Show pays tribute to centre parks

Singing the blues . . . Gore Musical Theatre cast member Russell Paterson as one of the Blues Brothers sings Everybody Needs Somebody to Love. PHOTO: VALU MAKA

Musical directors Steven Hamlin and Callum Harvey are looking forward to taking their audiences down memory lane.

The duo wrote the script for the upcoming Salute to the Centre Parks which will feature as this year’s Gore Musical Theatre restaurant.

The show incorporated skits and well-known songs which told stories and experiences of what happened at the centre parks in the Main St at Gore.

The centre parks were known by enthusiasts to be the place people would park up their cars on Fridays and Saturdays to congregate and socialise in the late 1970s.

The skits were based on conversations the directors had had with people who had been a part of the era, Hamlin said.

“A lot of the skits are based on events that actually happened and got shortened down so that they could be put on stage.

“Everyone has their own vision of what the centre parks meant to them. So, hopefully, through the skits and songs we’ve nailed it on the head.”

Harvey said the script was not meant to recreate the past but to get people to reflect and reminisce.

They were excited to see tickets for all the six nights sold out.

“It just goes to show everyone is keen to see it.”

There were 20 cast members, five band members and three harmony girls involved.

“We have a live band which has been handpicked from Southland and Eastern Southland and they have been practising for six months.”

The genre of music played within the show ranged from the ’60s to late ’80s.

Some of the well-known songs which will be sung included When Will I Be Loved, Simply the Best, Listen to the Music and Young Years.

The pair wrote their first show called Summer Holidays eight years ago.

“It focused on the traditional Kiwi summer from Christmas through to New Year’s, ” Harvey said.

The concept of their recent show evolved after discussions over refreshments, he said.

“It was a lightbulb moment – we wanted to do something about Gore.”