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Red, White and Brass: The Play showcases at Auckland's ASB Waterfront Theatre from 18 June, 2024.

Red, White and Brass: The Play showcases at Auckland's ASB Waterfront Theatre from 18 June, 2024.



'Bringing the māfana': Tongan film to be reprised into stage play

After international success the hit-movie Red, White & Brass makes a comeback to Aotearoa as a theatre show.

Atutahi Potaka-Dewes
Atutahi Potaka-Dewes
16 April 2024, 8:12am
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Rugby World Cup fever returns to Tāmaki Makaurau in the stage adaptation of the Tongan screen-hit Red, White and Brass.

Led by another group of Tongan superfans, Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) is taking over the ASB Waterfront Theatre for just over two weeks this June.

Red, White and Brass: The Play will welcome back many of the original cast including the film’s lead actor John-Paul ‘JP’ Foliaki, reprising his role as Maka in his theatre stage debut.

Adapted by playwright/actor Leki Jackson-Bourke (Baby Mama’s Club, Inky Pinky Ponky) and under the guiding hands of award-winning directors/writers Anapela Polata’ivao (Things That Matter, Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, Our Flag Means Death) and Vela Manusaute (Brutal Lives, Teine Sā).

Directing duo Polata’ivao and Manusaute say the stage version promises to encapsulate the energetic spirit and warmth fans are familiar with.

"We are pumped to be bringing this Tongan-proud story to the stage, and know that this incredible cast will bring the māfana energy that audiences know and love from the screen to the stage.”

If people have been under a rock since the film’s airing, it is inspired by an amazing true story, which starts out as an out-of-the-box scheme to see the Tonga vs France RWC game of 2011.

Produced by Piki Films and Miss Conception Films the underlying theme is a journey of self-discovery in which Maka and his friends learn the importance of their Tongan culture, their community, and fearlessly standing up for what they believe in.

Last year, the film raked in notable awards and featured in festivals, including Damon Fepulea’i (Director/Writer) and Halaifonua (Nua) Finau (Writer/Original brass band member) winning the Special Jury Mention Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

The movie was also showcased in Sydney, Dublin, South Korea, and the United States, as well as at the Aussie and Kiwi Film Festival in Prague.

Official cast includes a roll of other familiar faces from the film, with Haanz Fa’avae-Jackson (Shortland Street, The Panthers, North by Northwest) stepping back into the role of Terrance, Mikey Falesiu (Dawn Raids) returning as Samisoni and Onetoto Ikavuka (Shortland Street, The Eel and Sina) who played Rob in the film now takes the role of Reverend Pita.

ATC Artistic Director and CEO Jonathan Bielski echoes the excitement in the build up saying this is a “must-see production”.

“Capturing the enchantment and emotion of the original film. Audiences can look forward to a visually stunning and passionate experience that will stay with them long after they leave the theatre.”

A true representation of māfana (warmth/ excitement), Red, White and Brass is a resoundingly feel-good experience for the whole family. To ensure the season is accessible to all audiences, tickets are discounted for groups of 6+ and with support from Europcar, under 30s can get in for $30.

Red, White and Brass: The Play is showing at Auckland’s ASB Waterfront Theatre from 18 June to 6 July, 2024.

Tickets can be found here.