Salon Mika, Dance Base, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Jay Tewake (Producer) Michael Snapper Knapp (Set Design) Kiri Nathan with Cherry Cherrington (Costume) Eddie Elliott (Choreography) Cherry Cherrington, Kiri Nathan (Stylist) Marcial Conacco III, Zakk d'Larte (Poster Design) VADA & Daragh shop (Hair) Sara Orme (Cover Photography) Michael Knapp, The Green Room (Set Design) Jay Tewake and Michael Knapp (Lighting and Sound Design)
Mika (Writer and Performer) Chairman Siche (Keyboard Accompanist) Kelly Henare, Damon Heke, Tawera Wirihana Kaihaka, Kuini Tereva, Koha Milne, Tiahomai Henare-Heke, Haven Henare-Heke (The Taki Maori Collective)

Mika was last here more than 10 years ago but he returned again today like an extinction event meteorite hitting Edinburgh. The show starts, the audience sit in darkness and slowly the music builds, Mika begins gently singing and then 'KABOOM!' Mika takes the entire audience on a journey about our lives, our loves, our sexuality, our lost selves. It's brazen, brassy and ballsy.

From the start, you are ripped out of your seats by Mika's nova-like charisma, barely one minute into the show and the man sat in front of me whispers to his wife; 'He's good isn't he!' And indeed, he is.

Mika drives the show through a panalopy of scenes and emotions turning the experience on a dime from a jaw-achingly funny story to a sad lamenting melody and it's all done with precision, professionalism and fabulous timing. It's all here from teary torch songs to laugh out loud funny vocals.

It was the quickest hour I have so far experienced on the Fringe. This rich vein of creativity and ideas has been carefully crafted and melded into a high yield explosion of laughter, tears and entertainment.

The use of live music skilfully provided by Chairman Siche who never breaks character during the entire 60 minutes delivers another layer of danger and excitement. So, too, do the performers and singers of Taki Maori who make guest appearances during the show. At this point I was beginning to experience sensory overload and nearly passed out.

Where Mika leads, the audience follows. Like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland he takes us down into an unknown world, different and strange, frightening but enticing. He shows us the darkness and the blazing light in everyday life, he reminds us of things we may have forgotten. This High Priest of burlesque and cabaret consummately leads the pack. And no one has ever performed the Haka so sexily. Yes, this is a show that must not to be missed, sell your grandma if you have to for at least the price of a ticket.

The New Zealand Government has sponsored a whole range of events taking place during the Fringe this year to represent its country. My enquiries tell me that Salon Mika didn't get a penny. What is going on? Why would you not want to sponsor a show like this that so successfully portrays New Zealand as both cutting edge but also respectful of its heritage? One has to wonder why?

(Note to Margo Deyes MBE, the Artistic Director of Dance Base, the seats for this show must be fitted with safety belts, it's dangerous otherwise.)

Suitability 16+
Time 09:00PM
1 - 24 August (Not the 4, 11 or 18)
Tickets £10 Concession £8