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A talent for theatre


Roy Snow is about to take to the stage as Mervyn, the palagi boyfriend of Elizabeth in The Court Theatre’s milestone Pasifika play Fresh off the Boat which is showing at The Court Theatre until 9 November. We caught up with Roy about the role and what we can look forward to.

 

Roy Snow

 

You’ll always be Shortland Street’s Nurse Matt McAllister to me! But you’ve done a huge number of shows and films since – including Go Girls, Much Ado About Nothing and Outrageous Fortune! What attracted you to acting?
Many, many things, all impossible to quantify. That’s what we call, in the business, evading the question. But it’s not that far off the mark. Lots of little things make what I do incredible; playing, pretending, the hum of an audience, amazing creative people, camaraderie and the joy of doing something I’m super passionate about. I’ve stood in the dark wings in that moment before a show kicks off and thought, ‘Wow, not bad Snow, not bad’. All these things are probably a result of, rather than an initial attraction, so I’m going to say, ‘I loved to pretend’.


Can you tell us about your latest, Fresh off the Boat, and what you’ve enjoyed about this play?
Now this is a play! Ground-breaking when it premiered in the ‘90s, it exploded across New Zealand, the Pacific and then the world. What a journey it must have been for Pacific Underground and its vastly talented crew. No history lesson from me, I’m not qualified. But I can speak to the absolute joy this production has been to work on. So much passion, love and history in the room. You have uber talented daughters playing roles their mum, our director, and aunty played in the original production. We’re visited often by members of the Samoan community and laughter and music go hand in hand with the hard work being put in on the ‘boards’. It’s been a privilege just to be in the room.


Why should audiences get in to see this show?
Because so much of this play resonates 25 years after its Christchurch debut. Its themes are timeless: family, dislocation, culture clashes, discovering your freedom, growing up and dealing with everything that entails. Wrap that up in humour, aroha, music and a fair amount of ‘90s pop culture and you’ve got one heck of a play. See it. And… I’m in it.


How much of a different beast is live theatre to a soap opera?
It’s a different beast but mostly due to the technicality of each medium… boring! As an actor you notice the immediacy of theatre. You know or can feel when you’re in the zone on stage whereas screen has a few more ‘filters’ before it reaches your audience. Both are challenging, both are rewarding and once you’re over the initial nerves, a lot of fun.


What have been some of your most memorable roles over the years?
Oliver Twist. I was ten, it was my first musical. My mum played Nancy and was the star. Here I experienced my first moment of theatre magic. Mum had just sung As Long As He Needs Me and was in the throes of being murdered by the villainous Bill Sykes. I stood in the wings, I couldn’t see anything only hear the screams and pitiful pleas as the life was strangled out of my mum. Then nothing, a silence that, in my young brain, went on forever. In the Balclutha Community Hall, 400 people sat in complete silence for, what seemed to me, an eternity. It stuck with me ever since.


What’s the best part about what you get to do?
That I get to do it at all. I’ve been very fortunate and many wonderful people have contributed to the success I’ve had, none more so than my beautiful wife and whānau. I love what I do; that’s the best part.


What do the next 12 months have in store for you?
That would be telling… That’s actor code for ‘no idea’. Not exactly true – I have a few irons in the fire that may include a musical and a touring show up north in 2020, but such is the nature of this ‘bizz’ that nothing is confirmed until I’ve signed on the dotted line. Straight after Fresh off the Boat I’m into A Christmas Carol at The Forge at The Court Theatre, which will take me right up to Christmas. Then, perhaps, a bit of ‘reno’ on my house in Geraldine if my wife has her way… and she will.

 

Read more about this milestone Pasifika play HERE.

 

 


 

A gorgeous, opulent concert!


Hot on the heels of smash-hit 2018 Showbiz Christchurch production, Broadway Hitmen, comes the fabulous concert The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

 

With artistic direction by Ravil Atlas and Richard Marrett conducting, this promises to be the show to banish your winter blues and have you singing all the way home from the Isaac Theatre Royal. “The audiences are going to adore this! It’s light, it’s beautiful and it’s opulent. It’s Andrew Lloyd Webber – and that guy can write a tune,” Atlas says.

Broadway Hitmen was half Cole Porter and half Andrew Lloyd Webber, and it was a straight-up concert. Atlas says the challenge for him in designing this show, (with staging permission from The Really Useful Group Limited) was to pick the Lloyd Webber music they hadn’t done, and also to stage the music. “In essence, this is a staged concert, as opposed to a fully staged musical or a ‘stand and sing’ concert. We have costumes, sets, and special effects.”

Atlas says that each different Lloyd Webber musical has been tied into vignettes. “For instance, we’ve two songs from CATS, two from Whistle Down the Wind, three from Joseph, three from The Phantom of the Opera, three from Jesus Christ Superstar and so on. Within each vignette, we’ve created these mini-stories.”

The Canterbury Symphony Orchestra brings a full 33-piece orchestra onstage – not the usual pit orchestra of 14. This is a first partnering between Showbiz Christchurch and the CSO. “To be able to work directly with the CSO and have that quality of music is fantastic!” Atlas says. “We’ve got this opulent orchestra; we’ve Maestro Marrett conducting; we’ve beautiful sound and lighting design, and our set designer, David Bosworth, has come up with a beautiful asymmetrical set, which is unique. It will be gorgeous!”

