From cinemas to live on stage, it’s Red White & Brass: The Play

Last year’s box office hit comes alive on stage in a new Auckland Theatre Company production, Red White and Brass: The Play.

We were among the many who experienced the māfana energy and Tongan extra-ness of Red, White & Brass in cinemas last year. Inspired by a true story, the film depicted young Tongans in Wellington who come up with a bold plan to see their team play a sold-out game at the Rugby World Cup—bluffing their way into the big day by forming a brass band to perform at the match (despite having little to no experience).

Last year I chatted with Halaifonua ‘Nua’ Finau, one of the band members who co-wrote the film, and his co-writer and director Damon Fepulea’i. That was just before the film premiered, and now it steps off the screen and onto the stage, adapted by Leki Jackson-Bourke as Red White and Brass: The Play—at ASB Waterfront Theatre from 18 June to 6 July. Making his stage debut, the film’s lead actor John-Paul ‘JP’ Foliaki reprises his role as Maka in this stage adaptation, which also brings many of the original cast back together—under the direction of Anapela Polata’ivao and Vela Manusaute.

As quoted in the ATC media release, the directors say: “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.”

Auckland Theatre Company Artistic Director & CEO Jonathan Bielski adds: “The stage adaptation promises to be 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.”

Other familiar faces from the film return for Red White and Brass: The Play, including Haanz Fa’avae-Jackson (Shortland Street, The Panthers), Mikey Falesiu (ATC’s Dawn Raids) and Onetoto Ikavuka (Shortland Street, ATC’s The Eel and Sina) now in the role as Reverend Pita. The large Pasifika supporting cast also includes Saale Ilaua, Diamond Langi, ‘Aisea Latu, Jason Manumu’a, Sesilia Pusiaki, Michaela Te Awa Bird, Kasi Valu, and Lauren Jackson.

Tickets for Red White and Brass: The Play are on sale now, and include discounted tickets for groups of six or more. And, thanks to the support of Europcar, anyone under the age of 30 can come for only $30.