Waipu set alight with Scottish migration and colourful reverend

By Hannah Norton

The Grand Pageant of Waipu is a lively, funny and informative production depicting Scottish migration with Reverend Norman Macleod to Waipu.

Thursday's final dress rehearsal had about 70 people sitting on the grass and bleachers watching, who I guess were family members of the cast, or just people avoiding the seemingly hefty ticket charge of $60 per adult.

Once you actually get into the Glebe though, and see the true scale of this event, a ticket price of $60 seems justified.

Despite following and writing about the preparation of this event, I was still amazed when I walked into the Glebe.

And I can imagine it will only look that much more remarkable when it is full with spectators.

The special effects and lighting were truly magnificent, and made the transition from different time periods and places work seamlessly.

One minute the grassy stage was transformed with the black and yellow stripes of the Waipu tartan, the next as green fields while horses cantered around them, as well as moving blue swirls of the ocean.

But my favourite part would be when a house gets set on fire, and you can actually smell and see the smoke, which adds to the whole experience.

At the beginning of the show, I watched from the bleachers, seeing most things on the two large television screens on either side of the screen.

But then I moved closer down to the stage, where narrators Dame Fiona Kidman and Bream Bay College 2013 head girl Ella Stolwerk, were seated and found I could see the special effects much better.

So try and get there early and as close to the front as you can.

While being accurate and informative, there were a few great jokes and little parodies sprinkled throughout the show and the crowd all erupted into laughter each time.

And I hadn't realised that Norman Macleod was perhaps a little bit of a deviant, and I am now very much inclined to go on and read Dame Fiona Kidman's Book of Secrets on him.

There were a few slip-ups in the lines of the narration - but that could easily be put down to dress rehearsal nerves, and I've no doubt by tonight they'll have it nailed.

Ella had a better narration voice than Dame Fiona but, otherwise, all in all a fantastic show.

The Pageant has been held out to be the most spectacular theatre production of the North, and it certainly lives up to that.

Highly recommended.

The second, and final, night of the Pageant is tonight, from 7pm with the show starting at 9pm.

- Northern Advocate

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