The Island
Massive Nui Ensemble
Mangere Arts Centre
June 29, 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I’ll admit, when the show first started I was unsure where it was going and what I was even doing there.

However my uncertainty soon turned into a smile that stayed plastered onto my face until the final bow.

Co-directed by Sam Scott and Miriama McDowell, The Island by Massive Nui Ensemble perfectly captured what it means to be Kiwi.

It drew on experiences familiar to all New Zealanders, such as the mad dash to the beach in summer, to avoid the burning sand.

The cast of six each brought their own funny and tender stories to the stage, highlighting their whakapapa and ancestry.

One of my favourite moments would have to be some of the ridiculous pick-up lines that were thrown around.

Performed by Sieni Leo’o, Jes’mine Palaaia and Denyce Su’a, the lines were the product of an afternoon where they couldn’t breathe properly from so much laughing.

There were some emotional moments as well. Liam Jacobson talked about his grandfather, remembering him through the stars; Stef Fink recalled tales of the love between her grandparents.

It was these real stories that pulled and tugged at my heart strings and caused deep belly laughter.

Combined with music, dance and lighting, the show captivated the audience till the very end.

Overall, the play was able to explore six individual paths but also link them one to each other.

Much like an island, the show illustrated that although separate, we are all connected. That was the crowning glory of the act for me.

The Island is set to perform in Scotland as part of a Youth Theatre Exchange run by the National Theatre of Scotland.

After watching their performance myself, I can say that the Massive Nui Ensemble are a great representative for New Zealand.


You can go and see The Island for yourself at the Mangere Arts Centre before it heads overseas by booking online.