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BWW TV Must Watch: KING KONG Makes His Debut on Australian Stage at Melbourne's Regent Theatre!

One of the most anticipated stage debuts in recent Australian history has just been revealed as creature Designer Sonny Tilders' incredible 6 metre, 1.1 tonne silverback King Kong made his public debut today at Melbourne's Regent Theatre ahead of his first preview performance on 28 May. Check out two numbers below form the press preview, including 'Full Moon Lullaby' featuring Kong and Esther Hannaford as Ann Darrow Music by Marius de Vries and Lyrics by Michael Mitnick, and 'The Chase' featuring Kong with Music by Marius de Vries sampling Justice's 'Genesis'.

The culmination of five years of development by Australian producer Global Creatures, Kong brings together the worlds of animatronics and puppetry to provide a subtlety of expression that has never been seen on stage. Kong is entirely Melbourne-made and hits the stage 80 years since the original Merian C. Cooper movie premiered.

  • King Kong is part marionette, animatronic and puppet, made entirely in Global Creatures' West Melbourne workshop where the creatures from Walking With Dinosaurs and How To Train Your Dragon were also made.

  • Kong is made up of 1.1 tonnes of steel, aluminum, lycra and latex and is 6 metres tall.

  • Inside Kong there are 300 metres of electrical cable, 1500 connections and 16 microprocessors. Kong even has his own on-board hydraulic power with a liquid cooled quiet pump.

  • The detail of Kong's facial expression is delivered by 15 industrial servo motors (the same ones used in the NASA Mars rovers) and 2 hydraulic cylinders, all controlled in real time by an off-stage 'Voodoo' puppet
    operator. The puppeteer has complete control over Kong's eyebrows, nose, upper lip, lower lip, jaw, corners of the mouth and upper and lower eyelids. The result gives Kong a subtlety of expression normally reserved for high-end film animatronics, and never seen on stage before.

  • On top of his core chassis, Kong has a layer of air-powered muscles that give him a lightweight body form. Over the top of that are a series of highly sculptured muscled bags that stretch and contract as Kong moves.

  • As well as his animatronic core, Kong will be operated on stage by 10 'King's Men' who are all circus artists that have been specially trained in puppetry.

  • In addition to the King's Men, there are another 3 puppeteers operating Kong offstage using "voodoo" controls and another crew member operating Kong's automation.

  • There have been two full-sized Kong prototypes before the final 'sculptural- look' Kong appearing at the Regent Theatre.

KING KONG features a 50-strong cast of actors, singers, dancers, circus performers and puppeteers led by Esther Hannaford (Hairspray) as Ann Darrow, newcomer Adam Lyon as Carl Denham, Chris Ryan (Thyestes) as Jack Driscoll, veteran stage actor Richard Piper as Captain Engelhorn and the queen of musical theatre and cabaret, Queenie van de Zandt as Cassandra.

KING KONG's score includes new and existing songs from some of the world's best contemporary artists, including 3D from Massive Attack, Sarah McLachlan, Justice, Guy Garvey from Elbow and The Avalanches. The music is being overseen by composer and arranger Marius de Vries, whose credits include the soundtracks for Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet.

For more information, click here.

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