Behind the Scenes with Kent Martin
Oscar Asche of Chu Chin Chow
Tell me about your character in Chu Chin Chow. What do you think of him?
I play Oscar Asche, who was born in Geelong and wrote the West End production of Chu Chin Chow. Oscar is an interesting role to play, the man was so detail orientated that he knew exactly what he wanted for his production to the most minuscule detail, from costume and scenery to the actor‘s performances.
How is this show different from others you’ve appeared in?
This show differs because it is a show within a show, like ‘Springtime for Hitler’ in The Producers. For me personally it has been interesting flitting between characters.
What has been your biggest challenge about taking on this role?
It would have to be the large amount of dialogue Oscar has.
Which celebrity would you like to see tackle this character? Extra props for an Aussie connection!
I would have loved to see Bill Hunter tackle Oscar Asche. He would have been perfect in both stature and presence. Bill was always someone I looked up to as an iconic in Australian theatre and film industry.
Which is your favourite song from Chu Chin Chow, and why do you think the audience will like it?
“I Long for the Sun” blows me away every time I hear it, such fantastic orchestration and such a wonderful voice behind it. “I’ll Sing and Dance” is also a lot of fun.
Do you have a favourite line of dialogue from this production? If so, share it with us!
“Please put your hand down Mr. Tait, I will take questions after this presentation”.
Mr Tait was a very influential man at the time the show is set, and for Oscar to say this, it‘s a real insight into what Asche was really like.
Tell us about your first stage show and what you learned from the experience?
I started doing theatre so early that I can’t remember, however my first show outside of school was Chicago with The Empire Theatre company when I was in Grade 12 at school.
I learnt a lot from that show, including make-up tricks from a professional theatrical make up artist to different ways to approach text.
Do you have a favourite play or musical, and if so, why do you love it?
I love theatre so much, I really can‘t pick a favourite, however out of the shows I have performed in, I would have to say some of highlights are Guys & Dolls where I played the role of Nathan Detroit, and Cats when I performed as Munkustrap.
I grew up watching both of these actors produce such in-depth characters, with every role they undertook being so completely different from any other performed.
What role would you love to play that you haven’t had a chance to as yet?
I would love to be the Trekkie Monster in Avenue Q, as I really enjoy doing voices.
What does your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
I would have to say a few pints at the pub, listening to some live acoustic music, and shooting the breeze with a few friends.
Is there someone you look up to professionally (as an actor/director/etc.) or personally?
There are a couple actually, one of them is definitely Geoffrey Rush. He grew up in my hometown of Toowoomba, Queensland and is the patron of The Empire Theatre where I spent a lot of my time throughout high school.
I also admire Hugo Weaving. I grew up watching both of these actors produce such in-depth characters, with every role they undertook being so completely different from any other performed.
Geoffrey Rush and Hugo Weaving are also the reason I have such a passion for Australian film.
What’s the last thing you do before you step out on stage / the curtain goes up?
Book your Tickets to Chu Chin Chow
Watch Kent reincarnate the larger-than-life theatre impresario, Australia’s Own Oscar Asche in GSOV’s Chu Chin Chow at Malvern Theatre from 26 – 27 November.
This project is supported by City of Greater Geelong through its Community Arts Grants Program.
Chu Chin Chow
Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Victoria presents Chu Chin Chow, based on the smash hit that ran for 2238 performances on London's West End.
Enter the exotic extravaganza of Chu Chin Chow, a grand Arabian Nights adventure from the rich imagination of Geelong-born impresario Oscar Asche – Victoria’s very own musical theatre superstar!