Sean Burnett Dugdale-Martin
There’s a fire and two detectives are, unbeknownst to each other, sent to solve it and find the arsonist. Grappling with the presence of each other and the three suspects they find themselves thinking much harder than they thought they would. A simple premise that is so awesomely complicated by the ridiculous characters in the group. Dean Morgan (Roy Iro), Ian Sheff (Reon Bell), Andre “the Great '' Bambino (Sean Rivera), The Don (Moana Ete), The Godfather (Gypsymae Harihona) create a powerful, silly, electric ensemble.
The show is intoxicating with its energetic silliness. It’s absurd characters and premises, the twists and turns that always get a laugh or a gasp, fuelled by the fun that the cast has together. This is the best show I’ve seen in ages. I’m immediately in love. Its style honours the hip hop of this country and this town, produced and emulated on stage with love. The cast are insanely talented, constantly hot-seating to one of the many musical instruments built into the set or around the stage to give other cast members a thrumming base-line to their spat bars. This show is SICK. Dripping with style the cast doesn’t miss a beat keeping the energy going for all 70 minutes. You’ll be laughing until you cry.
I saw the show live as part of the Kia Mau festival but my review is of the online rental of the show as part of Kia Mau Festivals 2023 Live Performance Season. My coded impression of recordings of shows is that they can’t possibly be as good as the live experience, but that’s not to say there isn’t a huge amount of enjoyment that can still be garnered from them. The recording and videography maintain a lot of the energy from the live show as well as incorporating editing techniques to elevate moments of the performance. Sometimes during the live show, with the music going and constant laughs from the crowd, you can miss stuff! The sound mixing of the online rental is great for catching every bar and joke.
Online recording and distribution of live shows is a great way of making art accessible. Constantly we see amazing shows make dedicated efforts to go to major cities and centres because that’s where the most people are, and therefore, the most money (which is necessary since taking anything anywhere is expensive). An unfortunate consequence of this is that the regions encounter much less of the ground-breaking, powerfully subversive and thought-provoking content that Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, yadda yadda, might get. Considering a nation that has Te Tiriti obligations to uphold it makes complete sense that Kia Mau Festival, and everything that it stands for, is an organisation putting in the effort to get amazing shows into living rooms across the nation. Finally all New Zealanders can experience the joy I felt when The Great Bambino sleeps with each of Ian Sheff's consecutive seven wives.
Enjoy this silliness as much as you can, whenever you can. For more FLAMES details click here but unfortunately its finished its online run. I hope it comes back. I hope they make DVD’s of it.