Get ready to travel to Xanadu ...

By Peter de Graaf

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The stars of the Bay of Islands College production Xanadu. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The stars of the Bay of Islands College production Xanadu. Photo / Peter de Graaf

What do Greek mythology, leg warmers, roller disco and the 1980s hit Poi E have in common?

The answer is Xanadu, a production by the students of Bay of Islands College in Kawakawa.

The musical comedy is based on the 1980s movie of the same name starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly but, as in other years, the school has transplanted the action into more familiar locations. Hence Waitangi takes the place of California's Venice Beach, and Los Angeles looks suspiciously like the Bay of Islands.

The story centres on the Greek muse Kira (played by Kaikohe 14-year-old Kyla Moffat) who descends from Mt Olympus to inspire frustrated artist Sonny Mallone (Zay'yen Benson-Brown, 16, of Taumatamakuku) as he dreams of creating the world's first roller disco.

Zay'yen said the production combined acting, dancing, singing and skating with a bit of kapa haka in the finale. Although he had performed in past productions, Xanadu posed new challenges such as roller skating on stage.

"I got the hang of it quite quickly. I used to do it as a little kid, in the house. It was harder for the others, but they've grown into it."

Xanadu brought together many different elements, he said.

"It's a high-energy musical comedy that fuses Greek mythology, an artist's aspirations and a love story in one massive production," he said.

Opua 16-year-old Molly de la Cour Peters, who plays the evil muse Melpomene, said a lot of time, energy and effort had gone into the show.

She said it would be especially enjoyable to people who remembered the 1980s. It had been a learning experience for the cast, most of whom had never heard of leg-warmers or other 80s oddities.

"I think it was an awesome era. I wish I'd lived in the 1980s - the headbands, the music, the fluorescent colours."

Xanadu has a cast of 30 from Years 9-13 and is directed by teachers Jasmine Maunsell and Michelle Wilson. Shows start at 7pm today, Thursday and Friday in the Bay of Islands College hall. A matinee will be performed on Wednesday afternoon.

- Northern Advocate

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