After four years, Kat Henry, Gillian Cosgriff and Julia-Rose Lewis are gearing up to unleash their live show, 'Neon Tiger', for a Brisbane premiere.
'Neon Tiger' follows the story of Andy The Aussie traveller escaping her broken heart through a trip to Bangkok. Taking residence in the city’s party district, Andy crosses paths with Thai-American Arisa and the two instantly hit it off. Composed by Gillian Cosgriff, written by Julia-Rose Lewis and directed by Kat Henry – 'Neon Tiger' is a chaotic love story set in the party hub of Thailand.
“Writing the show was deeply interesting to us – to unpack what the real Thailand was behind this veneer of Western tourism,” Kat explains. “I think the show really manages to excavate that and speak about it from a very western perspective.”
“It’s a love story. It’s a beautiful romance of falling in love on a holiday. The story traverses ten days which is a really short amount of time to fall in and out of love with someone.”
“It really entertains and it’s a good time, but at the same time it’s a very astute analysis of the western experience in a traditional culture, and what western consumerism is doing to that culture.
Image © Dylan Evans
“Fundamentally, it’s a good-time show, but there’s a lot of heart to it. It’s a very beautiful show. There’s a lot of really heart-warming and heart-breaking moments to it.”
Kat explains that the story came together during a time where Gillian, Julia and Kat were unknown to each other. In 2014, the three were approached by Brisbane Powerhouse with a concept that would eventually evolve into 'Neon Tiger'.
“Brisbane Powerhouse approached each of us individually and said ‘how would you like to go to Bangkok for essentially a holiday and see if there’s enough material to write a musical’. We didn’t know each other until we jumped on a plane together and went to Bangkok.
“We were thrown into ten days of madness with each other and luckily found out we got along together really well. We just had a ball together.
“There were a lot of fireworks and a lot of really exciting things that came out of it which meant we came back and said ‘Yes, we can make a show of what we discovered, thought, talked and laughed about in Bangkok’.”
Image © Dylan Evans
“It’s a nuts city. It’s really chaotic and claustrophobic. There’s a lot of pollution and overcrowding but it’s also this incredible composite of traditional culture and western ideologies crashing into each other. It’s really exciting in that sense. There’s so much going on, so much to uncover and so much to find.”
“It’s been a dream job [and] one of the most joyous experiences I’ve had working in theatre. Fundamentally because Gillian, Julia and I got along so well from the beginning, so it means we’ve been really passionate about writing our experience and bringing that to other people.”