Set in the early 1960s in fictional New Zealand community Omoana, Awatea revolves around the annual arrival of local boy, rural heartthrob and successful doctor, Matt Puku (Te Kone Tuhaka).
While the entire cast was faultless, special mention has to be made to two of the actors, George Henare and Geraldine Brophy who through their performances as Werihe Puku – Matt’s blind, old fathers – and Emma Gilhooly – Omoana’s boisterous post mistress – transcended Awatea into a piece of theatre that will stick with the audience beyond the car ride home. I don’t want to give too much of the storyline away but the chemistry between these actors and the emotional rollercoaster they take the audience on in the second half is so intimate, intense and raw that it feels like your chest has been ripped open and then carefully sewn back up by the time you leave the theatre.
In all honesty, Awatea is not normally the kind of play I’d choose to see, but I’m truly glad I did as it is a seriously slick, impressive piece of theatre. Consider it recommended!
| Amie Wee