The Māori Sidesteps are making their much-anticipated Ōtautahi Christchurch debut at The Court Theatre this September with a night of music and laughter – even if the slightly subversive jokes are occasionally on them (and their audience!)
The Māori Sidesteps have evolved a fresh and enlightening perspective of the great Māori showbands of the 80s and 90s. Known for entertaining with clever skits, irreverent charm and music, they have wowed crowds throughout the country, and the world, thanks to a successful TV show and web series.
Together Cohen Holloway (Boy, Good For Nothing, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Thor: Ragnarok); Jamie McCaskill (Takes A Village, Shortland Street, Modern Māori Quartet); Erroll Anderson (Colonial Kombat, Ghost in the Shell, Takes A Village, Cousins); Regan Taylor (Mahana, Othello Pop Up Globe, Bless the Child) and Jerome Leota (Naked Samoan’s Go Home and Smokey Feel) dial the entertainment up to 11.
By giving some of your favourite songs mischievous and hilarious twists, humour and music are used as ways to broach issues such as colonisation in non-confrontational ways that may raise questions but point no fingers. Founding member Jamie McCaskill says that he hopes “the audience takes away a sense of a Māori lens on the world, if they don't have that sense already. A sense that te ao Māori and the Māori lens is a valid view on the world and that normalising this view isn't radical or attacking the ‘standard’ New Zealand society. If Aotearoa can get bi-culturalism right, multiculturalism should be easy.”
The group formed in 2016 and have continued to grow their success ever since. Although live shows are a key feature of their repertoire, The Māori Sidesteps creativity spans far and wide to include online content, with an award-winning web series (self-titled The Māori Sidesteps), and a hit television series on Māori TV (Hari with The Māori Sidesteps). When asked what makes this collective so successful, the group admit it’s their combined strengths in storytelling, music and film, as well as their personal respect for each other that sees them sell out shows across Aotearoa.
McCaskill says that “The Māori Sidesteps are constantly evolving as we try to keep up with our ever-evolving society. We create, negotiate, perform, tour, chat, laugh, jam, sing and share life together like a whānau and have done this for the last five years.”
Taylor reiterates this view, saying “The Māori Sidesteps is one of the easiest personal, creative and business ventures I've been fortunate to be part of. Working in harmony with the strengths of everyone involved is a koha unparalleled.”
Originally scheduled for 2021, The Māori Sidesteps were forced to postpone their Ōtautahi debut due to Covid-19. The Court Theatre was glad to able to rebook them for 2022 and even extend the season. “If you don’t yet know and love The Māori Sidesteps, you will” says Court Theatre Artistic Director Dr Alison Walls. “I have no doubt Court audiences are in for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.”
With soulful harmonies, satirical skits and superb song parodies, The Māori Sidesteps will serve up a night of crooning, comedic goodness. Audiences can expectan entertaining night out that will not only leave them laughing, but maybe looking at life a little differently.
“With mischief written all over their faces... they sing with both gusto and finesse, harmonising perfectly and bringing a wealth of musicality to their standout performances." - Theatreview