‘Just mak­ing the­atre about joy’

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By BEN ROGERS

Sci­ence and mu­si­cal the­atre may seem like they are worlds apart but Robin Kelly has found a way to pur­sue both in equal mea­sure.

The Mt Al­bert res­i­dent com­pleted a bach­e­lor of sci­ence and bach­e­lor of mu­sic at Auck­land Univer­sity and is now lucky enough to be carv­ing out a ca­reer for him­self in both fields.

‘‘It keeps you very in­ter­ested with what you are do­ing in life,’’ he says.

‘‘It can also be al­most im­pos­si­ble at times and very over­whelm­ing. Some­times you can burn your­self out a bit, but that’s what be­ing young is about and I’ll do it as long as I can.’’

Kelly works at Caldera Health, based at the Ta­maki In­no­va­tion Cam­pus in St Johns, where he works on prostate can­cer di­ag­no­sis.

‘‘Prostate can­cer is poorly di­ag­nosed at this point in time with the cur­rent tech­nol­ogy, so we are de­vel­op­ing a su­pe­rior di­ag­nos­tic test.’’

He is also pas­sion­ate about mu­si­cal the­atre which he has been in­volved in for al­most six years.

Kelly and part­ner Cherie Moore started the Last Tapes The­atre Com­pany just over two years ago and are about to launch their fourth pro­duc­tion Earnest.

Team­ing up with fel­low the­atre com­pany Frac­tious Tash the group has taken Os­car Wilde’s quin­tes­sen­tial com­edy The Im­por­tance of Be­ing Earnest and given it a new lease of life.

‘‘It’s all the silli­ness of Wilde for the mod­ern au­di­ence,’’ Kelly says.

‘‘The direc­tor Ben­jamin Hen­son came to us with the idea of do­ing it with an all- male cast, set in a 1950s gay club. It be­comes about men es­cap­ing from what was prob­a­bly around that time tra­di­tional lives with wives and things and find­ing this place of refuge.’’

Kelly is the mu­si­cal direc­tor on the project and to add a bit of ex­tra spice to the mix the play will fea­ture solely the mu­sic of Cher.

Rather than the usual power bal­lads, Kelly has se­lected an all-fe­male band to per­form Mo­town ver­sions of the singer’s hits.

‘‘We had set up a world that was full of men, and it was nice to bring women into that world with­out chang­ing the con­cept of the play too much.’’

Earnest opens on Au­gust 26 at Q The­atre and Kelly thinks that au­di­ences are in for a treat.

‘‘It’s go­ing to be one of the fun­ni­est nights you can have at the the­atre, and I gen­uinely be­lieve that,’’ Kelly says. ‘‘Some­times it’s just mak­ing the­atre about joy. If you get to the end of it with­out a grin on your face, you’re watch­ing it wrong.’’

Dual ca­reers: Robin Kelly man­ages to jug­gle a life of sci­ence and mu­si­cal the­atre.

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