Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland

10/04/2012 - 14/04/2012

Production Details

From the team that brought you POLLY HOOD IN MUMULAND! 

Pua Magasiva (Shortland Street) stars as the magical Fairy F.O.B. Mother in SINARELLA, a wickedly funny musical extravaganza, exploding onstage at the Mangere Arts Centre – Nga Tohu o Uenuku from April 10.

“A blast of high-energy theatrical vitality” – NZ Herald

PIPA and Auckland Theatre Company join forces for SINARELLA the vastiest (dorkiest, funniest) wannabe love story ever. Sorta like Cinderella, but a whole lot fresher man!

Will Sinarella make it to the Siva Social to dance the night away with her Prince or will her evil Stepmum and sisters squeeze their smelly feet into the glass jandal first?

Featuring live music byTama Waipara,New ZealandIdol winner Rosita Vai, 30 of the freshest singing and acting talent from the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts, brilliant dancing and funny characters, SINARELLA is a wonderfully funny tale and perfect school holiday entertainment for the whole family.

“This kind of show is unique toAuckland. It celebratesAucklandas the largest pacific city in the world,” says Auckland Theatre Company creative development manager, Lynne Cardy.

“It’s an exciting fusion of well-known fairy tales and Pasifika performing arts styles in an entirely surprising and accessible way,” says Cardy.

“It’ll be a great first experience of theatre, that the whole family will love; it’ll hook people on theatre for life,” says Cardy.

PIPA director Goretti Chadwick says “This new venture will allow this community, which is hungry to see works on stage that speak to them, the opportunity to do so. It’ll also give much-needed employment opportunities for young, trained Pasifika theatre practitioners.”  

SINARELLA is presented by Pacific Institute of Performing Arts and Auckland Theatre Company.

Tickets can be purchased from Auckland Theatre Company on 309 3395.

April 10 – 14
Mangere Arts Centre – Nga Tohu o Uenuku  

Pua Magasiva, Rosita Vai, Keith Adams, Lindah Lepou, Taofi Mose-Tuiloma, Asalemo Tofete, Troy Tu'ua, Lavina Uhila, Mills Vaotoga
and 30 of the freshest new performers from the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts.

Designers: Seam Coyle and Sophie Ham  

Singing takes top honours

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 12th Apr 2012

Sinarella’s cast is big, bright and brimming with vibrancy. Musical Director Tama Waipara’s inspirational musicianship and joyful score is something to be celebrated. This young and hungry cast and chorus, made up of 25 students from Pacific Institute of Performing Arts (PIPA) – who all possess great sets of lungs and natural rhythm and vibe – do exactly that.

Add in stand out performances by Keith Adams and Pua Magasiva, alongside magic vocals from Rosita Vai and Taofi Faleala, and Sinarella will have all the hallmarks of an enduring fun-filled family panto, if writers Goretti Chadwick and Sean Coyle trim a few flat sections from this bubbly script, and if directors Goretti and Anapela Polataivao tighten up a few lagging scenes,.

Sinarella is my first visit to south-side’s Mangere Arts Centre – Nga Tohu o Uenuku – I like it! A guitarist is jamming in the car park as we stumble into the friendly venue with 3 kids in tow. He provides nice synergy with Sinarella’s guitarist and associate Musical Director, Joseph Taouma, who is jamming pre-show music as we walk into the auditorium. His smooth stylings have a Tuck & Patti touch as he weaves through MJ’s Human Nature.

The musicians are tight and wonderful on the ear. Solo work from Joseph (not that he makes it sound or look like work) swells to a sextet at times, as chorus members Walter Sipili, Italia Hunt, Aisea Latu, Epine Savea and Kevin Man-Daniel, slip in to join him as drummers on percussive numbers. The result is a smooth organic fusion of styles.

At the top of the show, it’s nice to hear the usual cell phone message, acoustic and in person, from set designer / co-writer Sean Coyle – a warm welcoming human touch, much like the vibe of the venue and the night.

Sean’s tidy set is like a semi-flattened rubix cube – coloured squares and rectangles cover the floors and various levels, each lined with black gaffer tape, and framed either side with an hibiscus design, creating an open colourful space, fitting for the large energetic cast.

Sean and Lindah Lepou’s costumes are equally colourful and bright; the chorus look like The Wiggles en masse, and the lurid lime and pink tulle and lycra (AKA the ugly sisters’ 21st party swag) is perfectly garish. Sometimes the black leggings and bright t-shirts feel a bit 1980s school play, but it’s the overall theme, so it works. Just. By contrast, the divine Bok Choy wears an ensemble that would win Project Runway, especially as Keith Adams knows exactly how to work it.

Performances on the whole are very good, though basic diction is an issue for some. My ears, my friend’s ears and our 3 kids, couldn’t pick up half the dialogue — not a problem during songs, but many spoken lines by Lindah Lepou (Step Mum), Rosita Vai (Povi), Taofi Faleala (Pata), Troy Tu’ua (Duke) and Mills Vaotogo (Prince) are so gabbled and rapid, that I miss punch lines and plot. Often vocal energy drops before the end of the phrase as well.

