Hui – Auckland Arts Festival

Presented as part of the Auckland Arts Festival, HUI tells the heartbreaking story of four estranged brothers who reunite following the death of their father.  Mourning quickly transitions to bickering when past pain and unresolved issues come back to haunt them.

This long standing conflict between the siblings make up the bulk of this exceptionally crafted homegrown drama.  It is an intense watch but thanks to Mitch Tawhi Thomas’ accomplished writing the captivating narrative and compelling characters make it an enjoyable watch all the same.

What really struck a chord with me was just how fleshed out and authentic the characters were.  Xavier Horan, Tola Newbery, Stephen Butterworth and Vinnie Bennett are all just outstanding in their portrayal of the respective siblings.  They share a tangible chemistry that feels so genuine that it’s hard to believe that they are not actually brothers.

For me personally, Tola Newbery was the clear standout performer in the ensemble.  His portrayal as the intellectually disabled George blew me away.  Stephen Butterworth also impressed with a heartfelt performance of Tina (formerly known as Tane).

No Silo production is complete without an amazing set and this one was no exception.  Sean Coyle’s stunning set design not only looked aesthetically pleasing but also worked extremely well with the flow of the story and the characters’ movements.

The lighting and sound design by Jennifer Lal and Leon Radojkovic respectively was really effective in enhancing the atmosphere of the scenes that unfolded.  The lighting helped capture and accentuate key moments in the story, in particular the “song sequences” where the father comes to life, while the sound effects (namely the rain) reminded us of what lay beyond the four walls of the house.

What can I say but Silo Theatre have done it again!  Rachel House has succeeded in directing a dynamic, incredibly gripping and intrinsically New Zealand play that packs an emotional punch – it is not to be missed.

You can see Hui as part of the Auckland Arts Festival until 23 March at Q Theatre.

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