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"If you believe theatre to be in its death throes, go immediately to Niu Sila... a deceptively simple work yet a rich theatrical experience. Oscar Kightley and Dave Armstrong hilariously evoke a society becoming less white-bread. Niu Sila also stars two brilliant performers - Dave Fane and Damon Andrews elicit roars of laughter from the audience. Niu Sila is a triumph and deserves the rapturous reception it got." - Natasha Hay, Listener, 14 March 2005.
Written by two of New Zealand's best-known comedy writers, Dave Armstrong and Oscar Kightley , Niu Sila has received outstanding reviews, sell-out houses, and has attracted a wide and culturally diverse audience around New Zealand, and at the Pasifika Styles Festival at Cambridge University in May 2007.
Funny and poignant, irreverent yet touching, Niu Sila is a story about a friendship spanning over thirty years, two cultures and one multicultural neighbourhood. In 1970s New Zealand, six-year-old Ioane Tafioka - fresh off the boat from a Pacific Island - moves in next door to six-year-old Kiwi kid Peter Burton. They begin an unlikely friendship that will change their lives.
Peopled with drunken uncles, crooked ministers, left-wing university professors, a no-nonsense Polynesian matriarch, and an entire local Indian cricket team, this thought-provoking story will delight and challenge.
Niu Sila won a 2004 Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for best new NZ play, was named best play for 2005 by Auckland's Metro Magazine, and has had sell-out seasons at Downstage Theatre (2004 & 2005) and the Auckland Festival, toured throughout New Zealand, and traveled to the 2007 Pasifika Styles Festival, Cambridge, UK.
Niu Sila is written by two of New Zealand's top comedy writers Oscar Kightley (Sione’s Wedding, Bro'town) and Dave Armstrong (Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby, The Tutor).
Niu Sila stars Dave Fane (Naked Samoans, Bro'Town) and Damon Andrews (The Tribe). Together the two actors play more than 30 characters including the friends and family of the two boys, as well as a host of other colourful characters including a racist primary school teacher, a not-too-bright policeman, a disco mad teenage girl and an 80-year-old nun.
Co-writer Oscar Kightley says Andrews and Fane admirably rise to the challenge of their multiple personalities. "People who see it said they were amazed that they could watch a six-foot-four Polynesian guy with a beard on stage and see only a beautiful, slim 15-year-old girl in front of them."
"Deceptively simple in its presentation, Niu Sila turns out to be a rich and satisfying experience, with complex currents rippling beneath its warm, delightful, generous flow. It's the sort of play that reminds us why theatre was invented " - John Smythe, New Zealand National Business Review
"Take one tall, large, Samoan and pair him with one short, small palagi (white) actor, and you are off to a flying start as far as visual comedy is concerned. Add to this winning partnership warmth of characterisation and funny snapshot observations of people from all walks of life, as well as a script that both hilariously and touchingly flits its way through the dark woods of racial and cultural differences, and you have a timely and highly entertaining play. It was given a rapturous reception on Friday... David Fane and Damon Andrews spilt like amoebas into all the different people in the lives of the boys. Their onstage chemistry is potent." - Laurie Atkinson, The Dominion Post
"Fane and Andrews make a great tag-team, with some 20-odd personalities at their fingertips woven together fluently in a multilayered look at a rarely realised aspect of New Zealand's social history... Niu Sila's intelligent humour and emotional engagement is a recipe for an endearing and enduring multi-cultural classic." - Manawatu Evening Standard
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