Notable exceptions are Lavinia Uhila (Sinarella), Pua Magasiva (Fairy FOB Mother Ranger Guy), Paul Fagamalo (Isumu) and Keith Adams (Bok Choy). Their connection, clarity and tone is most welcome.

On saying that, Lindah has wonderful physicality. I’m not sure why she exited in the style of a crab at one stage… but the kids loved it!

The stand out performance for me is the impeccably groomed Keith Adams as Bok Choy, stylist ranger to the stars. He’s a scene-stealer, just by standing there. His Jamaican fusion accent is very cute; as are his Marilyn-mannerisms, pout and cheeky little looks.

Similarly, Pua Magaseva only needs to flex his muscles and shower-power, to have the ladies riveted by his performance. His leadership of the famous Shower Rangers is fun and well paced, as is the funky segue into Get This Party Started.

Romantic leads in a pantomime can be such a thankless task when the script indicates they should play it straight, kind and earnest, while larger than life characters around them, get to milk comedy from outrageous plots, costumes and gags.

Fortunately Lavinia Uhila and Mills Vaotogo are a sweet and lovable pair. In amongst the madness, there is genuine joy and romance in the air, especially when the Prince and his lady lock eyes for the first time. Ahhh.

The vocal work of Rosita and Taofi is heaven-sent, with effortless harmony, cut and phrasing. Their adaption of Adele’s’ Someone Like You, is particularly impressive.

Singing takes top honours – amazing, spin-tingling song after song, from the opening a cappella number in which the caller is world-class, to the Shrek-like finale mash up of hits, plus everything else in between.

The chorus’ acoustic body percussion, in the style of Bowie’s Fashion, to announce the arrival of Bok Choy, shows a wondrous working dynamic between Musical Director and performers.  Tama borrows all the right pop songs for all the right places. His fun and accessible score is pitched right for this pantomime, in terms of pace and energy, with one possible exception – the mice chorus as they work tirelessly on Sinarella’s list of chores, is strangely slow and ballad like. Perhaps he is making a point to go against expectation and action. It certainly did articulate that the strength of a family working together, can achieve great things, defying gravity.

At times, Goretti and Sean’s writing captures the heart of south-side humour and turn of phrase (“University of Otara”; “Get all the Honey’s to try the jandal”). Some community messages are woven in to good effect too, as the Prince comments about parents taking out loans for extravagant 21st parties that they cannot afford. 

The inventive inclusion of AV (nicely designed by Samson Chan Boon) to show online social networking replacing the traditional delivery of invitations to the ball, is a great asset to the storytelling. There are many nice twists on the conventional plot, such as the Shower Power lads replacing the fairy godmother’s work. The reappearance of Sinarella’s Dad as the shower power’s great lost leader, is a neat device to include AV cameos by journalist Niva Retimanu and Vela Manusuate.

However, some gratuitous sideshows weaken the script: Step mum’s recap of a beauty pageant speech was distracting and so badly articulated, I was lost. A few scenes need to be more justified in the narrative flow, or simply dropped. The spider story told by Sinarella to her newfound mouse-mate Isumu seems unnecessary. Right when the narrative needed to drive the plot, the script drags it’s heels, dwelling on a bond that is already established. Similarly, did we really need to see Isumu and Sinarella act out how she would behave when she meets the prince? Our kids looked blank during these scenes.

The character of Isumu seems burdened by a lot of unnecessary dialogue. While this obedient sweet mouse is a good voice box for positive messages, like a balanced diet and the importance of sport, I feel the character is over-written. When Sinarella’s sisters leave her tied up, why did Isumu dither around with affirming words, instead of just cutting through the red tape straight away?

The plays’ duration is advertised as 75 minutes. If Sean, Goretti and Anapela can shave off the additional 15 minutes that hampered opening night, they will have a much better play for young and old to enjoy.

However, this is all the perspective of a Mum. I’ll leave you with the kid’s views:

7-year-old Greta: (SPOILER ALERT) “My favourite bit was when that girl, that evil step-mum, that lady, no that man, yeah, he was a man… he took off his hair. That was awesome. It was all good.”

8-year-old Ella: “I really enjoyed it when the Prince and Sinarella finally met each other. The Shower-Rangers were funny, they were great. I really liked the detail. It was a bit long though, for kids.”

9-year-old Rosa: “It was funny, I liked it all. I liked all the funny dance steps. I couldn’t hear what they were saying always, but nah – it didn’t matter, it was fun.” 


Make a comment

Pantomime done Pacific Island style is bright and tight

Review by Janet McAllister 12th Apr 2012

Last year’s Polly Hood in Mumu Land put da hood into Red Riding Hood; this year, the same collaborators – Auckland Theatre Company and the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts – are putting Cinderella into the Southside.

The result is delightfully silly. Director Goretti Chadwick has a lot of great elements to play with, including expressively-eyelashed fa’afafine Lindah Lepou as Stepmum, Pua Magasiva (a Polly Hood veteran) as a bubble-blowing “Shower Ranger”, and the wonderful PIPA student chorus. [More


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council
Waiematā Local Board logo