Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

REVIEW: Pasifika Aladdin fulfils audiences’ wish

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Alatini Season 2. Photo: Provided
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Kendall Vano | Reporter

A fresh take on the classic tale of Aladdin has emerged through a new theatre production: Alatini.

This rendition infuses the well-known story and Disney animated film with an urban and Pacific twist, while also highlighting the musical and acting abilities of Pasifika youth residing in South Auckland.

At a preview show held at the Mangere Arts Centre last week, both families and children had their desires fulfilled as they were whisked away into a world of Pacific-inspired fantasy and imagination.

Directed by Troy Tu’ua and produced by Sau E Siva Creatives, the story revolves around Princess Kalani, played by Adyhana Urika Filifilia of the Kingdom of Mangere.

Alatini played by Selevasio Tu’ima and Princess Kalani, played by Adyhana Urika Filifilia

She yearns for adventure outside of the palace walls, while Alatini, played by Selevasio Tu’ima, struggles to make ends meet. They unite with the help from a genie who lives in a mystical L&P bottle, played by three talented actors; Tavai Fa’asavalu, Irene Folau and Rokalalni Lavea. Together they help our heroes to defeat the evil sorcerer, played by Saale Ilaua, and bring peace to the land.

The production’s use of a young Polynesian cast is a step forward for representation in theatre, creating a captivating blend of local talent and traditional storytelling with a well-known and familiar tale .

The cast members’ singing abilities were equally matched by their strong acting skills, creating a vibrant, energetic and captivating performances. The choreography infused a mix of traditional Pasifika dances that represented different islands and contemporary movements like hip hop.

The energy of the cast who performed the dance routines, filled the stage with so much enthusiasm that it made the set feel secondary.

Evil Sorcerer played by Saale Ilaua

While all the actors delivered impressive performances, it was the portrayal of the Evil Sorcerer that truly stood out. Saale Ilaua’s flamboyant and eccentric take on the villainous role demonstrated that portraying the bad guy can be both enjoyable and entertaining.

The show included a mix of traditional Pacific tunes and covers of modern artists such as Rihanna, Macklemore and James Blunt. Additionally, the live band, featuring the talented Pacific musicians Backline, contributed to the atmosphere and added an extra layer of energy and enthusiasm to the entire performance.

More photos of the Alatini Season 2 Production. Photo: Provided

It comes as no surprise that the upcoming season is highly anticipated. Its debut season, which sold out in October last year at Q Theatre in Auckland City, proved that there was a demand for a Pacific show of this calibre. The second season is coming home to South Auckland and has already become a hot ticket, with many sessions already sold out.

The performance was so hot, that on the night I attended, a fire alarm went off twenty minutes before the show was to end. The packed audience had to evacuate, with the option to return after the twenty minute fire drill. It was a testament to the performance when the majority of the audience opted to stay after the fire alarm to watch the remainder of the show.

The families left experiencing an enjoyable night, and a feeling that their wish to support and endorse Pasifika theatre was granted.

Alatini is currently on at the Mangere Arts Centre and closes on Saturday 22nd April.



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