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We Will Rock You

Several years and many high-powered shows have passed since singer/dancer Akina Edmonds was last in these parts.

Having attended Ngata College and Lytton High School, she went on to develop her passion for her art at NASDA (National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art) in Christchurch.

Unlike her experience in Australia, where a show might stay in one city for a minimum of three months, she is now performing with cast and crew for the glittering revue, The Shows Must Go On.

The extravaganza is soon to bring her back to Gisborne but for one night only.

“We’re literally spending one night in each place,” says Edmonds. “A schedule like this is a first for me. You have to say no to catching up with people or to doing a lot of things. It’s relentless but we get to do what we all love doing.

“We’re all singing massive songs, classic and modern musical hits, all the favourites from the shows people love.”

The playlist includes numbers from top musicals such as The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Hairspray, Dreamgirls, The Greatest Showman, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

A big part of the revue is techno backdrop made up of 100 half-metre squares of LED lights that can transform from, say, a massive musical theatre setting for Cabaret to one for We Will Rock You.

“You get to go on quite a journey. The show tells its own story. You have a laugh and you have a cry but by the end of it people are grinning and bopping.”

Edmonds’ favourite song in the show is Bring Him Home from Les Miserables and sung by a trio. One of her favourites that she performs is Burn from the musical Hamilton.

A part she landed in her last year of study at NASDA took Edmonds to Australia to perform in The Buddy Holly Story.

Once there, she found she had more access to auditions and stayed on.

Edmonds returned to New Zealand to perform in the Tuatara Collective show, Little Black Bitch, and meant to go back to Australia by the end of March, but, you know. Covid.

While here, though, she was invited to join the cast for The Shows Must Go On.

“I’ve had so many incredible shows in Australia but what’s good about this is the climate we’re in. We’re representing the whole industry while it’s on hold. It feels poignant and pivotal.”

The show must go on, as they say.

The Shows Must Go On, War Memorial Theatre, Sunday, October 25. Tickets are from $83.40 and are available from i-SITE and ticketek.

SHOWTIME: Former Ngata College and Lytton High student Akina Edmonds returns to Gisborne this month to perform in The Shows Must Go On. Picture supplied