Sandy Edmonds - Sure To Rise

The Classic Comedy Club, 321 Queen Street, Auckland

04/08/2016 - 06/08/2016

Production Details

Think vinyl records, bright colours, go-go dancers and knee high boots. Yes, it’s the 1960s and Sandy Edmonds is New Zealand’s first pop superstar of the TV age. 

From being plucked out of the audience at The Beatles concert in Auckland, being signed by Zodiac Records and managed by Phil Warren, Edmonds was thrust into fame achieving widespread popularity after singing just one song in a local pub. It wasn’t long until Edmonds was schmoozing with the likes of Marianne Faithfull, Mick Jagger, the Eagles, David Bowie and The Rolling Stones. At the height of her popularity Edmonds was New Zealand’s most recognizable teen idol and music sensation. But almost overnight she disappeared. 

What happened to Sandy and where did she go?

For three nights only, singing sensation JESSIE CASSIN is Sandy Edmonds in Sure to Rise, a come-back gig of sorts, to set the record straight. Set amongst the music of the time and featuring the songs such as ‘Come and See Me’, ‘Day Tripper’, ‘La Bamba’, ‘Summer In The City’ and ‘Daylight Saving Time’ made popular by Edmonds, Cassin tells the story of Edmonds with insightful anecdotes, musical entertainment, and sheer joy.

Supported by three piece band, along with go-go dancers capturing the energy of C’mon (New Zealand’s Top of the Pops in the late 60’s), we have a sense of the time, place and incredible intrigue. As well as the NZ legacy that is Sandy Edmonds.

The Classic Comedy Club, 321 Queen Street, Auckland City
Thursday 4th – Saturday 6th August 2016

Sandy Edmonds – Sure To Rise: Facebook Event  

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Review by Matt Baker 07th Aug 2016

Written and performed by Jessie Cassin, Sandy Edmonds: Sure to Rise is a show stuck somewhere between a night with Sandy Edmonds and a jukebox musical theatre piece. A star of the New Zealand 60’s music scene, publicity raises the question of “what happened to Sandy and where did she go?” This is a ruse (and a somewhat prolix tautological tagline), as there is no build towards this answer. There is no teasing out of the possibility of why she arrived to the decision she did, as Cassin/Edmonds concludes by telling us she simply wanted to do something other than music. There are fleeting moments that suggest the want of a more simple life, but they are not preceded by any conflict or tension that arise from her celebrity lifestyle.

The narrative interludes shift between present and past tense, and provide no sense of Edmonds’ journey. Every person has a story, and even without the use of dramatic licence its structure can be made theatrically engaging when aided by lyricism and themes, but Cassin has no sense of word economy or semiotics as a writer, and the concept of a through line is non-existent. The radio news voice over, which could have been an excellent narrative device, is used too inconsistently to be one, and provides nothing more than an alternative voice to Cassin’s dialogue to tell the audience where we are in Edmonds’ life. It’s intrusive, but not as much as the applause soundtrack used to induce audience engagement. [More


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Songs, music and lighting a Go-Go

Review by Aminata Hamadi 05th Aug 2016

Sandy Edmonds Sure to Rise is a cabaret style show about a young, talented girl from the 60s who stumbled upon fame at a Beatles concert and shot to super stardom especially here in New Zealand. In 40 minutes it chronicles Sandy Edmonds’ brief spell in the limelight. 

The storyline is scant and gives cliché glimpses of her navigating the volatile terrain of celebrity. The trials she faces include the burdensome excessive travel plus the drain of having a blank cheque book with the ability to have whatever you desire, performing show after show to thousands of people screaming at you and singing songs that don’t even make sense but are sure to rise to the top of the charts.

Notably this cultural icon meets the existential question we all face: does it even matter? In pursuit of the answer she disappears from the lights, camera and action scene. 

This show is not about the storyline. If so, it alienates an entire generation. I’m sure I miss several punchlines and cultural references which only people over 45 or those knowledgeable about their NZ pop culture history get wind of. One thing does transcend the generational divide: the musical element of the show is phenomenal.

Jessie Cassin does a phenomenal job as Edmonds with stunningly soulful vocals. She certainly hits the right notes with the audience – absolutely pitch perfect. At several points during the night I can hear the echo of Christina Aguilera in her prime (for lack of my having a 60s pop star to compare her to).

The accompanying three-piece band are neatly dressed in three piece suits, bringing to mind the era. Tristan Deck (drummer), Johnny Barnard (guitar) and Moses Sulusi are a wonderful ensemble. Their passion and skill really comes through and they don’t just emulate the sound of the 60s but authentically belong to it. They invite and transport the audience into a different era, immersing them in a full and confident sound.

Jovial 60s music is not complete without Go-Go dancers and Go-Go dancers there are. Complete with frills shaking and twisting , they are extremely energetic. One on each end of the stage creating symmetry, bright pink stained lips, dark lashes and a smiles embedded on their faces, their fake pony tails whip around and bounce up and down. The dancers are fun, at times repetitive but they add to the energy in the room.

There isn’t much of a set design because I guess back then as a singer you had your band, a mic, the stage and hopefully a great deal of talent. In this sense the show stays authentic to what is portraying. There’s an old phone on stage which rings a couple of times, the first call from the manager and then from Mum. It’s retro and novel. The room does have a disco ball and the light show which accompanies the music is fantastic: a kaleidoscope of bright colours adding to the mood. 

I thoroughly enjoy the music and it’s worth seeing just for that. The storyline sure loses me and I think it detracts from the best part of the show. 


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