My weekend with King Kong

King Kong, a musical that had its world premiere on June 15, is still breaking records and amazing audiences at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre.

Approximately 50,000 people from all over Australia and the world came to the production’s debut, which was described as “amazing” by the Age and “an eye-popping spectacle” by the Herald Sun.

My husband, John, and I are planning to see the show next weekend – and it promises to be an unforgettable evening.

King Kong tells the story of three people (Ann Darrow, Carl Denham and Jack Driscoll) who travel from the hustle and bustle of 1930s New York to the remote Skull Island.

It is here that they meet King Kong and – since it’s a musical – I’m sure a good deal of singing and dancing will ensue. The production’s music has been arranged by Marius de Vries, who collaborated with Baz Luhrmann on Moulin Rouge.

The musical was created by Melbourne-based company Global Creatures. They were also involved in the larger-than-life shows Walking With Dinosaurs and How to Train Your Dragon.

This time they’ve tackled the most famous gorilla of all time – the King himself – and he will actually be there!

Louise Asher, who is Minister for Tourism and Major Events, said that a gigantic primate has been built using NASA-like technology, which will be brought to life by a group of talented puppeteers.

At any given time, there should be 10 on-stage puppeteers and 3 off-stage controllers moving the 1 tonne – yes, you read that right – gorilla among an equally enormous cast of 50 actors, singers, dancers and circus performers.

According to the Guardian, the gigantic puppet is hooked up to a 30-tonne rig. It also has sophisticated facial animatronics, so King Kong will be acting as well as walking alongside its fellow cast members

Minister for Arts, Heidi Victoria, said that the majority of the cast had been recruited from institutions in and around Melbourne, including the well-regarded Victoria College of the Arts and the National Institute of Circus Arts.

I didn’t even know Australia has an institution that was dedicated to training people in the circus arts!

In addition to being so heavy, King Kong is also incredibly tall – 6 metres, to be exact. His size, and that of the production, is absolutely unprecedented in Melbourne.

The Regent Theatre is the only location in the whole of Australia that will be playing host to the show, because it would be simply too massive an undertaking to set the production up elsewhere.

I’m really looking forward to this unique holiday experience in Melbourne. After all, how many times to you come face-to-face with a 1-tonne silverback gorilla?



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