King Kong the Stage Show

The Scene was set in New York on the steel beam construction site, where there was a hunt underway for a sexy blonde with all the right curves. I thought for a minute there that I had actually been taken back to the 1930’s with all the costumes right on par for that era. 

Being the fashionista I am, I was sitting there ogling off the outfits and sussing out the shoes. There was plenty of glitz and glam and the costumes were amazing. One in particular was the greek goddess style dress that Ann wore. It has strips of bling on it that were beautiful, it is something I would have loved to have worn to my deb to be honest with you :p

Image Credit: ROGER KIRK

 From the beginning I was on the edge of my seat just waiting to be greeted by Kong. But before I could meet the giant ape my eyes were greeted to a super cute little monkey puppet named Ignatz. The movements that were made my Ignatz puppeteers were so life like and so super adorable.

Image Credit: JEFF BUSBY
The actual stage to me was made to look like the empire state building and really did do the job throughout the show and was only brought to life at the end when Kong climbs the tower and that’s when it really ties into the show.

Image Credit: JAMES MORGAN
The 50-strong Australian cast of actors, singers, dancers, circus performers and puppeteers is led by Esther Hannaford (Hairspray) as Ann Darrow, newcomer Adam Lyon as Carl Denham, Chris Ryan (Thyestes) as Jack Driscoll, veteran stage actor Richard Piper as Captain Engelhorn and the queen of musical theatre and cabaret, Queenie van de Zandt as Cassandra.

The singing by every single one of these actors is phenomenal I found myself at times sitting there with my eyes close just to listen to the purity of their voices. I would have loved to have bought a King Kong soundtrack.. but unfortunately this is about the only thing you cannot buy from the show.
Based on the novel of the original 1933 screenplay, the stage show of KING KONG is a modern take on the classic tale of beauty and the beast. This timeless love story hits the Melbourne stage as the world marks the 80th anniversary of the original Merian C. Cooper King Kong movie.
Image Credit: JAMES MORGAN
King Kong tells of a hollywood director, Carl denham, who takes his crew on a perilous journey to the last uncharted place on earth, skull island, to capture a huge prehistoric creature, the last of his kind – Kong. The love affair between Denham’s star, Ann Darrow, and the ship’s first mate, Jack Driscoll, unfolds against the burgeoning horror of Kong’s ultimate escape.

I did get a little bit confused when the crew landed on Skull Island as there were these non-human creatures dancing and chanting. It looked as if the leader of this gang had blood stained hands.

Image Credit: JEFF BUSBY
Now for the main star of this show.. KING KONG! This is what I had been waiting for the entire show, meeting King Kong on that stage and seeing what this beast really looked like; and boy oh boy was it worth the wait. It was actually on Skull Island where Ann was hanging up on some ropes, Kong came in to smell her out and I actually think she was made to be his next meal, but that didn’t end up happening at all. At this point you did not get to see the real workings of Kong as he was set in a shadow and you could only see his face. It wasn’t until late on that you got to be blown away at just how lifelike this gorilla was and his movements were so realistic. The one thing I could not believe was the facial movement of King Kong, you really felt his pain when he was hurting. I couldn’t believe how easily they made a 6 metre, 1.1 tonne ape moved around the stage.Kong is entirely Melbourne-made. Here are a few facts on the super sized Ape
   inside Kong there are 300 metres of electrical cable, 1,500 connections and 16 microprocessors. he has his own on-board hydraulic power with a liquid cooled quiet pump.
   the automation structure (made and run by uK company stage technologies) holding Kong from the gantry weighs approximately 22 tonnes.
   Alongside his animatronic core, Kong has a team of puppeteers (King’s Men) involved in his operation.
   the detail of Kong’s facial expression is delivered by 15 industrial servo motors (same ones as used in nAsA Mars rovers) all controlled in real time by the off-stage ‘voodoo’ puppet operators.

Image Credit: JAMES MORGAN
The second half was a lot better then the first, and I think this is due to the fact that you see King Kong a lot more. There was also a lot more lighting work and special effects. The most effective thing they used would have been slow motion. Especially at the end when Kong was being shot at, I was left holding my breath hoping that Kong could just hang on and that Ann would not be hurt. At the end of the show when Kong dies I actually had a tear brought to my eye as you can feel the pain that Kong is going through. 
It was a standing ovation for me and I was left in ore after the show. Ticket prices:
$60 - $129

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