Saturday, November 15, 2014

Dead Tragic!

Why I am so quiet, because as usual I am insanely busy.  Working six days plus extras takes its toll on my blogging time. The next thing looming at me is this:

Circa Theatre is the "proper" professional theatre in Wellington. By this I mean that real grown ups pay real money to see plays there, and I've never seen a show there I didn't really enjoy.
So it is great fun to be assisting the staging of a show in the smaller of the two theatres. I am working with dear friends, whose professionalism just blows me away. Really, throw some choreography at them, a new harmony or a move or a joke and they pick it up and run with it.
This show was first put on in 1991, and you can be entertained by the youthful zest of the cast 23 years ago.
This time everyone is 40+ or even 50+, and the production values run to more than red t-shirts and jeans.
That's where I come in. The last time they did it was four years ago, this was the advertising image, and methinks the designer was a fan of Baz Luhrmann.

 Our new approach is about the TV variety shows of the 60s and 70s.

We really love the orange suit on Middle Brother Brady far left.

 Oh Donny, we love you!

We ended up much closer to the Partridge family formula, but more on that soon.
This was the stuff of our family evenings around the Telly, and the time from which many of the hilariously tragic songs in this show come from. So, we've gone for a 'basic' look for each of the five performers entirely inspired by these fabulous early '70s looks. Big collared satin shirts, fitted vests and flares. Because the stage is wide but shallow, we went for black overs and coloured unders.
A publicity photo taken this week of the cast who had just nailed Bohemian Rhapsody Live. Queen never even tried. They rock! From left clockwise, Emma Kinane, Jon Pheloung, Darren Young, Lyndee-Jane Rutherford. Not pictured in genius music man Michael Nicholas Williams, who is directing and musical directing and performing in this show, while also being Musical Director to the only two other musicals on in Wellington this Christmas! His colour is blue, BTW.
It's easiest to see on Darren, the fitted scoop neck vest out of textured polyester with silver zip front, over satin shirt. Jon's shirt wasn't finished so he is wearing a t-shirt.
Every character is assigned a colour and every costume piece they wear is also that colour.
So, when Lyndee-Jane is Lola the show girl in the Copo Cabana, she really does have yellow feathers in her hair. Darren's Running Bear sports a red feather, and the guys have t-shirts for several of the Biker type songs like Teen Angel, Leader of the Pack etc. I had to dye them to match their shirts as it's not as easy as you would think finding plain t-shirts in specific colours!
The only exception is the Angels, a necessary device in a show with so many tragically killed heroes and heroines going to Heaven. They will have white wings and halos, of course!
More soon...
PS I have cheated and got a fantastic pattern maker to make up the basics while I concentrate on the extras. I just don't have time to do so much sewing, Although I am hand hemming and button holing and button sewing on the basics so it's not all beer and skittles. And while this is going on, I am frantically writing more material for my own shows in late Nov/early December.
More soon...!


  1. Wow - thanks for the flashback to my misspent youth with those pics. I remember my blue satin flares - very sexy. Sounds like you are having a lot of fun.

    1. Ooo err!! Weren't we the thang! My fave outfit was a denm a-line skirt I wore with a mustard blouse with the pointed yoke and bishop sleeves, that I liked to wear with red shoes and green stockings. I looked like a traffic light!

  2. Thanks for the Sunday link . . . loved watching it! Must try to go see the show :)

  3. Dear Mrs. C.,

    Man, the vibes from your costumes are powerful, right on!

    Loved my red cotton tube top and short shorts and rainbow sandals. Execrable in retrospect :}

    Very best,


    1. Oh no! I can see a Kristie MacNicholl fan there - did you have flicky back hair too? LOL!