‘Suitably Charmed’, is how I would describe my feelings after leaving Studio Three. I felt as though I had a date with four handsome men who wined and dined me on music. The many female audience members, including my mother, were all a flutter: ‘Weren’t they handsome?’ ‘I loved the young one, he had such a lovely smile’ ‘Those accents!’
It is clear these men not only win their audiences over by their masterful melodic singing, but also by their personalities. Māori men, through and through, they come from different areas of New Zealand, vary in age, style and relationship status. They have a comfortable warmth in the way they react with each other and the audience, clearly choosing to improvise their conversation in contrast to their songs. Dressed in smart suits they don’t hesitate to flirt and acknowledge all the ‘beautiful Scottish females’. Sometimes veering into being cringey, but you can’t help but blush and grin.
But I digress, this is a show about Music. The singing is angelically flawless creating a harmonic union of voices in either Te Reo (traditional Māori language) or English. Each Māori song lulls you into a relaxed state of awe, letting the guitars, the Cajón and the voices wash over you. My mind started to picture the otherworldly beauty of New Zealand which I have been fortunate enough to have visited. The Quartet also taught the audience useful words and phrases in their mother tongue and what is important to the Māori people; love, family and partying.
For whose who want to hear such skilled performers play western songs, you’ll have no problems. Songs such as Elvis’ Hound Dog, Winehouse’s Valerie and even Foreigner’s I Want to Know What Love Is are included, so you have no excuse not to enjoy yourself. I can’t help but think a university lecture theatre was the wrong setting for this experience. It is a shame it wasn’t a music club or bar so the audience could sip on drinks and feel free to sway and dance to the music.
With such powerful performances that reminded me of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and Michael Bublé, I left wanting more, to hear more songs and learn more about Māori customs.
A must see.