SUGAR & ICE Sweet escape

After the success of their debut show The Karaoke Club last year, local team Sugar Glass Entertainment are returning to Fringe World this summer with a new original musical. Sugar & Ice unites an all‐singing, all‐dancing cast of young emerging performers for a “dazzling jukebox musical” featuring some of the most iconic female pop powerhouse tracks of the 2000s, hitting The Royale Theatre from Wednesday, January 19 to Sunday, January 23. KWANWOO HAN caught up with writer, co-director and cast member Saskia Glass, to find out the story behind the production and why she can’t wait to bring it to the stage.

Congrats on bringing your show Sugar & Ice to Fringe 2022! What inspired this story and how long has it been in the works for?

Thank you so much! I officially started writing the first draft in February 2021, so by opening night it’ll be exactly one year in the making. We auditioned the show early October and the cast has been rehearsing intensively over the past two months, we’re so excited to bring it to life this Fringe!

Sugar Glass Entertainment, the company presenting the act, is dedicated to creating opportunities for those who wish to enter the arts industry. How did Sugar & Ice do this?

I feel as though Sugar & Ice is a rewarding opportunity for young artists for two main reasons. One, it’s a very young show that is still developing with our performers, and two, it’s telling a story that is incredibly relevant today and bringing to light concerns that young artists may soon be facing. The show discusses challenges such as discerning who in the entertainment industry values you as a person or if they value how they can use you, as well as the dilemma majority of women face when deciding whether they want to start a family and what this means for their careers.

The show has only been in development for a year, which means that with each rehearsal we are still figuring out what does and doesn’t work, and I think it’s a really unique and exciting experience to be in the room when a show is being born, and it’s especially exciting for all of our performers to be debuting their roles. Everyone is able to contribute and feel like they’re putting something on stage that they helped craft. The show wouldn’t be the same without each individual cast and crew member, there are no small roles! 

Sugar & Ice is rather demanding of its actors, dancing, singing, and acting. Who was chosen to act and why?

You’re incredibly right, the show is fast paced and full of action, especially for our wonderfully talented leading lady Jayda D’Agostino, who is on stage for practically the entire show! The key element that we looked for by the end of our audition process was chemistry. From our X-Factor girl group, to the high-profile agent and her assistant, and a tight-knit sibling bond wound in, the show is full of relationships that have been rock-solid for years. There’s absolutely no doubt that every performer in Sugar & Ice is the top-tier talent Perth has to offer, but we also did a smashing job at casting a group of young artists who are versatile, ready to experiment and take risks, and are a pure joy to work alongside.

Who else has been part of bringing this to life on stage and what have they brought to the production?

Our creative team is made up of a number of WAAPA alumni and students who you may not see on stage, but their energy is infectious and will be felt every night of the show. My co-director Lily Jones is a force of nature and has been bringing research by the bucket load with a particular interest in the recent ‘Free Britney’ movement, which quite heavily influenced the commencement of the show.

Choreographer Samantha Hortin is an absolute powerhouse, alongside the melodic magic of our Musical Director Alicia Selkirk. Between the two of them every number in Sugar & Ice is nothing short of a smokeshow. Stage Manager Jemma Sproul is the glue of the group and the oil in our gears, keeping the show more organised than Marie Kondo’s kitchen, and our design team are simply phenomenal. The gorgeous Pia Dewar designing everything, with Stephanie Rebelo crafting costumes from scratch and Emily Price building our set pieces, what can’t they do?

As a musical, what kind of songs will we be expecting? Covers? Originals? A bit of both? And why were they chosen?

Sugar & Ice is in fact a Y2K jukebox musical! These were all songs that I grew up listening to, and I wanted to pay homage to the tracks that so heavily influenced who I am today. What better way to celebrate powerful women, than with music by powerful women? The script has been built around the songs to slot each one seamlessly into the storyline, from Britney Spears to Rihanna, Lady Gaga, P!nk and Jessie J, there’ll be some crowd favourites and some new discoveries for most people. But trust me, I hand-picked all the songs, it’s a perfect mix of sincere ballads and party-hard dance tunes!

Sugar & Ice sounds like a story with several conflicting morals and values. What do you think the audience will take away from it?

The show does have a prevailing theme of dichotomy in every aspect, we’re constantly exploring and questioning who the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ characters are. Are people as simple as ‘good’ or ‘bad?’ ‘Lazy’ or ‘insistent?’ A ‘prude’ or a ‘slut?’

People tend to have very strong opinions about celebrities, people they’ve never even met before, to the extent of hating them passionately. Being famous is a constant onslaught of criticism, which is so interesting to me because honestly, what the hell do we know about them? They’re just people, with whole lived lives that lead up to their career choices.

In this day and age, it has never been easier to gain 15 seconds of fame, or to get addicted to it, and I think everyone should assess whether that’s such a good thing. Is there a sustainable way to be famous?

And how about you? What are you looking forward to most for when this show opens?

Just the smiles! I hope this show makes people smile! I hope people get to see how utterly talented these artists are and how hard they’ve worked, and I hope that makes them smile. I’m looking forward to hearing people gasp when they see our dancers go to town on Sam’s choreography, and I’m looking forward to watching people’s eyes bulge out of their sockets when the cast’s voices fill The Royale Theatre to the rafters. I’m so excited to see a bright and fruitful future for the cast and creatives of Sugar & Ice, and I hope it makes you smile!

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