The Brave – On Tour – Review

The Brave, spawned from Massive Company’s 2006 show ‘Up Close Out Loud’ is a foray into the thoughts and hidden away hearts of eight young men. The troop of gifted and well-known actors play themselves, offering us glimpses into their lives. What they reveal is often raw, powerful, evocative and littered with real emotion. The show is a rapid fire of life situations that each guy re-enacts.

The company consist of seven twentysomethings from South and West Auckland and one South Island East Coaster who is the only crew member to have surpassed the age of 30. Together they create a multifarious syndicate of shape, size and colour. An unlikely looking bunch that will challenge everything you thought you knew about what it is to be a guy today.

Scott Cotter is one of the more recognisable faces in the group. He not only plays himself, but supports his co-stars in many roles during the hour and a half. Scotty does it all. He sings, dances, mimes and signs his way through the night and has a stage presence like no other. He’s endearing, effective and for much of the show, central to much of what goes on.

In Beulah Koale’s story he delivers every word with high emotion which has a huge impact on the audience. You hurt for him and feel companionship for him as he pulls you through his journey. There is no way to not feel affected by his performance.

For me the evening belonged to Dominic Ona-Ariki. His story left me frantically wishing for more, truth be told, I’ve simply never seen charisma quite like it. His storytelling was on point, with a delivery that would soften the hardiest of audience members. Every sentence ended with a grin that furthermore authenticated every single movement and word he’d just offered. My standing ovation at the end of the evening was for everyone on stage but especially Dominic’s story and delivery.

The stories and performances these guys offer are very real, very private and very personal. They discuss homosexuality, aesthetic value and look at male relationships like expressing love to your fathers and brothers.

Athleticism and energy is poured into the performance that symbolise their inner journeys and struggles. It’s provocative and an ingenious way to express the innermost workings of the male psyche beyond just words. A clear winner with every audience member involved flashing lights and Beyonce. I’ll say no more except that there were wolf whistles, clapping, cheering and Beyonce was no-where in sight.

The Brave is a true commitment to what it is to be a man when the odds are sometimes stacked against you.  An honest and modern interpretation of masculinity.

The Brave is on for one more show at Mangere Arts Centre and then tours around New Zealand

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