We caught up with the director of All Shook Up, Liam Kilgour to get the low down on ARC's latest production.
TP: All Shook Up is one of the more successful juke box musicals circulating at the moment, Why did you choose to direct it?
LK: I chose to direct "All Shook Up" for two reasons. One – I am a diehard fan of Elvis Presley, thanks to my grandmother. Secondly – I was involved with CLOC's production of "All Shook Up", this was hugely successful and a blast to be involved with. I hope many companies and schools take advantage of this great little show in the future. It's impossible not to get swept up in the catchy music and have a good fun nigh out. To me, this is what musicals are all about.
TP: What is the creative concept behind the show?
LK: All shook up is a jukebox musical set in a small midwestern town. The show is a celebration of Elvis, with a fun plot. While it has a few serious moments, it's not to be taken seriously. The cast have fun with the script. We have a set that is both naturalistic and beautiful, and costumes that celebrate everything that was beautiful about the rock 'n roll era. Anyone not a fan of Elvis, will be converted by the end of this show. The music is catchy, the script is both heart warming and hilarious.
TP: What are the challenges in staging a show like All Shook Up?
LK: Staging the show was not an impossible feat for a small company. A number of locations are covered, we have implemented a clever 'revolving' set, rather than having many trucks or large set pieces moving on and off stage. Our dedicated and patient crew have taken special pride in ensuring scene changes are smooth and slick. The show has a lot of work for ensemble, which is one of the things that makes it so great. We are fortunate in having such an energetic and dedicated ensemble, who together Rebecca Dupuy-Purcell (soon to be Kent) and Catherine Spanti have spent endless hours to achieve perfect harmonies and synchronous dance numbers.
TP: What was the casting process like?
LK: This was the first time being on the other side of the desk. Casting was difficult and exciting, as we were more than spoiled for choice with our leads. Shannon Pendrey perfectly captures the sweet and akward Natalie, Ryan Purdy is a wonderful wry and charming Chad. Countered by the gorgeous Merryn Degnan as 'Sandra' and the adorable Nathan Slevin as 'Dennis', we are terribly lucky. Felicity Eastwood brings some maturity and experience to the role of 'Sylvia' as well as a killer set of pipes. However, the show is likely to be stolen by Verity Rose Brown as Mayor Matilda, who is both hilarious and terrifying. I'm excited to see this show on-stage and our hard work paying off.
TP: What are your favorite moments in the show?
LK: The show is riddled with hilarious one-liners, but the greatest achievements are purely aesthetic. When Chad first appears on his (authentic!) vintage motorcycle, Ryan Purdy is the epitome of cool. The show really takes off when he applies his magic-touch (Fonzie-style) to the jukebox, which comes to life thanks to clever design from Giulian DeVincetis and Brenton Van Vliet.