Galatos Live was set up like a lounge bar with white table cloths and candles The stage featured a central glitter ball and red sequin curtains. All this glamour was in aid of the The Modern Maori Quartet’s first full length show Ngā Bro E Whā.
The show begins with just some voices, but the stage remains empty? Off stage banter followed before we met a trio of singers. So where’s number four? I’m not great at maths but was certain we were one short here? It’s not long before a voice from the back calls out. Confused, but happy, the final member of the quartet had arrived.
Dressed in smart suits, white shirts and red ties the guys all look professional and ready to entertain the crowd. However all is not as you would assume, as each of these men have their own story to tell. One by one their tales unravel in a beautifully executed and entertaining show.
Performing a mix of customised cover versions and Maori music, this group of young men give it their all, with pitch perfect notes and enthusiastic dance moves that could give Jersey Boys a run for its money.
As well as huge laughs, and cheeky repartee, the mood could quickly shift to discuss historical cultural pains that are told through the quartet’s personal stories. World War II, the one that got away and cultural identity struggles are the emotive topics explored here. This is done so cleverly that the whole show manages to tug at the heart strings and hit the funny bone in equal measure.I found myself grinning throughout with a tear in my eye on more than one occasion.
It’s not a surprise that this show oozes talent as The Modern Māori Quartet is made up of: Maaka Pohatu (Two Little Boys), Matariki Whatarau (Go Girls), James Tito (The Almighty Johnsons) and Matu Ngaropo (Korero Mai) all graduates from Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School.
If you believe in angels then this is what I imagine they sound like. I found this show extremely moving and the impeccable harmonies and vocals where captivating from start to finish. This really was one of the most enjoyable theatrical experiences I’ve had all year. With huge international shows making their mark in Auckland The Modern Maori Quartet offer something 100% Aotearoa, featuring our very own stars who should be celebrated. Support this awesome Kiwi talent for a show that’s sure to have legs and become a classic showcase of Maori performers.
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar