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Nievera's guest appearance rounds out SOS show

By John Berger

LAST UPDATED: 2:25 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

The Society of Seven's new show at the Outrigger, which opened Tuesday for a three-week run, is much the same show presented last August. But with the guest appearance of Martin Nievera — Philippine superstar and son of Roberto Nievera, an early member of the SOS — the show is fresh and new again.

The big change is that the SOS is currently a Society of Six — Tony Ruivivar, Bert Sagum, Hoku Low, Wayne Wakai, Vincent Mendoza and Roy Venturina.

It's a tribute to Ruivivar's talents as arranger/producer that anyone seeing the group for the first time won't feel shortchanged by the downsizing. From the familiar opening number on through the patriotic blockbuster finale, the guys hit all the familiar highs.

Sagum is superb as always as the resident clown. His impression of Little Richard has never been better. He also earns applause once again as "the ugliest showgirl in Las Vegas."

Wakai's take on Kenny G is one of the best straight impressions in the show. Mendoza's portrayal of Stevie Wonder is another.

Low stars in the SOS tribute to the Four Seasons,this time doing it as a trio ("the Three Seasons") with Ruivivar and Sagum providing backing vocals and choreography.

And then there's Nievera. In recent years, several singers have appeared at the Outrigger as guests with the SOS and younger SOS-LV. None has been a better fit.

A medley of Nievera's biggest English-language Philippine hits is a fine showcase of his talents. He teams up with Ruivivar for the night's emotional showstopper: a rendition of "Walk Away," his father's longtime signature song.

Nievera also contributes well as a member of the group, especially when he joins Sagum and Low in the ever-popular "three naked men dancing" number. He plays the third man as if he's been doing the routine with them for years.

The show also includes 16-year-old Arshiel, who's plugged in to two one-size-fits-all bits Ruivivar created in recent years to accommodate female guests. Neither works well.

Arshiel joins Sagum and Low in portraying the Supremes — and is immediately eclipsed by the duo's topless hi-jinks.

Arshiel's impression of Beyoncé could work if she looked or sounded at least a little like the pop-culture icon. She doesn't, and with Sagum clowning around in tight black shorts, the segment emphasizes his comic skills rather than her attempt at celebrity impersonation.

There was a time when the SOS played the Outrigger Main Showroom for three-month stints, coming and going like clockwork year after year. Times have changed, and this engagement is a rare opportunity to enjoy the group and Nievera.

Don't miss it.

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