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

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY CONTENTS -

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

Jamie Watt

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