It’s fair to say that 2013’s Melbourne world premiere of the Australian musical King Konggot a mixed response. There was much critical oohing and aahing over the six-metre-tall monkey, who weighed in at more than a tonne, with several declaring that an artform was being redefined before their very eyes. On the other hand, the book (Craig Lucas) and music (Marius de Vries) came in for a pasting. “King Kong the musical [was] confused both musically and narratively – packed full of ambition and innovation, but unable to pull its constituent parts into one satisfying whole,” said The Guardian, and that was one of the kinder reviews.

Christiani Pitts as Ann Darrow in King Kong. Photo © Matthew Murphy

Well, the ape is back, and this time there’ll be no monkey business, at least if director Dew McOnie has his way. “It’s an entirely new book, new set of costumes, entire characters have been written out of the piece,” he explains over the phone, taking the shortest of breaks from the technical process of getting one of Broadway’s all time most...

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