Rock opera combines high jinks and history

Rock opera . . . The cast of Taieri Musical Society’s production of That Bloody Woman are ready...
Rock opera . . . The cast of Taieri Musical Society’s production of That Bloody Woman are ready to rock the story of New Zealand suffrage campaigner Kate Sheppard from tonight. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
REVIEW: by Brenda Harwood
Taieri Musical Society
Mayfair Theatre Sunday, July 25.
High jinks and history combine in Taieri Musical’s fantastic production of rock opera That Bloody Woman
A superb cast, brilliantly led by Anna Langford as suffrage campaigner Kate Sheppard and Max Beal as nemesis Richard ‘‘King Dick’’ Seddon, took a large matinee audience on an exciting and hugely entertaining trip through New Zealand’s history. 
Director Kim Morgan and musical director Bridget Telfer Milne, who played keyboards on stage throughout the show as part of a tight four-piece rock band, have done a superb job of moulding a talented cast into a fabulous unit. 
Originally created by Luke Di Somma and Gregory Cooper, That Bloody Woman not only makes Kate Sheppard a rock goddess, it gifts her with a 10-strong ‘‘gang’’ of supporting characters, who remain on stage throughout. 
In this production, the gang comprises Darrel Read, Peter Hocking, Kelly Hocking, Jess Clarke, Jane Craigie-Read, Janine Weatherly, Kieran Kelly, Kane Welsh, Bethany Cook and Chelsea McRae, all immensely talented singers and impressive movers as well. 
In a show packed with high octane musical numbers, the standouts for this reviewer were Last Drinks, Tricky Dicky, F**K F**k F**kity F**k, The Man With Two Wives and The World Was Made For Women Too. 
With so many characters and a rock band to fit on stage, the minimalist set and rock concert-style lighting work well. 
The wow factor is provided by awesome punk-rock adaptations of 19th century clothing, created by experienced wardrobe designer Jennifer Hughson. 
With its brilliant musical numbers (at the right volume) and fabulous performances, Taieri Musical’s production of That Bloody Woman does an important figure in New Zealand history proud. And it is educational too. Bravo! 
The show continues at the Mayfair Theatre until Saturday.

‘‘THAT BLOODY WOMAN’’ Taieri Musical Society Mayfair Theatre Sunday, July 25 

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