Art Deco celebrations are in full swing and Napier Operatic Society's 2022 Art Deco Festival production The Boy Friend is set to be performed at the Tabard Theatre, from Wednesday, February 16 to Saturday, February 26.
Director Kerry Unsworth has had her eye on the show for some time.
"I have been keen for the society to do this fun Art Deco show to coincide with Napier's Art Deco Festival and, fortunately, this year the executive chose to put it in their schedule."
As well as Kerry, the production team includes musical director Wendy Hunt, vocal coach Tessa Brown, and choreographer Amy Cowan.
The Boy Friend is described as a light romantic spoof of 1920s musical comedy. Written by Sandy Wilson in the '50s as "a new musical of the 20s", it is still considered the most successful and witty of the send-up musicals.
Set in the carefree world of the French Riviera in the "roaring '20s", it is a light-hearted story of Hortense the maid and Mme Dubonnet, living at Mme Dubonnet's School for Young Ladies.
The girls each have a partner to go to the Carnival Ball later that evening, except Polly, who is the daughter of widowed millionaire Percival Brown. Percival visits to see Polly and discovers the headmistress, Mme Dubonnet, is an old flame of his. Everyone is going to attend a carnival ball, Polly's dress arrives via messenger boy, Tony, and they are immediately attracted to each other.
It is 15 years since The Napier Operatic Society ran a season of The Boy Friend, with Tessa Brown as director. She is now mentoring Kerry as director for this show. Kerry played the role of Mme Dubbonet and Tamara Roscoe played Polly. Tamara is now playing the role of Hortense for this year's season.
Casting was delayed a month because of Covid, but went ahead last September. The 17 members of the cast will be using the costumes from "the vast array" that Napier Operatic has via its Costume Hire or "special" items, Kerry says.
"Corinne Bowey has been kind enough to support us by providing costumes and wigs for the 'young ladies'. Act 3 will be a visual feast."
Tamara has been involved in Napier Operatic Society productions since 1999. After more than a decade away from the stage, she returned to the Tabard Theatre stage as Deloris in last year's production of "Sister Act". She is grateful to be part of The Boy Friend family once more, Kerry says.
"She has loved reconnecting with so many familiar faces. Several cast members are Tamara's former students from Taradale High School, who she has enjoyed working with in their first adult production."
Kerry says all productions can feel like family, especially when the cast and crew have been in many productions together over the years. The team has also welcomed three new members who have recently arrived in Hawke's Bay.
"Everyone has worked incredibly hard to bring this show to life in a short period and with a holiday season in between. From the hard-working stage crew building scenery construction to bring 'local' sites to the stage, learning stunning dancing routines and also utilising other talents of the cast and crew, like programme or makeup."
The director has wanted the cast, especially the younger ones, to learn basic theatre skills, including doing their own make-up and hair, which is especially important because of pandemic requirements, Kerry says.
"Everyone is passionate about ensuring the production, from front of house to backstage, brings the roaring Art Deco period to life for a brief moment."
What: Napier Operatic's production The Boy Friend.
When: Wednesday, February 16 to Saturday, February 26.
Where: Tabard Theatre, Coronation St, Ahuriri, Napier.
Info: Tickets available from Tabard Theatre Costume Hire or iticket: https://www.iticket.co.nz/events/2022/feb/deco-boyfriend (Feb 16-20).