Comic Quest to Find the Perfect Whānau Gift!

Press Release – Auckland Live

Comic Quest to Find the Perfect Whānau Gift!

Auckland Live in association with NZ International Comedy Festival presents
The Perfect Gift
Performed by Jandel J and the Funky Friends

Fresh off a successful schools tour across Auckland, international performer Justin Haiu aka Jandel J is back with his Funky Friends to delight audiences with The Perfect Gift, in a mainstage debut at Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre from April 25 – 28 as a part of the NZ International Comedy Festival.

This playful, warm-hearted show will have children LOL-ing these April school holidays in a uniquely kiwi romp, featuring music, dance, and plenty of silliness.

With only 30 cents in their pyjama pockets, this band of brothers sets out on a quest to find the perfect gift for their Mum, in the imaginary world beyond their bedroom… Together they will fight dragons, fly on carpets and transform into superheroes to give their Mum the best birthday ever. Along the way they discover that perhaps riches and treasures aren’t the perfect gift, but what is?

Justin’s vision has always been to create shows that kids and families are not just entertained by but encouraged and inspired by, tying in themes of caring, sharing, resilience and empathy.

“For me it’s about bringing quality theatre that is not just highly entertaining, but that connects with their own world, and identifies values that they can take home. I guess I get a huge kick out of performing to young kids and seeing them soulfully laughing and engaging heartily with the show.” – Justin Haiu

Jandel J and the Funky Friends have performed The Perfect Gift and other shows to students in select schools across Auckland which may not normally have access to professional theatre, thanks to support from the Healing Through Arts Trust. The cast is thrilled at the chance to finally share this fun tale with the wider Auckland!

“My cultural heritage has influenced me to collaborate with other Pasifika male artists as we share similar values, faith and humour which we bring into our work. In terms of what projects I choose to work on – I feel hugely privileged to take up opportunities to be a role-model to Pasifika and Maori kids…and in fact any young people” says Justin.

Justin Haiu
Of NZ European and Uvean descent, Justin Haiu shot to fame as the runner-up on the TV series So You Think You Can Dance. Justin has a background in street theatre and B-boying/hip-hop performance. A cast member in Disney’s Theatrical Productions’ The Lion King in Sydney, Melbourne and Shanghai, Justin co-founded multi-award winning clowning group White Face Crew (as featured in Auckland Live Pick & Mix).

But who are the Funky Friends?
Italia Hunt has worked with the likes of Raymond Hawthorne, Victor Rodger and Madeline Sami, and has just wrapped an Australian feature film starring alongside RJ Mitte (Breaking Bad). When he is not performing, you will find him devising, creating and choreographing as a co-founder of the Samoan dance company SAU E SIVA.

Tupua Tigafua is also a renowned Pacific contemporary dance performer and choreographer, who has worked with Black Grace, Mau Dance Theatre Company, New Zealand Dance Company and White Face Crew.
The Perfect Gift is part of the fantastic Auckland Live Kids family programme in association with NZ International Comedy Festival.

The Perfect Gift plays
Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre
Wed 25 April (ANZAC Day), 11am & 2pm
Thu 26 April, 11am & 2pm
Fri 27 April, 11am & 6:30pm
Sat 28 April, 11am & 6:30pm

Duration: 50 mins (no interval)
Recommended for ages 5+
Tickets: Child $19, Adult $25, Family of four $68
Service and booking fees apply
More info:

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