Hood story with lots of twists, the show takes place in South Mumuland.  Red (a delightful Suivai Autagavaia) and her dumb friend Maile (Luse Sua) are sent to visit their Grandma with food. Along the way there is Kilikiti, street dancing, a Hotel siva dance show, dream sequences, chases and of course danger. 

Wolf (Tavai Faasavalu) is a delightful villain who, in typical panto style, you love to hate. There is even the “he’s behind you” sequence!  Grandma (Italia Hunt) is a huge and impressive grandma who is funny and fearsome at the same time.  Her fight with the Wolf is a comedy highlight.  A Fafafine auntie (Paula Uvea) makes frequent and hilarious entries and exits as she thrills and excites with her outrageous lies and deception.   

There is often a problem with Brothers Grimm Tales for children as they have elements of cruelty, destruction, blood and death in the original.  I mean you do have to kill that big bad wolf don’t you?  PollyHood brilliantly solves this potential frightening scenario by creatively using a large rear of stage screen and play the macabre scenes as shadows.  It is most effective and funny.

On a colourful painted stage (Rachael Walker) the action is continuous as the chorus link the story with energetic, disciplined dance numbers and multipart chorus numbers.  It is the sheer joy energy and affection of the cast that fills the theatre. 

Pollyhood in Mummuland is great show for kids and your whanau these Easter school holidays.  A triumph for ATC and this community of dedicated and talented performers. It’s only on for one week.


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Students put da hood onto Red Riding Hood

Review by Paul Simei-Barton 18th Apr 2011

A blast of high energy theatrical vitality from a troupe of Pacific Island performing arts students clearly demonstrates the future of Auckland theatre is in good hands. The Pacific Institute of Performing Arts, in association with Auckland Theatre Company, are presenting a school holiday extravaganza that puts da hood into Little Red Riding Hood.

The ancient European tale is emphatically planted in a never-world vision of South Auckland – made instantly recognisable through hip-hop dancers, fearsome fa’afafines, unreliable bus timetables, a kilikiti team, and endless family hassles that come from deceitful and demanding relatives. [More]
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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Extraordinary achievement an absolute winner

Review by Lexie Matheson ONZM 17th Apr 2011


No, 4,320 is not the meaning of life but the number of seconds it takes to enjoy Polly Hood in Mumuland – and every single second is a gem. This family show is pure magic from stirring start to full-on finale with something in between for everyone.  

It’s so good, in fact, that there is a feeling that the cast are just having fun, making it up as they go along and letting rip. Of course they’re not. Work this good is all in the making, and the making of this work is clearly all good. 

Premiered in 2009 at the Otara Music and Arts Centre, Lauren Jackson’s script was originally entitled Polyhood: Bound for Mumuland, but she’s updated it for this season: a production that sees the first collaboration between Auckland Theatre Company and the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts (PIPA). It’s pretty clear from Colin McColl’s articulate programme notes that this has been a mutually rewarding experience and one that he suggests may well be repeated. Let’s hope so, because it’s fantastic. 

It’s a family show – yes, I know I said that already but it’s worth repeating. The narrative is based on the story of Little Red Riding Hood (or Red Cap as its sometimes known) whose origins can be traced back to 14th century Italy – where a version known as La Finta Nonna (The False Grandmother) has been unearthed – and to Oriental folklore where it turns up as Grand Aunt Tiger.  More recently, of course, Charles Perrault had a go at it as did the Brothers Grimm. And now, with no less success, has Lauren Jackson.

All the key elements are there: the red cloak (or jacket in this case), the ailing grandmother, the Machiavellian wolf, the food and the journey Red Riding Hood takes to Grandma’s house. There are some additions too: Red (aka Polly) has a sidekick, her cuzzie Maile (played with pizzazz by Troy Tu’ua) who, with the best will in the world, manages to lead and mislead her to all the wrong places. Thank heavens for cousins!

Then there is the singing and dancing: the vocal work is magnificent no matter the style (and there are a number of them) and the credit for much of this must go to Tama Waipara as musical director. If you don’t know about Tama, Google him, but set aside some time for reading because this dude has done everything! How fortunate this young cast is to have such a formidable musical director and teacher, and they deliver for him big time with singing that is simply breathtaking. Special mention must be made of the yellow and pink-clad ‘chicks’ (Joanna Mika-Toloa, Yvonne Taufa and Nastassia Wolfgramm) for their consummate performances. 

