Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Banquet Room
Until 11 Jun 2018

Review by Kylie Pedler

The lights lift, revealing Maori warriors in tuxedos and bow ties. Soulful voices blend in perfect Acapella harmony. And the stage is set, the audience charmed. But that is not all, for as the first medley continues from “Cupid” to “Rock the Boat” with acoustic accompaniment by ‘the boulder’, the beat kicks in, and the audience is found tapping, nodding and clapping away.

Modern Maori quartet members: James Tito, Maaka Pohatu (The Boulder), Matariki Whatarau and Francis Kora (Cheesecake), fill the stage with talent and irresistible charm.

Following the classic cabaret style, each performer shares personal insights while bringing to life the Maori culture and the stories of their individual tribal affiliations. While taught new words, educated about New Zealand’s history of Anzac pride and strong women leaders the audience is blessed to hear incredible original songs such as “Shine” and “Upon a Star”.

The sublime harmonies are amazing, as is their interplay of music numbers. The Haka-style choreography interwoven with classic boyband Motown moves is classy and refined. Their easy conversational interaction is friendly and easy to watch, and their unique Maori humour shines through.

The show includes a mix of English and Maori songs, but the audience is always informed about the meaning of each song and often its farcical interpretation. For without this explanation who would know that the fabulous original, “Blame You”, was actually a tribute to their parents: a way of saying “Thankyou” to their teaching of love, care and everything beautiful about the world!

With a final uplifting, rock and roll medley, this suave Maori ratpack leaves their audience wanting more.

One show left. Not to be missed.