Article Title:Pride review: Black Faggot
Author or Credit:Jay Bennie
Published on:17th February 2013 - 08:42 am
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Story ID:12931
Text:Beulah Koale and Iaheto Ah Hi Black Faggot Starring Iaheto Ah Hi and Beulah Koale The Basement Theatre for Auckland Pride Saturday 16, Monday 18 - Wednesday 20 February Black Faggot may well be the most poignantly hilarious show, on radio, TV, the movies, the net or on stage, that you'll see for a decade. Probably longer. From the moment Iaheto Ah Hi and Beulah Koale fire off an opening combative volley on whether it's better or worse to be a 'black faggot' or 'thick as shit' the laughs, drama, pathos and tension don't stop. Mostly it's laughs, sometimes ribald and in your face, sometimes sweet and almost incoherently innocent. From beginning to end as the pair power their way with utter conviction through a collection of Samoan gays and their families, partners and friends, we, regardless of our sexuality or ethnicity, are with them all the way. Nothing gay or Samoan is sacred. Blowjobs, self-serving and over-reaching fa'afafine, Tongans, religion, pussy vs cock, nightclub music, internet porn, Sonny Bill Williams posters... this is no holds barred, raw energy humour with a message. Koale's mesmerising range of generally young, sometimes gauche characters, alternately insecure and seething with misdirected frustration and terrifying in their rage, is magical. Ah Hi's mastery of restrained power, overblown egos, inelegant sex and protective God-fearing mothers is a joy. Backed up by a tight, sharp script and awesomely good direction, with not a prop or costume change in the whole 1hr-plus performance, this pair takes us on a rocket ride through characters and situations that are both uniquely gay and uniquely Samoan. Homosexuality and Samoan society, South Auckland-style, are held up to the light in all their noble and tawdry glories. Always stopping short of parody, Black Faggot nevertheless takes jab after rib-splitting jab at the ridiculous. Then it sweeps us into small intimate moments of fear and hurt and danger. And all the while we are laughing, laughing, laughing. And then, just when the humour is exhausting us we come back to Christian, the young Destiny Church acolyte who is so desperately trying to 'pray away the gay.' If you don't tear up as you eavesdrop on Christian's entreaties to his God you're inhuman. Haughty mums, dads trying to butch up their butterfly-loving sons, prissy bossy bottoms, elders who are respected even when the going gets bloody rough, all and more are presented with simplicity, humanity, utter conviction and remarkable insight. There's not a weak moment nor a misstep from beginning to end. Black Faggot isn't merely brilliant, it's beyond brilliant. Book now, before the straights fill up the small Basement Theatre for this far too short run. Right now! - Jay Bennie Bookings: 09 361 1000 Jay Bennie - 17th February 2013    
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