Musical with mental health focus to open season at Blue Room Theatre

May 29, 2018

Curtain up: Murdoch Creative Arts PhD student Nick Choo prepares for opening night of his musical theatre production, The Edge.

Murdoch University PhD student Nick Choo is breaking with tradition for a new production of his award-winning musical, which focuses on mental health and suicide.

His own personal experiences with depression are also incorporated into The Edge, which opens at the Blue Room Theatre in Northbridge on Thursday 31 May for a two-week run.

Mr Choo first conceived the show in 2005 when he returned to Malaysia after completing both his Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Journalism and Creative Arts at Murdoch University.

“At the time I was a full-time, freelance artist, and part of writing The Edge was creatively channeling my own struggles with mental health and depression, and using these experiences to create a show,” Mr Choo said.

The two-hour musical tells the story of Josh, an aspiring artist and a troubled young man, and the six young people who are closest to him.

When Josh declares that he wishes to end his life, these people are forced to re-examine their relationships; with him, with others and with themselves.

“Hopefully it prompts people to think about how they interact with others, and how the things they say and do can affect someone else – either on purpose or inadvertently, because that’s a big part of the show,” Mr Choo said.

The Edge was first workshopped to a public audience in 2008 in Malaysia, before being staged in 2013.

Following its Malaysia season, the show received awards for ‘Best Original Script and Lyrics’ and ‘Best Music’ at the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards – Malaysia’s equivalent to the Tony Awards for musical theatre.

Now that he is back in Perth on an international scholarship to complete his PhD in Creative Arts, Mr Choo has found an opportunity to showcase The Edge to a Perth audience.

“It is my hope that The Edge’s upcoming season at the Blue Room Theatre will serve as another vehicle through which conversation on mental health issues can happen in Perth,” Mr Choo said.

The Perth production of The Edge, which will likely be counted towards Mr Choo’s practice-based research as part of his Creative Arts PhD thesis, has included teaming up with Director and Producer Levon Polinelli in 2017.

Mr Polinelli, who owns Catface Productions, has cast all local actors, including Murdoch University graduate Grace Johnson of Winthrop, who is now a Performing Arts specialist teacher.

“It was very exciting to be cast in this musical,” Ms Johnson said. “I think The Edge is a very worthwhile conversation starter.

“There are lots of light, funny moments in the show but at its core it is a fairly grim look into mental health and human connection and I so look forward to seeing how audiences respond to that.”

The Edge will run from 31 May to 16 June at the Blue Room Theatre in Northbridge. To book tickets, please click on this link.

If you or someone close to you is experiencing depression or mental illness, please contact Beyond Blue on 130 22 4636 or Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.

Media enquiries: Paige Berdal 9360 6742 / paige.berdal@murdoch.edu.au

Grace Johnson (left) and the rest of The Edge cast in their final rehearsals before the Perth season commence.

 

 

 

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