Review: Vanilla Miraka

by librarykris on September 30, 2016

Performer Hayley Sproull tells her story of a “white wahine’s deeply disengaged bicultural heritage”. Recognising that her Nana’s death meant a loss of connection to her Māori heritage this is a “comedic exploration of her embarrassed ignorance.” (Quotes from the programme.)
An elegant set in white pegboard – on one side a whare shape, on the other swiveling panels – with a few props is all Sproull needs to show us the awkwardness of looking white, having Maori whakapapa and having little idea of how to connect with Māori culture. For those of us with a similar background there are many, many moments of recognition. Sproull is in fine voice with the songs a key element of what makes this show work for me. She also judges her physicality and stance very well with tiny gestures conveying so much.
An energetic lighting design by Nick Zwart (also set designer) is ably controlled by technical operator Michael Trigg and supported by nice sound design by Matt Eller. Jo Randerson is the script mentor and director which shows in the tight script structure and nifty use of the stage.
Recommended.

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