The Black Friars

The blurb for USO at Downstage is:

A modern day story on an epic scale, USO is a story about growing up in South Auckland and the pressures Pacific Island youth experience living there. Lincoln must deal with the conflicting desires of his family, friends, girlfriend, school and peers in order to survive. USO explores the tensions between friendship, brotherhood, betrayal and loyalty.

It sounds like it will be rather moralistic and overly “worthy”, but in fact the performance was heaps of fun, and really engaging. It was like watching an episode of Glee set in Wesley College.

I have become a big fan of the Black Friars, who are a South Auckland based Pacific Island theatre company. They capture that Polynesian humour and sense of mischief so well, while also telling a story that many in New Zealand could relate to.

They are only on for three days at , so if you are free tonight or tomorrow you may be able to get tickets. It’s a fairly short show at 80 – 90 minutes, but make sure you stay on afterwards for Q+A with the Friars. I almost found that the best part of the evening. The banter between them is as good as on Seven Days, and the audience was totally engaged.

This was again one of the shows I wasn’t sure I would like, but absolutely did. They also tour around schools. If you ever see the Black Friars performing near you, give them a try – I suspect you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.

Of and I am not making this up, but one of the actors is a near dead ringer for Wellington central National candidate Paul Foster-Bell. Paul must have some Samoan blood hiden away in him 🙂