Big ju­bilee show in spot­light

Clutha Leader - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD DAV­I­SON

What has 90 legs, 700 items of cloth­ing and the big­gest TV screen in the south?

Well, a visit to the South Otago The­atri­cal So­ci­ety’s 50th ju­bilee pro­duc­tion 50 Cur­tain Calls will quickly re­veal all, as one of the so­ci­ety’s largest and most am­bi­tious productions in re­cent years hits the stage in Bal­clutha from Wed­nes­day.

Co-di­rec­tor with hus­band Brent, Robyn Gardner of­fered up fur­ther clues.

‘‘We thought for our 50th pro­duc­tion since 1967, it would be ap­pro­pri­ate to take a look back at some of the high­lights from those five decades, so we’ve put to­gether an im­pres­sive cast of 45 per­form­ers and given them a com­pen­dium of some of the best [South Otago The­atri­cal So­ci­ety] mo­ments to bring to the stage for our au­di­ences this year,’’ she said.

Gardner had com­posed the med­ley her­self, with the sheer vol­ume of ma­te­rial be­ing the ma­jor ini­tial ob­sta­cle.

‘‘I nar­rowed it down from a long list, then bal­anced out male and fe­male roles, so­los and duets, and fi­nally took our au­di­tions into ac­count so we could take ad­van­tage of the par­tic­u­lar skills and abil­i­ties of some of our bril­liant lo­cal per­form­ers.

‘‘So we’ve got a bit of some­thing for ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing ex­cerpts from pop­u­lar favourites like Je­sus Christ Su­per­star, Lit­tle Shop of Hor­rors, My Fair Lady, Oliver, An­nie, and much, much more.’’

50 Cur­tain Calls was ex­pected to run for a lit­tle over two hours.

Be­cause of the show’s eclec­tic na­ture, the Bal­clutha Me­mo­rial Hall dress­ing rooms would be un­usu­ally busy, Gardner said.

‘‘Each mem­ber of the cast has at least three changes of cos­tume, com­pris­ing five or more items each. So we es­ti­mate there are at least 700 wardrobe items be­ing man­aged by wardrobe mis­tress Mar­i­anne Les­lie for this pro­duc­tion.’’

In an ex­cit­ing tech­no­log­i­cal de­par­ture, the back­drop to the show would be a 6m by 3.6m LED panel screen, beam­ing archival footage and im­ages to the au­di­ence as the per­for­mance pro­gressed.

‘‘We’ve come up with some imag­i­na­tive and orig­i­nal ways to use the screen, al­though I don’t want to give too much away. Come along and see for your­self,’’ Gardner said.

Tick­ets are $20. There are four evening per­for­mances and one mati­nee per­for­mance.

RICHARD DAV­I­SON/STUFF

It’s show­time.

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