Phantom a success on Waipawa stage
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.