Fresh from top reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Rutene Spooner is back in New Zealand and bringing his heroic show, Super HUGH-Man to town.
Super HUGH-Man is showing at the Blue Baths from 19 to 21 September, as part of the Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival.
Of Ngāti Porou, Kuki Airini, Ngāti Ruanui and Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga descent, Mr Spooner’s award-winning solo cabaret production charts his journey growing up as a kapa haka student, to becoming a musical theatre star, after discovering the secret identity of his hero, Hugh Jackman.
“It’s pretty special to have a platform like Aronui, which has its own voice and dedicated to indigenous works. Super HUGH-Man definitely hits that mark, and I’m excited to observe the audience’s reaction to a show like this. The beautiful thing about this festival, is it helps us explore Māori Musical theatre,” he says.
He hopes his show embodies traits of the demi-God Māui Tikitiki-a-Taranga, who is known for many skills, such as intelligence, curiosity and being an entertainer.
“My character draws on the cheekier and somewhat flamboyant side of Maui. Super HUGH-Man waves a flag of empowerment to be different.”
Edinburgh newspaper, The Scotsman, gave Super HUGH-Man a four-star review at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last month. However, Mr Spooner admitted he laughed when he realised the significance of the rating.
“I found out it’s a really big deal, in a sense that most five stars go to big budget ballet and opera – big lavish productions that are usually produced by the Edinburgh International Festival. It’s humbling and a ‘far out’ moment for me to see the calibre of shows which have the same rating as my paku (small) production,” he says.
Mr Spooner says performing in Edinburgh was a dream come true but he is ready for Rotorua.
“I made my show here at home and took it overseas, adapted it, and am ready to share it with Rotorua. I’ve shared it with the world and now I want to share it here. It’ll be a humbling experience.”
Tickets are $18 - $25 and are available at Ticketmaster.