Rella is a fun and fresh modern re-imagining of the classic Cinderella tale that will leave you smiling long after the final bows are over.
Flipping the narrative, the musical follows the ‘ugly’ sisters in a moving tale of family and self-discovery, allowing them to take their rightful place in the spotlight.
Co-created by Windmill Theatres Associate Director Sasha Zahara, stunning performers and choreographer’s Fez Faanana and Thomas Fonua, and written by the incredible Tracey Rigney.
As soon as the lights go down you are immersed into the lives of Afa (Fez Faanana), Sika (Thomas Fonua), and Rella (Carla Lippis), as they take their sister act to the ‘Is This Talent’ TV contest alongside their mother-slash-manager (Elaine Crombie). After Rella is singled out by Prince Charming Records, Afa and Sika are left behind, publicly humiliated and lost. In an attempt to redefine their sister act into a duo, they navigate magical realms and look to the past to unlock their true potential.
Rella is a love letter to culture and the discovery of it, with the multi-cultural family of a First Nations mother, two Samoans and an Italian as sisters. They show biology does not define their love, and their differing cultures bring them together in the end.
This was a definite highlight of the show, especially the sisters deep dive into Samoan culture and their culminating performance in the finale.
The story also showcases the message that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and societies insistence that if you are different it should not impact your self-worth.
Thomas Fonua and Fez Faanana carry the show’s comedic edge upon their shoulders with their spot-on sibling dynamics. Though, Elaine Crombie does make a hilarious bouncer without saying a single word.
The musical boasts entertaining costume changes with superb designs, as well as fun and catchy pop songs, featuring original compositions by Carla Lippis and Duncan Campbell. Both Carla Lippis and Elaine Crombie have incredible and moving vocal performances, the latter’s leaving you especially dewy eyed as she longs for Rella to return home.
The set design was exceptionally immersive, from the lights transforming the audience’s location to that of a protest or tv studio, to the multi-media inclusions allowing the audience to experience the same things as the characters through pre-recorded videos.
Rella is an ingenious and colour filled production about family and culture, all wrapped up in the fun of pop music, drag queens and entertaining comedy.
Short and Sweet, this is a must-see performance that you’ll never forget.