Shows: Spotlight shakes it up in the spirit of Elvis ................
Award-winning performer Jamie Watt steps out of the Spotlight to direct one of his favourite shows, writes
HE rocking, Tony awardwinning retro musical All Shook Up opens at Spotlight Theatre tomorrow night – a day after the 35th anniversary of the death of the show’s inspiration, ‘‘The King’’, Elvis Presley.
Loosely based on William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, All Shook Up is the musical story of a guitar-playing roustabout, Chad, who rides into a struggling square Midwest town and changes it for ever with the powers of love and rock ’n’ roll.
The whacky 1950s-style musical was written by Tony award-winner Joe DiPietro and features the classic hits Heartbreak Hotel, Burning Love, Jailhouse Rock, Blue Suede Shoes, It’s Now or Never, Don’t Be Cruel and Fools Rush In.
Local favourite Jamie Watt makes his directorial debut with the show and expectations for his staging are high. After all, Watt knows All Shook Up inside out – he won a Gold Coast Area Theatre Award for best actor last year for his leading role in Phoenix Ensemble’s season of the hit musical and played the role of Chad in 2008 in the Arts Centre Gold Coast’s production.
Watt says audiences are in for ‘‘laughs, laughs and more laughs’’.
‘‘I can’t think of a better way to end the winter than with a big, fun show like All Shook Up. With all of the great Elvis music and high-energy dancing, this show is more than just a great musical,’’ he says.
‘‘It is a wonderfully entertaining celebration, one that anyone of any age can enjoy.’’
Watt has assembled a stellar cast of local talent to bring the show to life, with Ethan Samuel Jones as Chad, Tanele Graham as Natalie, Isaac Moody as Dennis, Melissa Dorge as Miss Sandra, Jy Etherington as Dean, Courtney Monsma as Lorraine, Katrina Lardner as Sylvia, Darryl Vine as Jim, Martin Jennings as Sherriff Earl and Sarah Newton as Mayor Matilda Hyde.
All Shook Up also marks Coast performer Tara Jade’s return to the stage after she made the finals of SBS reality TV talent series Bollywood Star.
Despite a wealth of experience as an actress, TV host and dancer – including roles in Bollywood blockbusters Singh Is Kinng and Salaam Namaste with Tania Zaetta – Jade says the world of reality TV was an eye-opener.
‘‘It was an interesting experience, to say the least,’’ she says.
‘‘To have a camera practically in your face 24/7 was full on at first but you do learn to ignore it and be yourself.
‘‘Those two weeks of making it to the final 12 were exciting, yet full of nerves – a constant desire to impress and the unknown feeling that your life could completely change for ever within a matter of hours.’’
While Jade didn’t win the show – that honour went to trainee paramedic Teigan Lloyd-Evans, 24, of Tallebudgera – she says she ‘‘absolutely fell in love’’ with India.
‘‘The culture, the unity of family, the children, the vibrancy – I just loved. Bollywood is definitely on the cards in the future,’’ she says.
opens at Spotlight Theatre tomorrow and plays Thursdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm and Sundays at 2pm until September 8.
Tara Jade on the set of Spotlight’s