Music and puppetry promise fun

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Avenue Q director Hamish McGregor is clearly excited by the prospect of delivering the stage show to an Eastern Southland audience.
The Gore Musical Theatre is staging Avenue Q as its theatre restaurant. McGregor, who now lives in Auckland, was back in the South last week. It was evident he was excited to be back home. He was brought up in Invercargill and trained as a teacher, and his first job was at Otama School. During his time at Otama he became firm friends with the principal of that school, Shona Hewlett, and her husband, Peter Cairns. He had performed in a couple of theatre restaurants in Gore, he said. ‘‘I’ve got fond memories of Gore,’’ McGregor said. While he enjoyed teaching, he decided to move to Auckland three years ago to further his theatrical career. ‘‘I like it [Auckland]; I’m a big city person, I love to go to the theatre lots,’’ he said. However, he is still relief teaching. ‘‘I enjoy teaching as well.’’ ‘‘Gore in general was a nice place to start my career,’’ he said. Since moving to Auckland he had been directing, acting and singing. Being included in a couple of Operatunity tours of New Zealand was part of the new opportunities he had been able to take part in. The Gore staging of Avenue Q, which incorporated the use of puppets, would be the fourth musical he had directed this year, he said. McGregor had co-written one of those shows, Hangover, with a friend. He had been involved in staging Avenue Q before, a show he described as being a lot of fun. ‘‘It’s the adult version of Sesame Street.’’ ‘‘It’s hilariously inappropriate; it’s very much a social commentary on the world we live in.’’ The ‘‘multi-dimensional’’ puppetry added to the show’s depth. Mastering the puppetry was no mean feat, but it was incredible to watch, he said. Some puppets needed two people to operate them. ‘‘I think people will be blown away. ‘‘It’s a show people who don’t like musicals will enjoy.’’