Adelaide Fringe regulars Benjamin Maio Mackay and Laura Desmond will be returning this year with a brand new collaborative project of a show called Disney Delights. Hoping to take their audiences on a magical journey that will feature Disney-themed songs and serenades from across the generations, Mackay and Desmond will be providing their audience with a warm and welcoming family-friendly atmosphere, as they bring a delightful smile to everyone's faces.
In anticipation of their upcoming show as part of Adelaide Fringe, I was fortunate to conduct an e-interview with Mackay - have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and your crew? Benjamin: I'm Benjamin Maio Mackay - I've been working in the arts for more than a decade and have worked across theatre, radio, audio drama and many, many Fringes/Festivals. My co-star/co-deviser of this project is the incredible Laura Desmond. Laura is perhaps best known for her award-nominated work Socially [un] acceptable, as well as for being a co-founder of Big Mood.
Tema: What about musical theatre attracted you to it? Benjamin: I've always loved musical theatre and it's where I got a lot of my early stage experience. Beyond the joys of musical theatre, I love Disney even more - so this project is really a dream for me.
Tema: How long have you been in the industry for and what has the experience been like so far? Benjamin: I've been in the industry for more than 10 years and like most others, I do find there's a lot of challenges attempting to make a career out of it. However, the joys definitely outweigh the negatives and working in this industry (in any capacity - be it acting, singing, directing, producing etc.) is definitely what I was born to do.
Tema: So, let's talk a bit about your show Disney Delights - how did you decide on the concept of your show? Benjamin: It comes from the love Laura and I share for Disney music - classic and new. Laura and I also ended up standing on a table in Gluttony signing "A Whole New World" last year during Andrew Silverwood's Late Night Panel Show and I think somehow that was the real catalyst for this project.
Tema: What is the basic premise of Disney Delights, without giving too much away? Benjamin: The premise is Laura and I sing Disney songs, ranging from Jungle Book to Frozen for about 50 minutes - hopefully a delightful time for all!
Tema: Why did you decide on having a Disney theme to your show? Benjamin: It matched our interests, passions and seemed like something audiences would enjoy too!
Tema: Who are the key individuals involved in the making of Disney Delights? Benjamin: Myself and Laura Desmond are the team behind Disney Delights. It's a co-production between our companies Preachrs Podcast OnLine & OnStage and Big Mood.
Tema: Who would you say is your target audience for Disney Delights? Benjamin: Everyone from 4-100 who loves Disney! The music of Disney is timeless and no matter what era of Disney you grew up with, we've got a song for you. This is very much a family affair. We even have a performance on Valentines Day and there are some very romantic Disney songs!
Tema: What are you hoping for the show to offer to your audience? Benjamin: An enjoyable evening/afternoon out that makes them love or remember the music of Disney even more - this is a nice little musical escape from the real world. After all, there's something magical and enchanting about Disney-themed music!
Tema: If you are a returning AF performing crew, what are you hoping to experience from your participation at this year's festival? Benjamin: I've been doing Adelaide Fringes forever and I've been lucky to (over many years) gather an audience who will follow me from project to project. I just want to continue entertaining audiences through all the events I produce. Adelaide Fringe and the whole festival circuit are a big part of my and my production company's year. It's a hugely important festival that we look forward to, by using it as a platform for new and exciting works each year.
Tema: How did you get acquainted with the work of Big Mood and how have you found their assistance with your show(s) so far? Benjamin: Laura is one of my closest friends and she co-founded Big Mood. I've had the privilege of watching some of the works that they have produced and then also recently, to work with Big Mood on this, along with Dr Selflove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Thighs (also on this Fringe season). Working with Big Mood has been a delight and something I'd happily (and hope to) do again!
Tema: Where have you taken Disney Delights within Australia / around the world and how has the experience of traveling with the show been so far? Benjamin: Disney Delights is an Adelaide Fringe exclusive! Most of the works I present in Fringe are touring/have toured, but I always love to present something just for Adelaide and this is it! Hopefully audiences will love it.
Tema: Is this your first time in Australia and if you are already here, what have you been up to, so far? If not, what are some experiences that you are looking forward to, during your time here? Benjamin: I'm actually Australian, from Adelaide even! But I am, as always, looking forward to being swept up in festival madness.
Tema: What do you think makes Disney Delights a must-watch show? Benjamin: You just can't go past the iconic songs and who doesn't want to see those sung live?
Tema: When you're not out performing on stage, what does a day in the life of the crew typically look like? Benjamin: Primarily emails! The majority of producing work is not in any way exciting - emails, phone calls, arranging the mundane side of things (contracts, venues, tech, door staff). The glamour of this industry is definitely on stage! Although, I do love the producing/directing side of things, even if it's not as glamorous.
Tema: Is there anything else that you'd like us to know about yourself and Disney Delights? Benjamin: Disney Delights is a show for all ages, so we hope to see a diverse range of people there! Come and support Laura and I in the other things across the Fringe we're doing too - I'm producing Andrew Silverwood: Call me Janice & Late Night Panel Show (which Laura and I will both be guests on at various times). My show (Please) Validate Me is on in March and Laura's solo show, Dr Selflove, that I'm directing is also on in March. Laura also has a play called Peach Cobbler you can check out too. So many things to know about and see this Fringe!