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South sea magic at the Barbican

New Zealand company The Conch's 'Vula' was simply one of the most magical evenings I've ever experienced in the theatre. Four women brought the South Seas to sparkling life in the subterranean darkness of the Barbican's Pit Theatre. They performed on a beautifully lit flooded stage - singing, dancing and acting out stories of the sea and everyday life beside it.

Passionate, funny and totally involving tales of church-going, washing clothes, goddesses and fishes, told by four strong, proud and beautiful women. A Fijian audience member wearing a hibiscus flower dress was so moved she couldn't help singing along with the songs and whooping with joy as each new scene unfolded. In the finale a tiny outrigger boat is sung to safe harbour. In any other show it might be a cliché but in Vula it was completely bewitching.


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