Tuesday, 20 January 1998

MIKA Haka on Heels, Jan 20, 1998

MIKA Haka on Heels
Universal Theatre 1 until Feb 1, 1998
Reviewed by Kate Herbert around Jan 19, 1998

You can get away with murder if you're charming and Mika could charm the pants off a Presbyterian choir.

His pastiche of songs, dance and silly banter is hilariously trashy and defying definition.

It falls somewhere between Les Girls and Madonna - with a Maori bouncer tossed in for good measure. This is good-humoured cabaret thtat does not take itself too seriously - which is lucky because it is very rough round its gold-trimmed edges.

Mika himself is an ex-aerobic champion with a wicked grin and equally wicked falsetto and a body to kill for. He romps and smirks and teases while two 'girls' provide tacky choreographic background to his "Maori Spice.".

It is his ease, warmth and naturalness that have made Mika a star in New Zealand and a hit at the Edinburgh Festival. This is the first leg of an international tour: Perth, Sydney for Mardi Gras then Asia and Europe. Dong the Haka (You know: war dance, tongues, much stamping) in Heels is part of his strategy of satirising male behaviour by exaggerating blokiness on stage.

Recorded music (Gareth Farr) accompanies the songs which include a few classics of the 60's and 70's: Light My Fire, Say a Little Prayer, Walk on By, It's Not Unusual. There is also a smattering of TV themes such as Wonderwoman and Marina the Mermaid accompanied by mermaid tummy dancing on stools.

Some of Mika's original songs are terrific such as the seduction of the Macdonald's order boy, "Do you want fries with that?' 'The Dresser' is a clever funky song about a transvestite caught out by his wife. Others are less successful.

This is bizarre and hilarious trash that cries out for a glitzy stage design to complement the glam costumes, instead of the Universal theatre and its grubby floor. Hello Crown Casino! This show would walk all over Red Hot and Rhonda.

The dancing duo, The Uhuras, are Mika's support and they make a weird but graceful pair, one being fine-boned and athletic and the other lusciously plump and sensual.

The Maori references are plentiful. Kiri Tre Kanawa 'a Maori from London' features in the curtain call and Mika manages a very funny facial likeness to the expatriate diva. Pauline Hanson gets a slapping. .'I'm here to make indigenous babies with her."
This show has broad appeal. Take the aunties. They'll probably love it.

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