This week on drama on the waterfront, Dead Tragic cast member Darren Young tells us about his history with this variety show of woe.
The original Dead Tragic came about following the unexpected demise of the NZ tour of the musical Aunt Daisy. I was one of several cast members to suddenly find themselves back in Wellington unemployed, out of pocket and unimpressed. Michael Williams, the Musical Director of Aunt Daisy told us he had an idea for a musical type show that he’d been kicking around in his head for a few years. So a few of us got together, kicked it around some more and the show Dead Tragic was born. It was an immediate hit! Who would have thought singing old pop songs about people dying could be so entertaining?!
Yes, of course we take the mickey out of pretty much every song on the play list. You only have to sit and listen to the lyrics to find our motivation. However, while we put the characters of each song into funny situations we always try to sing the songs as musically perfect as we can. We realise that many people may have a particular attachment to one or more of these songs, so we try to do them justice. We just like to have fun with them as well.
It is difficult to come up with a favourite song or moment in the show as there are quite a few. However, I do love the vocal harmony (and sometimes chaos) when we sing “Bohemian Rhapsody”. “Leader of the Pack” is always fun to do and I have a soft spot for “Tell Laura I love her”.
Apart from the show being so much fun to perform, what I’m really enjoying about Dead Tragic is being back on stage in Wellington. Best of all, I get to share the experience with three of the “originals” – Michael Williams of course (who makes me sound good), and Emma Kinane and Jon Pheloung (who make me look good). I also finally get to work alongside the very entertaining Lyndee-Jane Rutherford (although disturbingly she cracks up laughing every time we kiss onstage during one of the songs). And up in the booth, the amazing Ashlyn Smith does a brilliant job each night making us all look and sound good.
The show has changed over the years, with new gags, flasher costumes, and wonderful sets. But the essence of the show has always stayed the same… it’s the songs that are the key to Dead Tragic. And performing them is just downright entertaining. I’m loving it!
Dead Tragic is on in Circa Two until 21 December. To book, visit www.circa.co.nz or call 801-7992.