Superhero hijinks to hit the stage

Hero havoc . . . Showing off their costumes ahead of the Timaru Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools’ joint production of Mallet Man are Sam Roadley, 17, and Nakeisha Austin, 14. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

What happens when an overworked and underpaid superhero simply gets sick of his job?

A new original musical by South Canterbury’s Wayne Doyle is set to answer just that.

Taking to the stage on Tuesday, May 28, this year’s Timaru Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools’ joint musical is Mallet Man.

The story, set in the 1980s, follows the titular character who after feeling taken for granted and unappreciated by the public decides he is ready to quit.

However, just as he is about to, a friend suggests to him that he should begin recruiting an army of Mallet Man lookalikes and well . . . it goes just about as well as you would expect.

Mr Doyle, who is also directing the show, said it would be his second full-length musical.

‘‘After the success of Hey Jude, I got to writing again and decided I quite like superheroes. I thought an interesting aspect to consider was that life as a superhero isn’t really that glamorous. It’s hard work and what happens when you get taken for granted?

‘‘You work around the clock and no-one really cares any more and just expects you to do all the work. You don’t actually get a life because you are a slave to saving everyone else and that’s how the concept came about.

‘‘I had this one completed about five years ago, so it’s just been sitting there waiting for an opportunity to present itself.’’

Ready to act . . . Striking a pose in front of one of the animated videos appearing throughout the musical are Clive Genet, 17, and Via Bunting, 16.

Much like his first musical, Mallet Man would feature specially designed background animations that would run throughout the performance, he said.

‘‘I like to try and keep things fresh and innovative.

‘‘There’s not many musicals around where you would see something like that.

It’s really fun to do.’’

He was very pleased with how things had come together.

‘‘We started the choreography over the Christmas break and the signing has been coming along nicely thanks to the music teacher, Lee Parcell.

‘‘It’s looking very sharp — it’s sounding amazing.’’

Mr Doyle also created all the music for the performance himself.

‘‘I worked with a guy in America and made these soundscapes and then I edited them into little pop songs.

‘‘I find the hidden melodies within the chord structure and then add the lyrics. I find it very easy and it’s certainly very enjoyable to create these original songs that will be used.’’

The 30-strong cast is comprised of both Timaru Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools’ pupils with TBHS head prefect Sam Roadley stepping into the shoes of Mallet Man.

He, along with other principle actors Clive Genet, Via Bunting and Nakeisha Austin, was also involved with the recent South Canterbury Drama League junior production of Tuck Everlasting.

Mr Doyle said he had been having a blast working with the talented pupils.

‘‘The crew are just awesome. They’re all very enthusiastic and seem to be having a great time, which is really nice.’’

The musical will run at 7pm on May 28, 29 and 30 at the Timaru Boys’ High School Hall.

Tickets are $10 and available from both schools’ offices.

Special performances are also being given to primary schools and rest-homes around the region as a way to give something back to the community.