BWW Review: Over My Dead Body: LITTLE BLACK BITCH at Mangere Arts Centre
Reviewed by Marty Wilson
Tuatara Collective's award winning new play "Over My Dead Body: Little Black Bitch" by Jason Te Mete is the first play in the "Over My Dead Body" series.
The show opened with an extremely moving waiata at the funeral of Matiu - a friend and son who tragically took his own life. Matiu's dog turns up outside Rangi's window and he knows he must adopt her, protect and hide her as she had taken off with the suicide note. The story captivated the audience's hearts and was creatively and very cleverly told through costume, dance and song intertwined with Māori mythology, comedy and kiwi-isms.
She's little. She's black. She's a bitch.
The entire cast were spectacular in bringing their many and varied characters to life in every aspect. It would seem unfair to single any one of the cast out as they were all sensational. Vocally and creatively Jason Te Mete has created something that is truly exceptional. A beautiful and clever blend of Te Reo and English told the story in such a way that even those who don't speak Te Reo understand and feel exactly what is going on. This production really transcends language and makes you feel like we are all one people.
This story is a sensitive one and there's some pretty dark themes running through it. Tuatara Collective are committed to an innovative arts practice that supports mental health in the arts industry for artists and audiences. A psychologist or qualified counsellor is present during all performances - a first in the industry and a very apt and necessary way to acknowledge the seriousness of these issues.
Top marks to everyone involved. This production is a "must experience" for all. Get along to Mangere Arts Centre this week or follow it on tour. The aroha, tautoko and sense of whānau this show provides must be experienced.
On at Mangere Arts Centre until 7th March
On and TAPAC until 14th March
PLEASE NOTE: Over My Dead Body: LITTLE BLACK BITCH contains direct references to suicide, and explores mental health and illness. Adult Supervision is recommended for younger audiences.