Theatre review: Sinarella, Mangere Arts Centre

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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.

The script sags a little at the start - at 75 minutes, it's a little too long for a family show - and it's not quite as smart, funny or sharp as the Otara market T-shirts displayed as a gigantic lolly lei in the Mangere Arts Centre foyer (admittedly, a high bar). But the laughs increase in frequency: the stepsisters use a networking website called "fazeboog"; and the silver slipper is actually a sequined jandal ("Duke" - natural performer Troy Tu'ua - points out it'll fit nearly everybody).

The short pop harmonies under the musical direction of Tama Waipara are bright and tight. (The "ella, ella" call in Rihanna's Umbrella song becomes "Sinarella".) Sean Coyle's costumes (with Lepou) and set design are as colourful as a new pack of felt-tips, and - as often happens with panto - the stepsisters' lime green and electric pink ensembles upstage the more conventional costumes of Sinarella (Lavinia Uhila, with crystal-clear singing voice).

Taofi Faleala and singer Rosita Vai are far too pretty for their stepsister roles, but the prettiest of them all is Keith Adams, as a cross between Minnie Mouse and Coco Chanel with a Caribbean accent.

It was a show waiting to be stolen when, in quick succession, Adams and then Magasiva sashayed and karate-chopped their way in. Follow their example: adults $15, kids $8.

REVIEW

What: Sinarella.
Where: Mangere Arts Centre - Nga Tohu o Uenuku, to April 21.

- NZ Herald

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