Not to be outdone in style or skill, the dancing (choreographer Amanaki Prescott) is vibrant, spirited and accurate. The quality of the talent, the teaching and the rehearsal process shines though in every single confident moment matching anything of a similar nature seen on an Auckland stage for absolute yonks. 

Lauren Jackson’s imaginative scripting of the story is both verbally dazzling and culturally courageous. It encourages performances from the almost exclusively Pasifika cast that are exuberant and wildly entertaining and contains great one-liners that the more senior family members of the opening night full house (I said it was family show) found hysterically funny. The Narrator (Tama Waipara), having just been surgically removed complete with 4 string mumulele, from the bloated wolf’s belly reminded us, sotto voce, that he ‘might require some counselling’. 

There’s no question, Jackson’s characters are divine. The wonderful Aunty Sila (Paul Fagamalo) has enough part time jobs to be a poster girl for Paula Bennett and is just one of many cross-dressed diva all of whom would be quite at home in K. Road’s Family Bar – I said it was a ‘Family’ show – and they are led, of course, by Grandma (Asalemo Tofete) herself.

Grandma was a great hit with our eight year old son Finn who felt that one of the many highlights of ‘Polly Wood in Mumuland’ was Grandma’s vicious right cross that laid the wolf out cold. Other memorable moments for Finn included being invited on stage to dance with the cast (yes, there’s lots of audience participation, none of it gratuitous), the shadow box that allowed us to see the wolf eat the Narrator, Grandma and Red (aka Polly) and subsequently permitted us to see the surgery that freed them, the car and the cabbage trees. His primary vote of confidence was to suggest that it might be nice if we went again, and maybe took Nathan, Ryan and Jack as well. A compliment and one I fully concur with. 

A delicious touch of wickedness was the introduction of some cultural diversity.

Lil Red (Billie Staples), a mirror of Red (aka Polly) but a palagi version, has some classic dietary observations to make and links us back to the European tradition, not that we need to go there as we’re all quite happy where we are, in Mumuland. 

Red (aka Polly) has a Mum, a girl named Su, whose chic and honest performance is worthy of mention as are those of Henry Cheng, a most voluble Bus Stop, and Isaac Mataia whose Train Timetable achieved some of the best laughs of the night. 

But what of those illustrious protagonists, Red (aka Polly) and Wolf?

Red (aka Polly) is played by Litea Aholelei. Litea is multi-talented. She sings, she dances (exceptionally well), she’s immensely likeable and she collects laughs like most of us collect parking tickets, frequently and seemingly with scant effort. She’s simply the perfect Red (aka Polly).

As Henry Winkler was born to play the Fonz, Pua Magasiva was born to play Wolf. He’s sexy from the get-go, moves like a dream, has charm to burn, is fun and funny and embodies all that ‘Wolf’ through the ages has brought to the imaginations of children – and we love him no matter what he does. He is a very fine performer and it’s obvious why film and television see him as a hot property. There is a moment in the show where two teams of wolves howl at each other across the empty space and a small voice next to me murmured ‘it’s Team Jacob!’  

Team Pua Magasiva, more like! 

Yes, this is great holiday entertainment but it’s also an extraordinary achievement. This is a huge cast and a massive undertaking and it went off without a hiccup. Every cast member knew what was expected of them and they gave their extremely capable all. Director Goretti Chadwick’s talent is all over this show and I predict we’ll see her at the helm of a lot more similar successes in the future. She’s ably supported by the inimitable Sean Coyle who designed the effective and attractive setting and unobtrusively lit Sophie Ham’s costume designs and his own set to excellent effect.

There can be no doubt that the support Chadwick has received from Colin McColl and his team at Auckland Theatre Company has really helped make this show happen and it is to the credit of both parties that it’s an absolute winner. 

The Mangere Arts Centre is an excellent venue. Not only is it a terrific theatre but it has loads of parking. If you haven’t been out there yet this is the perfect opportunity. You won’t be disappointed. I might even see you there because, apparently, I’m going again!
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.  


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