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Entertainment // Art & Stage
Rasa Fournier

Sea Journey for Keiki

The void of shows directed toward keiki in Waikiki has its answer in a limited run of the enchanting Honu by the Sea. The show is 100 percent local from the performers to the Hawaiian reef aquatics they portray, and the creative partnering of Johnson Enos and Marcelo Pacleb. Enos has worked with A-list performers such as Bette Midler, sang on Disney’s Lilo and Stitch 2 and worked on Disney’s too-cute Aulani Resort commercials. He created the musical last year. This year it’s getting a tuneup with some new songs, an attractive new seahorse puppet (handled by daughter Nicole) and direction and choreography by Marcelo Pacleb, founder of the energetic spectacle known as 24-VII Danceforce.

The undersea journey follows Waikiki beach boy Kainoa (Kaipo Leopoldino) as he is introduced to sparkling young honu Malia (Madison Eror) and her many lovable friends. Together, they teach Kainoa about becoming a steward of the ocean.

Honu is an evolving production, says Enos: “We’re testing the material to see what flows right. We’re probably going to do a third version next summer, and the villain Slicker (an oil slick) is really going to come to life.”

Enos says ideally the show will be longer than its current hour time slot and, though some action flows out into the audience, the final production would have sets interspersed through the audience to give it even more of an underwater feel.

Most important, “We really want children coming to the show because they tell the real story,” notes Enos. “They’re mesmerized. They sit still without talking through the whole hour.”

The fantasy Enos has created is so animated and visually captivating that the message about caring for our ocean is bound to hook imaginative, young viewers. If he had a line of Honu stuffed animals and products, they’d sell out after every show.

the TICKET stub
HONU BY THE SEA

When: July 31, Aug. 8 and 15 at 11:30 a.m.
Where: Monarch Room at the Royal Hawaiian
Cost: 15-$20
More Info: 554-1777, honubythesea.com

ALSO SHOWING

Surf’s Up At Pearlridge West

Surf films and Hawaii go hand in hand. Drift, opening at Pearlridge West Friday (Aug. 2), is set in a remote Australian town in the ’70s, on the cusp of Australia’s bourgeoning market for wet suits and surfboards. Inspired by true events, the film follows two brothers as they struggle to get their new surf shop off the ground. Star Myles Pollard (as the older brother) brings a welcome passion to the screen, lighting up every scene he’s in. He’s also the co-producer, an already enormously popular TV actor in Australia, expert surfer (doing most of own surf scenes in the film) and musical composer. His good friend, fellow surfer and drama school alum Sam Worthington goes well outside his Avatar role as a tousle-haired, free-spirited hippie living out of a painted VW bus. The film is a bit over-stuffed, with opposition thrown at the protagonists from every angle: a difficult loan manager, prying policeman, girlfriend rivalry, drug problems, monster waves and an adversarial gang leader. Back to the girlfriend. Lani (Lesley Ann Brandt of South Africa) is never believable as a Hawaiian surfer checking out the Aussie shore, even if she does manage to say Makaha correctly, and though she’s pretty, she’s no match for Pollard’s charisma.

Gorgeous swells and a surf-culture storyline ride Drift into the surf genre, but this film belongs to Pollard.

‘Legally’ Fun

From the second those furry little legs scamper across the stage, the audience is charmed. Oohs and aahs over mini pooch Bobby Gorgeous aside, Legally Blonde The Musical at Diamond Head Theatre is a genuinely great time

(through Aug. 18, 733-0274, diamondheadtheatre.com). The roaring laughter, the invigorating song and dance numbers (“Omigod You Guys” is still on loop in my head) and fun characters all hit the perfect note, and it just happens to be pink! If you’ve seen the hit Reese Witherspoon movie, Elle Woods (Jody Bill) is spurned by her boyfriend who decides he wants a more “serious” girlfriend, someone with Harvard airs. Woods, along with her imaginary Greek Chorus (viewers raved about “the tall one,” Leiney Rigg) – that provides running insight into Woods’ entertaining thoughts – sets out to the land of brainiacs where it turns out she’s got some substance under those platinum tresses.

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