Also written by Red Scare Marketing
Red Scare Marketing / 2 May 2022
Red Scare Marketing / 11 Nov 2021
Red Scare Marketing / 25 Oct 2019
Red Scare Theatre Company’s second production of 2017 is an original musical satire called M’Lady, written by Cassandra Tse and James Cain with music by Michael Stebbings. It was shortlisted for Playmarket’s Playwrights b4 25 competition and is to be staged at BATS Theatre in early August. After the huge success of Yellow Face exploring race and identity, Red Scare now turns to a satirical all-singing, all-dancing look at men’s rights activism and pick up artistry.
The production stars Jayne Grace, Aimee Smith, Karen Anslow, Freya Van Alphen Fyfe, Greer Victoria and Marysia Collins and is directed by Cassandra Tse.
“M'Lady started as a joke idea” says co-writer and director Tse, “a musical about pick up artists! - but James and I soon found that we couldn't let go of it. Something about the image of a row of fedora-tipping softshoe dancers doing a pastiche of A Chorus Line was too ridiculous not to turn into a proper show.”
“We wanted to create something fun and progressive to show how truly ridiculous this subculture is” says co-writer Cain, “so we thought, why not be critical of toxic masculinity and have singing and dancing at the same time?”
Jayne Grace, who plays head Pick-Up-Artist G. Thomas Poole, was desperate to audition, "I'm sick of feeling outnumbered and frustrated when I get into online arguments with meninists and their sympathisers, they're unbound by reason, verified data and human empathy. M'Lady is a chance to point out the ridiculousness of meninists and have a good laugh at their expense."
Red Scare’s casting concept was clear from the very start. Director Tse is “interested in the subversive potential of cross-gender casting and drag, and how having our characters, who are often grossly sexist individuals, played by women or non-binary actors adds a layer of commentary to their actions.”
The pair have collaborated with Michael Stebbings who Tse worked previously together on Long Ago Long Ago, where she was nominated for Outstanding New Playwright and Best New NZ Play at the Wellington Theatre Awards and Stebbings was nominated for Best Composition.
“I’m so thrilled to be working with Red Scare again” says Musical Director and Composer Stebbings “Writing music for an all-female cast playing all-male characters was an intriguing challenge and I’ve loved giving each song their own unique style and flavour”.
“Michael’s music is ridiculously catchy” says Cain, “the whole show started to feel real once he came on board.” Tse agrees, “I think it's impossible to overstate just how ambitious this project is - it's an original two act musical with something like twenty discrete musical numbers.”
M’Lady premieres at BATS Theatre in The Dome Stage from the 10th-19th August at 8pm. Tickets are $15 for concession, $20 for Full Price. For more information about M’Lady, please contact James Cain, Marketing Director at email@example.com.
Poster Design by Callum Devlin
Photography by Roc+ Photography