Phan­tom a suc­cess on Waipawa stage

Bush Telegraph - - Review - By DAVE MURDOCH

Waipawa Mu­si­cal and Dra­matic Club’s pre­sen­ta­tion of Phan­tom of the Opera June 13-23 was re­warded with sell-out per­for­mances thanks to con­tri­bu­tions from members with con­nec­tions to the Tararua.

It was a won­der­ful show in ev­ery as­pect from the leads to the cho­rus to the cos­tumes and set to the sound and props, chore­og­ra­phy and light­ing.

Di­rec­tor Lisa-Jane Easter, Con­cept and Set De­signer John Hard­ing and Mu­si­cal Di­rec­tor He­len Walker with their team put to­gether a mem­o­rable show which will have Hawke’s Bay and Tararua au­di­ences rem­i­nisc­ing fondly.

The leads were young but re­mark­ably ex­pe­ri­enced for their ten­der years.

Fresh from roles for Waipawa M&D (Joseph and Sweeney Todd) and Napier Oper­atic (Mamma Mia and Blood Broth­ers) Sam Draper as The Phan­tom gave a very emo­tional per­for­mance which had the au­di­ence feel­ing awed but sorry for him when he failed to at­tract Chris­tine per­ma­nently to his dark world.

Cindy O’Sul­li­van as Chris­tine cut her teeth in mu­si­cal the­atre in Dan­nevirke, per­form­ing in a num­ber of shows like Sound of Music and the key role of Cosette in Les Mis­er­ables. Her por­trayal of Chris­tine, torn be­tween her love of Raoul and the mys­ti­cal at­trac­tion of The Phan­tom was pow­er­ful, her col­oratura so­prano voice soar­ing into all parts of the won­der­ful CHB Mu­nic­i­pal The­atre.

Eli­jah Gra­ham at just 19 has al­ready had more than a decade of per­form­ing on Dan­nevirke and other re­gional stages, his roles rang­ing from Gavaroche in Les Mis­er­ables to most re­cently The Cat in the Hat in Seussi­cal and Che in Evita. His stage­craft and vo­cal items in the show clearly mark Eli­jah as one to watch both as a per­former and di­rec­tor. Watch out for Dan­nevirke’s Beauty and the Beast in May 2019 which he di­rects.

All the cast were spec­tac­u­lar, Mary Flem­mer as Car­lotta play­ing her role as light re­lief in an oth­er­wise dark tale ex­tremely well. The cameo items brought amuse­ment to the au­di­ence, another Dan­nevirke ac­tor Shaun Newell, fresh from play­ing the hi­lar­i­ous role of Ger­tie in Once Upon A Time ad­ding his brand of humour and sparkle.

The lo­gis­tics of stag­ing the show were mag­nif­i­cently man­aged with the stage built out into the au­di­ence, a silently float­ing gon­dola, a ris­ing epi­taph and a shaking chan­de­lier just cap­ping off an amazing pro­duc­tion loved by the au­di­ences.


CINDY O’Sul­li­van as Chris­tine and Eli­jah Gra­ham as Raoul express their love for each other.

PHAN­TOM of the Opera’s stars, Eli­jah Gra­ham, Cindy O’Sul­li­van and Sam Draper tak­ing time out be­tween re­hearsals.

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