Museum setting treasure trove for show

The Mayfair Theatre. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Photo: ODT files
I was privileged to attend the final dress rehearsal of the Otago Gang Show in the Mayfair Theatre at the weekend.

This two-yearly scouts and guides event brings together a ‘‘gang’’ of 75 auditioned singers, actors and dancers, with a dedicated team led by co-directors Noel and Sue Walker.

Eleven musicians produce well-balanced orchestration throughout (Dylan Shield).

This year’s show is called Mayhem at the Museum and the audience quickly catch on to the plot, where a bossy, unscrupulous museum director is out to make big money on the black market by selling off exhibits, dinosaur bones, etc.

However, a very astute accountant is on to him, together with the basement exhibits who come to life and entertain us along the way. There is also a ‘‘code red’’ situation with a reported lost child.

More than 20 themed cameos are crammed with action.

Stunning backdrops with astute lighting, continuous costume changes (definitely no mayhem backstage), disciplined choreography and strong singing highlight every scene.

Among my favourites were Japanese Dynasty with clever text for familiar Gilbert and Sullivan themes and six little maids (from a Henry the Eighth exhibit) who were executed off-stage one by one; History of Flight with Amelia Earhart, the Wright brothers and a large model aeroplane; Gala Ball, Night Club at Fat Sam’s with an enthusiastic And All That Jazz enhanced by backdrops, costuming (Dawn New) and choreography.

Exhibits which came to life and performed in Musicians’ Hall of Fame included Elvis Presley and Beethoven, and history was highlighted in a delightful duo with Cleopatra and Helen of Troy.

There is so much more! The Otago Gang Show opens this evening, runs until Saturday and is great family entertainment.

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