In­cred­i­ble tal­ent finds her per­fect role

The Tribune (NZ) - - SAVOUR -

Think of Dusty, think of Amy Hunt. Think of Amy, think of Dusty Spring­field.

Ev­ery so of­ten an in­cred­i­ble tal­ent fits the role so per­fectly, you’d think they were born to play it. Both Amy Hunt and Abbey Mu­si­cal Theatre (AMT) re­alised that when she au­di­tioned for the role ear­lier this year.

Dusty Spring­field was a vi­brant pop and soul singer who ruled the world’s charts for nearly four decades and cre­ated an in­deli­ble place for fe­male singers on the live stage and record­ing stu­dio. She was an English girl who could sing soul and her back story gave her the in­spi­ra­tion to in­fuse her­self in ev­ery num­ber.

Amy has had an il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer stretch­ing nearly 20 years on stage, live in gigs, as a chil­dren’s en­ter­tainer and now as a teacher. She’s stud­ied and in­ti­mately in­ter­preted ev­ery role she’s played. Now there’s one that’s just for her and fits her closer than a glove. ’’I’ve been told I have soul in my voice,’’ Amy ex­plains, ‘‘both in power, tone and my em­pa­thy for emo­tive bal­lads.’’

Dusty added an achingly per­sonal touch to her singing. Amy does the same and the au­di­ence feels she’s not just giv­ing a con­cert but im­bu­ing part of her life into ev­ery num­ber.

‘‘I’ve al­ways loved Dusty and I sang You Don’t Own Me for my au­di­tion piece be­cause it’s been part of my reper­toire all my life,’’ Amy says.

Dusty was a chubby girl with big dreams. Amy also ad­mits she was a chubby teenager who trans­formed her­self in size and am­bi­tion to be­come a singer and teacher. But unlike Dusty, who was sur­rounded by neg­a­tive peo­ple and whose pri­vate life of­ten spi­ralled out of con­trol, Amy has come from a sta­ble back­ground, sup­ported by fam­ily and Tim, her part­ner.

‘‘Dusty cre­ated a mask, an il­lu­sion that wasn’t her and, while she was dy­namic, care­free and fun on stage, her life could be dra­matic,’’ Amy says.

With roles such as Tanya from MAMMA MIA!, Ellen in Miss Saigon, Svet­lana from Chess and Mo­tor­mouth May­belle in Hair­Spray al­ready in her port­fo­lio, Amy set out to live and breathe Dusty, the mu­si­cal.

‘‘Di­rec­tor Ian Har­man has given qual­ity time to help shape the char­ac­ter and make it true to Dusty and my­self,’’ she says. ‘‘And mu­si­cal di­rec­tor An­drea Maxwell and I are a team. She’s so sup­port­ive. We’ve stud­ied and in­ter­preted the songs so we can make them work.’’

Dusty is pre­sented as a live con­cert with some of the num­bers re­flect­ing and flesh­ing out the story of Dusty’s life. They are pas­sion­ate, emo­tional and in­ti­mate and sung with the con­vic­tion that only Amy can bring.

AMT is stag­ing Dusty at The Au­di­to­rium, Cen­ten­nial Drive, from Novem­ber 24 to De­cem­ber 10. Book­ings www.abbey­mu­si­calthe­

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