Switch Bar, Upstairs, 309 K Road, Auckland

14/02/2013 - 23/02/2013

Auckland Fringe 2013

Production Details


The King of Exotic Cabaret takes K’ Road! at Salon Mika. Get licked into blissful submission by the hottest line-up of international talent on the strip! Opening to the public on Valentine’s Day February 14th running to the 23 February, Wednesday-Saturday nights from 8pm. 

Lounge around and vibrate in the newly renovated Switch Bar (upstairs, 309 Karangahape Road). Veteran of seven (7) Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, Mika brings snippets of his new works destined for international stages with a cast of live musicians, dancers, exotic performers and poets from several countries. Salon Mika is for Adults who like to love, laugh and live.

Experience the age old arts of Exotic Cabaret – think Josephine Baker and Grace Jones of yesterday – todays equivalent Janelle Monae and Lady Gaga – artists who don’t compromise, welcome to Salon Mika

Mika, creator, innovator producer, fashionista – is fly, fresh, dope and very straight up. Mika says it like it is, always has really, that’s hardly news! One part plastic Maori, one part lifestyle liberationist and one part icon. Actor, singer, dancer, image-maker.

3 Television series & specials (The Mika Show, RWC Mika’s Aroha Mardi Gras), 8 Music releases and numerous film and Tv appearances. Mika is a master of the performing and digital arts “Art doesn’t have boundaries, minds do.”

R18 – Contains nudity and adult themes

Thanks to Auckland Fringe, Pride, Switch Bar and MHF

Auckland Fringe runs from 15 February to 10 March 2013. For more Auckland Fringe information go to

SALON MIKA takes place:
12th – 23rd February, 8pm (Wednesday – Saturday Nights)
Venue: Switch Bar, Upstairs, 309 Karangahape Road, Auckland CBD
Tickets: From $12 Bookings: 1 Night – or (09) 889 2161 

Life, love, lust, loss, longing and leaving in Mika's finest work yet

Review by Jan-Maree Franicevic 16th Feb 2013

I wonder how many times I’ll be able to shoehorn the word ‘amazing’ into this review… because this show is amazing. All of it.  

From the moment I walked into the room it was show time: the pop/rock of Ramon is booming; shaking and booty-popping in a fringed red dress she hits you immediately. She is (as the box office boy tells me) the warm-up act. Following her is an unexpected bonus: a performance by cabaret drag act PolyFilla. She is amazing: polished, hilarious, energetic. Both acts a fitting start to the outstanding energy of Salon Mika.

Mika is commanding as soon as he stalks into the room; everything about him is arresting and magnetic. Clad in the first of several amazing pieces of costumes put together by Kiri Nathan – a Patrick Steele designed bodysuit, skin tight to the flare at the knee, showing a peep of the signature Mika 6 inch stack heels – he has a body to be jealous of and immaculate makeup. He can belt out a tune, high kick his leg up on to the venue’s bar, dance and strut, and not show a single bead of sweat. And when he slows to talk, he’s not puffing. The man is amazing.

Latecomers be warned, there is no way to get into the room without getting ‘in the way’ of the main performance area, not that it bothers Mika: “Go round here. Quick!” he barks at some tardy punters in a break in the opening number. This man is the consummate professional, further proven by the fact that even a large group of audience members gabbing loudly throughout the show are no distraction for the star and his cast.

It is impossible not to notice that the room is odd shaped. Michael Knapp has done an amazing job of dressing the room; I felt as though I was stepping into a spider’s web. Though the band is tucked onto a rostrum, most of the action takes place on the floor and around the room. Yes, this is progressive performance, as Mika says: “If you are sitting somewhere and thinking that you can’t see very well, don’t panic, the show will be coming to you!” And it does.

Salon Mika is split into four parts over ninety minutes, my one criticism would be that the breaks between the four acts are very brief. I would suggest you assign your party roles for each of the breaks as it proved impossible to ‘powder my nose’ and get a refill of red wine before Mika hauled anchor and the show was off again.

It’s a heady a mixture of dance, burlesque, spoken word and song. And it is a big show: big in themes and big in size.

Penny Dodds leads a sensationally talented band of five; Mahina Kaui must be singled out for her exceptional skills with Taonga Puoro (traditional Maori instruments). Caiige and Shontelle are backing vocalists along with Mahina and their sound was enough to bring my companion for the night to tears. Powerfully amazing.

The Mika Haka Foundation works with youth in the arts, and the team of six dancers are all sourced from his programmes; they mix and mingle with the crowd and encourage us to touch them… There is no escaping the interactive elements of the show. Don’t be surprised if a microphone is thrust into your face during a ‘Mika sing-along’.

Megan Alatini, introduced to us as Mika’s new ‘wife’, cuts a striking figure and is a perfect match for Mika throughout the show, though most notably during the duo’s soulful ballad Labarynth. Romantic and breathtaking; amazing.

Karl Moser’s lighting is inspired. The logistics of the room make traditional show lighting a challenge. This is aptly dealt with by two sprawling creatures clad in black body suits with full face masks and feathered headdress, who follow the performers around the room with handheld spotlights, at times to great dramatic effect, especially during Mika’s solo pieces. He has developed a unique stillness which gives even more power to his already very strong voice and commanding physicality. 

At one stage Mika self-confesses that he is most famous for being a Maori homosexual. But he is so much more than his sexuality, and I venture that this show is his true coming of age… The acerbically witty banter and largesse is still there, but more importantly his honest observations are gritty and real, his words are weighty with wisdom; the kind that comes from living a lot of life.

The show is crammed full. My personal highlights: junkie lovers, the voyeristic bro copping an eyeful from the street, anecdotes of his many travels and the very touching story of Marama. As if to prove that after all these years he has not completely turned to mush, he signs the show off in true Mike style: “What I’ve learned is that the world …” [spoiler averted].

Life, love, lust, loss, longing and leaving: how lucky I was to see this show! Yep, this is a show that has had some serious thought put into it, and it is amazing. I have done a count, I have said amazing ten times now, which may seem like a lot to you. But then if you ask me, this is Mika’s finest work yet. 


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