Larger than Life were Ngaruawahia’s third-best children’s novelty act back in the 70’s and 80’s. Now they’re all grown up and ready for a comeback.
Travel back in time to small town Aotearoa, and join three hūpē nosed brothers, Te-Whakakotahitanga-o-Ngā-iwi-o-Te-Motu Boy-George Jackson, Te-Rua-Wairere-o-Ranginui-Kia-Papatuanuku Presley Jackson and Tuahangata Liberace Jackson, as they land the opportunity of a lifetime – opening for the legendary John Rowles in Wellington. All they have to do is get there and not screw it up! Come along as the boys take you on an adventure of epic proportions as they meet famous faces, Kiwi icons, wacky New Zealand characters and ultimately …. screw it all up.”
This show started out mid-2016 with the idea of a funny aesthetic — one small white guy wedged between two large brown boys. Sprinkle some nostalgia over old school Māori showbands and a classic road trip story, and the seed of Larger Than Life was planted. We had an excuse to play some cool kiwi tunes. What we needed now was a story…
Over the following months, a lot of ideas were thrown around. Once a development season was booked, the ideas became something more. We beat out the show’s main points and talked about the characters and where their journey would take them. Eventually we had the bones of a story to support all the ideas we had been throwing around.
Next came the writing. Hours of writing, feedback, editing and trimming fat. After draft two, three weeks of intense workshopping. Working through character, storylines, and songs with actors during the day; writing and rewriting at night. It was exhausting but at the end of it, we had a show.
After a three night stint performing to invited guests and the general public, it was clear the show worked. We had a humorous aesthetic, a charming story with some funny jokes. But we were left with a question—what’s the message?
Cue another few weeks of workshops and writing: we have the show that is now Larger Than Life. A funny aesthetic, a charming story with plenty of jokes and satire and a positive, humorous view on race relations and prejudice in 70’s/80’s Aotearoa, through the innocent eyes of youth. And of course, some cool kiwi tunes.
Produced by Te Rēhia Theatre Company
Directed by Tainui Tukiwaho (The Catch, Step Dave, Billy T James, The Almighty Johnsons)
Written by: Chris Rex Martin and Tainui Tukiwaho
15 – 17 June
14 June Preview ($20)
Wed – Sat 7.30pm
All tickets $25
Duration: Approx. 1 hour and 10 minutes