Like father, like son

Showbiz Queenstown’s upcoming season of Spamalot is a family affair.

For the first time, president and stalwart Marty Newell’s sharing the stage with son Maddox, 18, while his fiancée Danni Blow’s
also on stage, and his daughter, Isabella, 17, is backstage doing makeup.

Maddox, whose debut for Showbiz was during its 40th-anniversary variety show, says he decided to audition after performing in
Wakatipu High School’s season of Rock Apocalypse last year — in this show he’s a flying nun, plagued villager and a knight.

But it’s fair to say he’s grown up with Showbiz, given Marty’s been involved for all but two of the past 28 years.

‘‘We would go after school and hang out at the Showbiz rooms while he would practise or direct,’’ Maddox says.

‘‘It’s been quite cool to always have a different view on it, just being able to see how it all works — we’d be painting sets and everything, so we’d see it from the backstage perspective, which is fun.’’

Marty says treading the boards with his son’s a great experience, ‘‘but it’s not so good when you realise he’s better than you’’.

‘‘I usually get comments after [rehearsal] from Maddox, advising me what I need to improve on … certain dance moves, or where my placement was.’’

Of the dancing, under the watchful eye of choreographer Nicole McLean, both say Spamalot is pushing them to their limits.

Maddox: ‘‘It is intense — lots of squatting really fast in dances.’’

Marty — whose roles include the historian and head minstrel — jokes the pair have to attend ‘‘remedial dancing’’ for 90 minutes before rehearsals even start, so by the time the rest of the cast arrives ‘‘I’m already leaning against the wall’’.

‘‘If nothing else, it’s been a challenge — this would be the most dancing I’ve done in a show, ever.

‘‘I had no idea what I was signing up for.’’

While they don’t want to give too much away about the show, which retells the story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as
they search for the Holy Grail, along the way encountering a bevy of beautiful showgirls, cows, killer rabbits and French people, Marty says it’s ‘‘dumb, crazy fun’’.

‘‘We will offend pretty much everybody at some stage, and if you don’t think you’ve been offended, just wait till the end.

‘‘If you go into it with an open mind … you’ll have a good night.’’

Spamalot, directed by Dave Goosselink, runs at the Queenstown Memorial Centre from May 16 to 25 — tickets via eventfinda

[email protected]

- Advertisement -