Cultural tapestry woven in song and movement

By Paul Simei-Barton

Culture Clash. Photo / Jamie Pettigrew
Culture Clash. Photo / Jamie Pettigrew

The show entwines fragments from diverse personal histories to build a dazzling collage that honours the uniqueness of its constituent parts.

The multicultural face of Auckland is vividly displayed in Tapac's community theatre project that has a hugely enthusiastic cast working under the guidance of seasoned theatre professionals.

The show entwines fragments from diverse personal histories to build a dazzling collage that honours the uniqueness of its constituent parts. The free-flowing structure creates surprising juxtapositions and abrupt shifts in tone as traumatic memories are jumbled together with moments of humour and romance.

Director Beth Kayes builds a carnival-style atmosphere in which personal stories are skilfully blended with song dance, acrobatics and clowning.


The show opens with haunting memories from Kosovo, which the chorus translates into finely choreographed images of the conflicts that have forced immigrants to flee from their homelands.

Ivan Sergeevich Essin and Ben Burrowes are particularly effective in establishing a threatening physical presence that conveys the casual brutality of authoritarian regimes.

A much lighter tone is introduced by Katerina Fatupaito and Antonia Stehlin as a pair of hard-case Samoan clowns who provide a hilarious commentary on the action and bring a wonderful sense of irony to their accounts of life in the land of milk and honey. With the voices of the younger generation, the focus shifts onto the anguish felt by teenagers who are torn between the exhilarating freedom of their new homeland and harshly repressive expectations carried by their parents.

These conflicts are poignantly invoked by the image of a young Indian girl whose romantic dreams are choked off as she is wrapped in a sari while the irrepressible energy of youth is represented in dances that switch in rapid succession from a European waltz through to Samoan siva, Scottish folk dance and a wildly energetic Bollywood chorus.

What: Culture Clash
Where: Tapac until November 3

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 19 Sep 2014 21:36:38 Processing Time: 917ms