‘Just making theatre about joy’
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.