thought I was going to say Aloha, but these performers are from Samoa – not
Hawaii, so Talofa and welcome to my review of Island Fire.
You won’t see any other show in Branson like this one.
It’s one of a kind. You’ll
see dances from 5 – count them 5 different islands in the South Pacific.
From Tokelau to Fiji, From Hawaii to the Cook Islands, and don’t forget
Samoa. Samoans are also known as
The Happy People. Atonio Galu is
your host for the show, guiding you on your island tour.
The dancers take you from Island to Island through their costumes and
style of dance.
We begin in Samoa where we hear the song “Girl From
Samoa”. We are introduced to the
dancers / Fire Knife dancers. According
to cast members, Bella Dutton a native of Samoa, gathered these performers
together specifically for this show. I
couldn’t imagine finding anyone better to fill the show’s cast.
After a short dance, Lefata Saoleititi spins his fire baton and amazes
the crowd. It makes for great
pictures and is very impressive to watch. It
marks the beginning of our Island Fire tour of the South Pacific.
Our first island is Hawaii.
We are entertained by a beautiful coconut shell candle dance.
Exactly what you would expect from Hawaii.
We are also treated to David Lamond and Andante Moors singing the
Hawaiian Wedding Song. The show
continues with a favorite of mine, “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride”, which you
might recognize from the movie Lilo & Stitch.
David sings “How Great Thou Art” in half Hawaiian and half English
while Poinsettia Taefu performs a beautiful dance.
A few songs are sung live, but most are prerecorded.
You might expect a show like this to be mostly banging drums, but most of
it was actually music of the islands sung by island performers.
We travel to Tokelau and see dances of the island.
Each island brings out dancewear of the culture.
One highlight of Tokelau is the blacklight effects during the dance.
Back to Samoa for a lesson by Atonio on how to make coconut milk, first
you have to find a coconut or “popo”, then a “melei” or sharp stick.
Better yet, I think I’ll refer you to Atonio to teach you, and if you
still don’t get it, just watch the Samoa Coconut Husking Dance immediately
following Atonio’s demonstration. It’s
amazing how much liquid he can squeeze out of the meat of the coconut.
The Cook Islands, next stop on our journey, is my favorite.
The girls come out wearing long yellow grass skirts and really know how
to shake their hips. But not to
worry my women readers; the guys come out in grass skirts of their own and do a
lot of shaking for the ladies in the audience.
There are more costume changes and more dancing from the Cook Islands
before David Lomond comes out to sing America The Beautiful in honor of the
veterans. The cast goes into the audience to shake as many veteran
hands as they can reach. I thought
that was a nice touch.
After being treated to one dance for the island of Fiji, we
return to Samoa for a few more dances like the “Mosquito Slap Dance” as
Atonio puts it, and an Axe dance. If
your lucky enough to be picked, Christina Lealiiee will choose you to be the
target – I mean, participant in her knife throwing act. She starts with 5 knives and they end up above and below the
arms and one between the legs. I
shudder to think about the last one cause she uses a mirror and has her back to
the ---- gentleman.
The last fire knife dance features Anelu Lakopo (3 time
World champion Fire Knife dancer), Lefata Saoleititi (South Pacific champion
Fire Knife dancer), Suasami Faagalu, and Atonio Galu, as they twist and twirl
their fire-laden batons. At times,
they would toss them to each other in what can only be described as “fire
rockets”. I can see why the first
three rows of the theater are left empty. It’s
amazing what these guys can do with their fire knives.
All that was left to do after the Island Fire display was to say goodbye
– or Tofa, and they do it in such grand style.
Everyone in the cast is so friendly, exactly what you would expect from
the people of the South Pacific – specifically – Samoa.
Faa Fe Tai, or Thank you, for reading my review of the
show. Atonio helped me with the
spelling of the Samoan words. A
special Faa Fe Tai to Atonio and Adante for their help. To make sure you get to see this spectacular show, I have
gotten you a $3.00 discount through Branson Quicktix.
Call them at 417-239-4274 and tell them you want to see Island Fire!!!
BONUS !!!!! The Island Fire show
comes complete with a buffet in the Dutton Deli after the show for morning shows
and before the show for afternoon and evening shows. You'll be eating food
normally served at a Luau, including Ham Slices, Fruit Salad, Chicken Legs,
Rice, and Pineapple Cheesecake. It's all included in your discounted
I do want to mention that the song you hear is not from the
show, but I thought it was a nice touch to put you in the Island Mood.