Aida. Presented by The North Canterbury Musical Society. Directed by Teresa Dann. Musical director Leanne O’Mahony. Choreographer Jo Allpress-Bartlett. Rangiora Town Hall. 5 – 21 May, 2016. Reviewed by Kineta Knight Booker.

Based on an Italian-language opera of the same name, with a pop rock twist by Elton John and Tim Rice, Aida is a timeless story about a classic love triangle, set against a backdrop of ancient Egypt. The story challenges perceptions of loyalty, betrayal, and forbidden love.

To say this is a good show is an understatement. The driving force behind it is the powerhouse of the two dynamic leading ladies, Chuana McKenzie (Aida) and Catherine Hay (Amneris).

McKenzie has an incredible voice and it’s worth seeing the show just for her; and Hay is a young woman with confidence, sass, and a dynamite voice.

But it’s not just the ladies who hold centre stage comfortably: John Bayne (Radames) who’s at the centre of the triangle, has a strong presence and a certain vulnerability which allows us to see the angst his character is going through. And James Hart (Mereb) is a particularly good talent.

Special mention to the orchestra, lead by Leanne O’Mahony, for its great sound which kept the show moving along nicely. And to Tom Robertson and Matthew Roxburgh who did a superb job on the sound desk. The notes the singers and musicians created were amplified perfectly by the talent from this duo.

The show is a credit to Teresa Dann, in which Aida was her directing debut. Certainly not the easiest show to start with, but there were some lovely moments throughout. However, there were times in the show that there was just too much acting, which was borderline overacting, but that doesn’t take anything away from what was a very good musical.