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'Pride of the Pacific hits London'

There are some places in the world, where being transgender wouldn’t raise a plucked eyebrow. In Kava Girls a play with songs written and directed by Sani Muliaumaseali’i you’ll find such a place. Kava Girls will be performed at the iconic Theatre N16 Bedford, Bedford, Hill on June 22 & 23 as part of LONDON PRIDE It is presented by the Gafa Arts Collective and kicks off their ‘Gay Pride Tour 2016’. Kava Girls tells the story of transgender Samoan, Sinalei and her contemporaries who are struggling as understudies in the London Westend.

Kava​​ is a drink used in ceremonies in the pacific and is integral to the Samoan way of life. The ‘Fa’afafine’ or transgender is also integral to the Samoan way of life. Accepted everywhere

‘The fa’afafine is almost rendered invisible by her visibility - despite her sometimes outrageous wardrobe choices’ says Muliaumaseali’i who also wrote the score. Original cast member Ninotchka Tingleff is ‘thrilled to be back‘ as veteran Debra, she says ‘I haven’t met many transgender people though it simply shouldn't be an issue at all, just another aspect of whom someone is’. Themes such as art as commodity and the machinations of the showbiz factory are explored in Kava Girls. Tingleff (pictured above left) says that in many TV talent shows ‘(Artists) usually end up being packaged into a bland copy of a myriad of existing performers

Melissa Veszi 'I think the concept is brilliant!'

Far from bland is Canadian performer Melissa Veszi (pictured right) who plays the feisty Salma ‘She’s vivacious, a believer and very ambitious qualities I see in myself’ says the multi-talented Veszi ‘I think the concept of the Kava Girls is brilliant. The show also tackles very important issues (transgender) which to me as an artist, is always a bonus’ The production was ‘pick of the fringe’ in Edinburgh 2014 and will be accompanied by live and recorded music. Filled with pathos, humor & brittle glamour the Kava Girls will have you accepting the extraordinary, facing dilemmas and somehow still believing that there’s a piece of the pie for us all. ‘Wherever happiness lies, it's your duty to yourself to go find it’ says Muliaumaseali’i who will guest as Sinalei. But remember with the Kava Girls there is no such thing as a free drink.

Kava Girls, JUNE 22&23 2016, 9.15pm (60mins). Address: The Bedford, 77 Bedford Hill, SW12 9HD, BALHAM. Tickets £15/£12 (concession) available: HERE

Kava Girls EP available for download here

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