Let's go party: Show marks 130 entertaining years

A.J. Keable will play Beezie in the 2024 Capping Show parody of Barbie. Photo: Gregor Richardson
A.J. Keable will play Beezie in the 2024 Capping Show parody of Barbie. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Instead of bringing out the big guns to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Capping Show this year, the Otago University Students’ Association has brought out the plastic fantastic.

No, not Barbie and Ken — but close.

In a parody of the recent Barbie movie, Beezie and her best friend Ben are the main stars of the 2024 show, which follows two Dunedin students as they go out into the "real world" where they end up on an epic journey to save Scarfieland from predatory landlords.

OUSA event co-ordinator Dane Oates said the duo, played by A.J. Keable and Jack Evans, were part of a team of 60-80 students who were putting on the show at the College of Education Auditorium, between May 16 and 24.

"It is the main storyline that weaves its way through the show, highlighting some of the issues of student life, and then there’s lots of bizarre and eccentric side sketches in between, as well as the historic performances by the Capping Sextet, the Sexytet and the Selwyn Ballet that have all been part of the show for such a long time.

"To mark the 130th anniversary, we’re really trying to make it the biggest and the best show that we can.

"We want to honour the milestone because it’s a huge part of the cultural heritage of the university and it’s an asset to the city, being the longest, continuously running capping show in the world."

Mr Oates said the show was officially founded in 1894, but there were historic documents which referenced an informal and unrehearsed "tongue in cheek" precursor to the show, poking fun at university authorities as far back as the 1889 graduation ceremony.

"It seems to have been pretty poorly thought of by the university back then and was banned from the graduation ceremony a few years later, at which point it was taken over by OUSA and crystallised into the annual revue show we know today."

Over the years, the show has been held in the St James Theatre, His Majesty’s Theatre (Sammy’s Nightclub), the Mayfair, the Regent, the Dunedin Town Hall, Castle Lecture Theatre, and more recently the College of Education Auditorium.

"To celebrate 130 years is a huge milestone for any institution, but especially so for a student comedy show," Mr Oates said.

"It definitely brings a sense of pride to the cast and crew, to be a part of that long tradition."