Atlas agrees that Showbiz Christchurch has a growing reputation for producing shows of the highest calibre. “Absolutely. Showbiz does musical theatre at an extraordinary level. I saw Wicked at the West End and I remember watching it here and thinking that the whole physical production – the singing, the storytelling…well, I’ve seen good shows, but Showbiz’s production of Wicked was on par with, if not better than, what can be seen on Broadway!”

Born in San Francisco, Atlas was a professional performer and operatic soloist for thirty years, working in Italy, England and ten years on Broadway. His original training was in stage direction and conducting. He retired from singing in 2007 and, in 2009, came to New Zealand to start a family with his Kiwi wife, opera singer Amanda Atlas.

One of the highlights of this concert for Atlas is not only that Amanda is reprising her character role from last year, (from Sunset Boulevard) but also that their nine-year-old daughter, Katya, performs in the children’s chorus – her Showbiz Christchurch debut performance. It’s good news for Christchurch theatre, then, that Atlas is here to stay. “You’re stuck with me, whether you like it or not,” he laughs, “I keep saying to my wife that if I’m not having fun, I’ll stop doing it. But I’m having fun!”
Venue: Isaac Theatre Royal
Date: 14 -16 June 2019
Tickets: ticketek.co.nz/showbiz or
Freephone: 0800 842 538

Woman Climbing

Out of the box fun


At face value, recreation has a somewhat physical connotation, which may conjure up images of triathlons or a midsummer swim.

 

Woman Climbing

 

However, defined as a discretionary activity of leisure, recreation is about so much more than sport and Canterbury is lucky to have a wide range of out of the box options on its recreational doorstep. We’ve hunted out some of our favourites.

 

Paint the town red
An art studio with a twist, Paint ‘n’ Sip is a clever concept that is about having a relaxing evening painting over a glass of wine and is a delicious reason to head out on a summer evening.

 

Become an escape artist
Escape rooms are the latest feature on the recreational calendar, they’re a great option for company team building, a family outing or a somewhat unusual date night.

 

A flipping good time!
Trampoline arenas are an increasingly popular way to spend a day – for both children and the young at heart. There’s a few places in the city, all that have a flipping good time on offer.

 

Off the wall
Clip ‘n Climb revolutionised the indoor climbing scene when it hit the local scene in 2006. Offering options for children, through to experienced climbers, it’s a fun way to keep fit.

 



 

Les Misérables

An epic show: Les Misérables + Win with Metropol

Like musket shot to your heart,” those were the words Christchurch Star reviewer Barry Grant used to describe the 2001 Showbiz Christchurch production of Les Misérables.

Les Misérables
Les Misérables in September promises to be an epic show to conclude the 2018 Showbiz Christchurch seas

For those who didn’t get to see that production, or for those who did and can’t wait to see it again, then be excited for the return of Les Misérables in September; it promises to be an epic show to conclude the 2018 Showbiz Christchurch season!

Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, this new production will be directed by Stephen Robertson with musical direction by Richard Marrett. This is Robertson’s third time directing a Showbiz production of ‘Les Mis’, a show he has come to love and know so well. Sydney born tenor Daniel Belle is to perform the principal role of Jean Valjean.
The 2018 ‘Le Mis’ will feature the set from the 2001 Showbiz production – including the famous revolve – all of which has undergone major refurbishment.

The story of ‘Les Mis’ is set in nineteenth century France. Valjean is released from an unjust imprisonment of 19 years and hopes to start a new life. But all he finds is an untrusting and very unkind world. He breaks his parole in the hope of starting over, which only initiates a lifelong battle to clear his name while being ceaselessly hounded by police inspector Javert.
Belle has performed the role ‘hundreds of times’ in the Australian National production of Les Misérables, and in the Asian tour performing in Manila, Singapore and Dubai.

Daniel last performed at the Isaac Theatre Royal in June as part of the internationally acclaimed vocal group The Ten Tenors. Performing in the Ten Tenors Double Platinum tour, Daniel has sung throughout Australia, Europe and the United States to critical acclaim.
Supporting Belle in other major roles are seasoned Showbiz performers: James Foster (Javert), Kira Josephson (Fantine), Fergus Inder (Marius), Jacqueline Doherty (Cosette), Jack Fraser (Enjolras), Ben Freeth (Monsieur Thénardier) and Monique Clementson (Eponine). Nelson performer Rebecca Malcolm makes her Showbiz debut appearance as Madame Thénardier.

The roles of young Cosette, young Eponine and Gavroche will be played be five alternating performers – 98 children auditioned for these roles.
The role of young Gavroche will alternate between eight year old Duncan Price and 11 year old Ethan Carranceja. The children are all new Showbiz performers with previous performance training and/or experience.

Les Misérables opens 14 September 2018 at the Isaac Theatre Royal. Visit the official web page showbiz.org.nz/les-miserables and for tickets visit ticketek.co.nz/showbiz or phone
0800 842 538.

 

Metropol has a double pass to one performance of the Saunders & Co Season of Les Misérables on 14 September 2018 at the Isaac Theatre Royal to give away. To enter to win, just go to www.metropol.co.nz/win, enter your details and click which competitions you wish to enter. Entries close Monday 27 August and winners will be notified on Tuesday 28 August.