Article Title:The boundless Jay Chasland
Category:Performance
Author or Credit:Jacqui Stanford
Published on:13th January 2015 - 12:01 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
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Story ID:16293
Text:In the cast for Rotorua’s Blue Baths Comedy Cabaret is Jay Chasland, a former rugby rep who has a four octave range, does more than 60 impressions and can do the splits while singing. We find out more about the show – and his many talents! Chasland is just back from the unlikely sounding venture of spending Christmas singing in the Middle East with his partner. They spent about eight months working and singing in Bahrain previously and they have been asked to come back since, and Christmas was when it happened. They sang “non-Christmas, Christmas songs, not about Christmas in a country which doesn’t celebrate Christmas,” Chasland laughs. He says they were quite scared when they they first travelled to Bahrain as an openly-gay couple, “but no one really blinked an eyelid. Everyone was really supportive and lovely. It’s more the government, the kingdom, that has these rules that it’s illegal to be homosexual.” He’s now safely back from Bahrain and in Rotorua for the Blue Baths Comedy Cabaret. The Aussie-based Kiwi says it’s something he is happy and excited to have been roped into. When we ask what audiences can expect, he laughs it’s more “what don’t you expect! It’s literally got everything – there’s illusion tricks, there’s singing, there’s all-out dancing, there’s comedy and there’s next level comedy. It’s insane. You’ll think you’ll have an idea of what we’re going to do and then it’s something completely different. It’s hard not to give too much away, but it’s pretty incredible. Sometimes when we’ve had rehearsals we’ve looked back and gone ‘did we actually just do that?!’” The cabaret is designed to live up to the Blue Baths tradition of boundary pushing – it was the first bathhouse in New Zealand to allow men and women to bathe together. Apparently audiences loved the first edition last year so much, they begged for a sequel. The 2015 edition has been created by Ian Harman and Darlene Mohekey, is directed by Rima Te Wiata and choreographed by local prodigy Taiaroa Royal. “The venue’s beautiful and the cast is awesome,” Chasland says. “And with Rima [Te Wiata] and Taiaroa [Royal] on board it’s just become next level.” He says the calibre is high and people are coming from Auckland and Wellington and other places around the country to see the show, which he says is so incredible that he hopes it travels outside Rotorua too. Chasland has quite a bio. He’s performed for David Beckham and taken master classes with Kevin Spacey and Dame Judy Dench. “I’ve been pretty fortunate,” he says. His talents include a four octave range, an ability to pull off more than 60 vocal impressions and, he can do the splits while singing. He is also a former rugby rep and gymnast, and hopes he is blowing stereotypes out of the water. “Yeah I was a rugby rep. The only reason I really gave that up was because the drama thing took over and there wasn’t time to do both. I grew up in the Wairarapa, so it’s pretty, I’ll be honest, it’s quite a close-minded place. I lived on a farm too, so it was that whole stigma of ‘must play rugby and must be a farm boy’. But I just do what I do, and try and be good at it.” The Blue Baths Comedy Cabaret plays from tonight right through until 20 February at Blue Baths, Government Gardens, Rotorua. Tickets on sale here Jacqui Stanford - 13th January 2015    
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