Presented by:Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed: 21 June 2019
The best type of music is one coming from the heart. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything romantic but rather something filled with authenticity. It’s easy spotting fake sincerity in music but those having genuine emotion usually last the distance. Perhaps that’s why pop music is so disposable whereas classic tunes from Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, are still heard. The Modern Maori Quartet understand the value in exploring this style of tune whilst injecting their own personality within them. A multi-award winning New Zealand showband, the quartet of finely attired gents successfully evoke the imagery of times gone by. Their latest show Two Worlds is an original play weaving together four stories relating to their native culture.
This more personal aspect drives Two Worlds to great heights. Revealing much about their background and their nationality, the Quartet have a commanding presence from the start. Framing the story about four deceased men trapped in purgatory, each provided a ‘God-like’ entity stories about their lives and past regrets. Ranging from issues such as nationality, sexuality and romantic inertia, the show ran the gamut of emotions. These elements added depth and showed the performer’s versatility. This made for a more interesting show instead of the usual ‘singing old hits to the audience’ routine. This revealed their creative ability in their producing something to engage them and their audience.
Lest anyone think Two Worlds was a dour affair, it was anything but. Due to the quartet’s craftmanship the production had a sense of fun, despite some harder moments. Their natural charisma shone through over the hour with their singing skills on full display. The way they used song and light dance to express their own cultural journey ensured engagement. You were able to feel a true sense of the issues their personas faced that are ones found not only in Maori culture but in all areas of life. Their mellow harmonies hid the harshness of some aspects of the themes they presented which is a gift few performers have. The gents engaged with the audience very well and effectively drew them into the stories they told.
Kudos should also go to the staging and lighting as both were superb. The simple lighting effects conveyed the multi-layered narratives of each individual with ease. This simplicity allowed the show to stand on its own without the aid of distracting pyrotechnics. The audience clearly appreciated this going by their enthusiastic applause at the end. They joined in the spirit of the work on display and the quartet’s enthusiasm.
Two Worlds was an often heart-rending work from a talented ensemble. The authentic emotions and general fun made it a show worth seeing. Given their enduring popularity, the Modern Maori Quartet have added another string to their bow in a well thought-out production.
Rating out of 5: 5
Reviewed by: Patrick Moore
Venue: Space Theatre
Season: 21 – 22 June 2019
Duration: 1 hr 5 mins.
Tickets: Premium – Adult: $56.90, A Reserve – Adult: $49.90, Concession: $46.90