Teach­ing the art of strip­tease

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY -

A pro­fes­sional night­club dancer and drag per­former has been en­gaged to teach The

Full Monty male cast the finer points of strip­tease.

Abbey Mu­si­cal Theatre (AMT) wants their Au­gust pro­duc­tion to be as au­then­tic as pos­si­ble so have en­gaged Blair Mac­beth to chore­o­graph their hi­lar­i­ous com­edy at Wal­lace De­vel­op­ment Com­pany Theatre (The Au­di­to­rium) from Au­gust 10 to 26.

Blair has an im­pres­sive back­ground in dance and chore­og­ra­phy in­clud­ing 12 years as a pro­fes­sional drag per­former in some of Mel­bourne’s ex­clu­sive night clubs. His spe­cialty was his one-woman show as Spanky Jack­zon.

‘‘I loved the life and had mul­ti­ple res­i­den­cies at five or six night clubs,’’ Blair says. ‘‘It’s al­ways been my dream to be a pro­fes­sional dancer.’’ Dur­ing his ca­reer Blair hasn’t lim­ited him­self to only night­club acts. He en­tered The X Fac­tor as a con­tes­tant singing Robin Thicke’s When I Get You Alone and reached round three at boot camp.

As a con­trast Blair loves work­ing with chil­dren and, while he was Spanky Jack­zon at night, he pro­vided young­sters with ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties at Mel­bourne’s Mu­seum and Seal­ife Ac­quar­ium dur­ing the day.

When he re­turned home for fam­ily rea­sons, Blair was ap­pointed sec­ond-incharge of the Chill Out pro­gramme at the Lido Aquatic Cen­tre.

But dance and chore­og­ra­phy has al­ways been his pas­sion. Be­fore he left for Mel­bourne via Welling­ton, Blair danced, sang and acted in ‘‘nearly a hun­dred shows for AMT, Manawatu Theatre So­ci­ety and Feild­ing Lit­tle Theatre.’’ He also learned bal­let, jazz and hip hop from Dean McKer­ras and Michelle Robin­son.

Those ex­pe­ri­ences gave Blair ‘‘a lot of the­atri­cal tools about how shows re­ally work from cre­ation to com­ple­tion. Those tools have stayed with me all my life in what I do.’’

When he re­turned home, Blair took a break from per­for­mance but now he’s back with many orig­i­nal ideas that will ben­e­fit The Full Monty. ‘‘This year is the right time and The Fully Monty is the right show.’’ The Full Monty tells the tale of six men, made re­dun­dant when the steel mill closes and des­per­ate to take on some­thing else. That some­thing is to take off their clothes in front of a paid au­di­ence. They’re out of work, sup­ported by fam­ily and know the only avail­able em­ploy­ment is what they cre­ate them­selves.

‘‘I’m teach­ing them the art of strip­tease with great panache and style,’’ Blair says. ‘‘They’re re­spond­ing well in some­thing they’ve never done be­fore. I’m im­pressed with how they’re work­ing on it them­selves which is a true sign of com­mit­ment.’’

Blair says The Full Monty is a real soul warmer on a win­ter’s night and the au­di­ence will have warm fuzzies through­out the show and as they leave.

Book­ings www.abbey­mu­si­calthe­atre.co.nz.

Palmer­ston North, are you ready for this? About to demon­strate the "full monty" are - Hay­den Giles, Ben Pryor, Hunter Hig­gin­son, Sa­muel Gor­don, Nick­Ross and Karl Ste­wart.

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