Musical ‘a whole other level’


The director of this week’s Showbiz Queenstown musical is in awe of how the set and cast are shaping up.

Dunedin-based former local Doug Kamo (left) says Mamma Mia!, based on Swedish super-group ABBA’s famous hits, “is in my opinion the best jukebox musical to have ever been written and staged”.

He’s thrilled Showbiz is staging it in the Queenstown Events Centre, even though it’s a sports stadium.

“If it was in the Memorial Centre, I probably wouldn’t have come, but because it’s at the events centre it’s taking it to a whole other level.

“This will probably be the 17th production of Mamma Mia!to be staged in the country, but the first to go into an arena setting.

“Literally everything has been built from the ground up so when you look at the stage it will look like you’re sitting in a true proscenium-arch theatre.

“The beauty of the events centre is it’s not of a scale that you lose all the intimacy of the production.”

Kamo also directed Showbiz musicals Chessand Rent, when living here from 2004 to 2006, and came back in 2009 to direct the challenging Les Miserables

“I would be hard-pressed to find another society within New Zealand with this level of population that punches above the weight as what Showbiz Queenstown does.”

Kamo’s directed more than 60 shows over 21 years, but says he hasn’t seen a cast master, in rehearsal, an entire musical faster than Showbiz’s Mamma Mia! troupe have.

“It shows the calibre of the cast but also how much they’re into it, boots and all.”

Mamma Mia! runs at the Queenstown Events Centre from next Wednesday till Saturday; tickets at