My Thursday night was spent doing something I love – watching theatre. This time it was spent watching the Australian professional premier of Gilligan’s Island The Musical at Chapel Off Chapel in Prahran.

Without much knowledge about the original show, I quickly became aware of how big this show is. I was talking to a fellow audience member who was shocked and slightly appalled that I had only seen a few episodes of Gilligan’s Island (if that) on TV.

The musical adaption caters for a vast majority of audience members who do, or don’t know the characters and overarching plot. The opening number – which is the theme of the original TV show – perfectly introduces the characters and plot, and sets up the rest of the show.

However, without much knowledge of the show, the actors were amazing in their beloved roles.

The second you walk into the theatre, the performers are alive and already in character. They’re showing you to your seats, talking with you, taking photos with you and even setting up the bamboo stage.

I love it when theatre companies do this. Often we go to shows where you sit, watch a show, buy a box of maltesers at the interval and applaud at the end. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it and always will. But that’s the extent of your relationship with the characters on stage; you’re looking at them as though through a TV screen where they rarely acknowledge that you are watching them.

When a company breaks that rule and has their actors interacting with the audience, it’s something really, really special.

Like I said before, I didn’t grow up watching Gilligan’s Island. But a lot of the people in the audience did. And they’ve already experienced years of watching these characters through a screen, so to see people meeting the characters they have loved and watched for so many years was amazing. Plus as an actor, it’s a heap of fun. Every night is different because you get explore, create and improvise on the spot within the guidelines of your character and the choices they would make.

It’s the sort of theatre I crave to see! It’s brave and a little bit gutsy, and I commend the Director, James Cutler, and his Assistant Director, Anthony Miscamble, and the entire creative team for doing this. I can’t wait to see what they do next.