|Electra's repair truck... First Aider to the really sick! Wrench is, well, a bit of a moody, violent girl, I'd certainly not like to get on her bad side!
Wrench is generally considered to be the most butch of the components, or at least vying with Krupp for aggressive and violent tendancies. Her original incarnation gave her definite punk influences in her red and blue wig. In London she raced with Turnov in heat 3 (heat 2 after the revamp), however she's not a racer in other productions. London Wrench's costume was given a major overhaul in 1999, from the peacock blue unitard to the red, black and silver, more reminiscent of the German/American designs but not identical. I was told that in 1992 during the revamp they attempted to introduce the crane-hat instead of the cropped wig. However, the Pumping Iron move where Greaseball skates over the girls... apparently wasn't going too well from Greaseball's perspective, with the crane sticking up too high... So they kept the wig. Before the re-vamp, Pumping Iron was before AC/DC, and Joule and Volta danced it dressed as 2nd and 3rd class sleepers, but Wrench was not in the number. This shows in the timing of the choreography, it's very much six girls with Wrench tacked on the end.
|For some reason as yet not fully known to me, the German production decided in 2005 to cross-cast Wrench as male. While PeeLee is by all accounts excellent as a repair truck, and Wrench is by no means a girly character, it seems an odd decision. Were there very few girls auditioning, did they have to cast a guy in the role? The show is so unevenly weighted, 7 girls : 17+ guys, it seems so odd to further exaggerate the ratio. However, male Wrenches are not unusual, whenever the show runs low on girls - ie. a flu bug going round backstage etc, Wrench is the first to be played by a guy.
The first occasion we saw a male Wrench we knew there were two swings in the components, covering Wrench and Krupp. One was 6'+ David Hulston, the other Darryl Paul at about 5'4. Logically we assumed Darryl Paul would more easily fit a girls' costume, and David Hulston played Krupp quite regularly. How entertaining, we thought... even more so as short Krupp emerged through the smoke for AC/DC, followed by the biggest Wrench ever!
Wrench's costume was re-worked again for the US/UK tours, bringing the wire cage and wide collar elements of her london costume toogether with the crane hat of other designs. The UK tour costume is remarkably clumsy, badly proportioned, inflexible shoulders, and somehow the kneepads require poppers to hold them in place- something all other productions have managed to do without.
Random coincidence? fantastic marketing angle? Who knows? But sisters Jane and Melanie Houseley were playing Wrench at the same time, in London and Bochum! How cool is that?