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Wednesday 08 October 2008

A new gay musical Outing for Wellington

Posted in: Performance
By David Cosgriff - 2nd October 2008

The Outing could well be the only dose of truly gay theatre Wellingtonians will get this year – and what an injection it promises to be.

A self-described "musical tour de force" it's a show that has brought together a team of 35 to produce a musical comedy with a true Capital flavour.

Rehearsing the handbag tossing scene from The Outing

Director Cherie Chapman says watching the show grow and evolve along with the performers has been one of the highlights of putting it together. "What's been fascinating is the process of an actual community group that haven't worked together as a team before, coming in and doing this project and establishing relationships that I know will go beyond the show.

"Lots of friendships have been formed, there's been one break-up and one romance, so it's had all that under-current of personal development."

The audience will be delivered lots of singing, dancing and they may even shed a few tears."I think the audience won't know where to look initially. It's a really busy, fast, colourful, queer, camp, and delicious show. But it's got some pathos and some sad moments in it as well."

Producer and creator Toni Regan said she conceived the idea last year after noticing there was not a lot happening on the queer theatrical calendar.

Producer Toni Regan talking to some of The Outing cast

"Things had dropped off because of funding. So in March I put in an application to Creative NZ and started to conceive of the overall idea for The Outing and I've been working on it solid sincethen.

"We kicked into rehearsals about June and the cast has helped devise the script."

The show is about a group of friends going by bus to a gay dance party at Civic Square. "It's over a weekend where there's a whole lot of queer and gay events happening. Along the way there's a bit of a negative influence from a particular homophobic guy who starts to follow the group."

In the mix there is some lovin' and some fightin'. "One of the friends is beaten up by one of the homophobic guys. I won't give away the rest of it. It's all told through a whole range of songs from the 50s and 60s right through to modern day songs," says Toni.

Some of the cast of The Outing at rehearsals

Most of the singing is performed live and there is a live band as well. "We do have some drag queens in the show who do a little bit of lip-synching, although one of them sings as well, but otherwise everything is sung live."

"There's a lot of comedy in it but it does have that homophobic element. I guess the message in the show is that we're a queer community made up of a whole diversity of people and that while we're supported by lots of communities . . . we still do face homophobia and harassment."

"But at the end there's sort of a redemption in that there's a real bit of a change in that homophobic character," she says.

Toni says part of the reason for the show is just "to put queer out there in front of people and remind them that we're here."

"We've got young and older people in it so it's going to appeal to a large audience. The songs as well will appeal and you're going to hear live singing, and dancing on stage, and some good comedy too."

Cherie says as much as anything she wants the audience to leave the theatre feeling they have witnessed something special. "The feeling I want people to go away with is this community got together to do this show and that's the big thing. It's professional and high quality -- gay people getting together and doing something fabulous and hopefully raising enough funds so we can do something again, or other people can."

The Outing plays at The Front Room, 5 Hania Street, Mount Victoria, from Thursday 16 October to Saturday 18 October. Tickets are available from Real Groovy in Cuba Street. Find out more at the link below.

David Cosgriff - 2nd October 2008