Melbourne Attractions: King Kong at Regent Theatre

It’s been a quiet week in the city. The weather has remained hot and I’ve been enjoying a pretty lazy week. It came to my attention that I’ve now been here for five months, and that actually, time is starting to run out. No more lazy weeks for me, so I’m glad I had the opportunity to take advantage of it.

What I did get up to though, was take a trip to the theatre. My housemate Brent sometimes works in the box-office at Regent Theatre in the city and had acquired some free tickets to see King Kong the Musical. Never one to turn down an opportunity, I took the opportunity to catch the show.

King King Poster

Blimey, me at a musical! Who’d have thought it! Not me, that’s for sure. Let’s begin at the theatre I used to get the tram passed every day for my old job. I always saw the posters outside. King Kong the musical. I thought this was pretty outrageous but when you consider there’s an American Psycho musical now then I guess any thing is possible.

Regent Theatre Box Office

I was blown away before the show even began. Obviously, I’m not big on theatre. The closest thing I’ve ever been to going inside a grand theatre is probably the Brixton academy and I’m sure many can attest to the fact that actually, as a concert venue, it’s a looking a little worse for wears these days. This building is absolutely incredible. The fine detail, the lighting, the works. Even if I failed to enjoy the performance at least I’d have had the pleasure of having gone inside.

Inside Regent Theatre

As for the show itself, I’m sure you’re all familiar with the story of King Kong. It all kicked off in a hideously bright, loud New York and after the opening couple of songs I was agreeing with my former opinion; the musical is without a doubt my least favourite format for telling a story, particularly when you can’t hear any of the words. Too much light and noise distracting from the point and not enough heavy descriptive detail.

Regent Theatre Stage

Anyway, as the story progressed and our cast made it to Skull Island, things got a little interesting. The scenes had fewer songs and a more dance party rave in a forest feel to them. The stage had my full attention. It really picked up with the introduction of King Kong himself. A some feet tall robotic come puppet giant monkey. Amazing. Things continued in this trippy, song free manner until the interval.

After the interval things had kind of fizzled out. The story had returned to New York and the final scenes consisted of various renditions of Get Happy and left me feeling very confused as to what I should be taking away from the performance.

IElena, Brent, Chris at Regent Theatre

I was almost looking forward to the close, not just because the ordeal was over but I was curious. How would the killing of King Kong be played out on stage? In the end it came as small surprise to find the planes hinted at by lights and flashes across the giant Kong puppet. I guess when you have a 20ft gorilla in the cast, there’s not much left in the kitty for planes.

So, with the beast slain the curtains came down. My opinion on musicals hasn’t changed. I did enjoy the stage production and much of the lighting but I still think that they’re definitely not for me.

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