Venue: Cripps Hall Theatre, Northampton
Credits: Music and lyrics by Matthew Gerrard, Robbie Nevil, Ray and Greg Cham, Drew Seeley, Randy Petersen, Kevin Quinn, Andy Dodd, Adam Watts, Bryan Louiselle, David N. Lawrence, Faye Greenberg and Jamie Houston. Book by David Simpatico.
Performance Date: 18/04/2019
High School Musical
Paul Johnson | 29 Apr 2019 14:58pm
High School Musical is a fairly straightforward (some might say highly predictable) story about the events at East High School as staff and students drag themselves back to school after what our friends across the pond would call ‘the Holidays’. The students tribally divide themselves into The Jocks, The Thespians, The Brainiacs, The Skater Dudes and The Cheerleaders.
Troy Bolton and new girl Gabriella Montez, having trysted briefly during their recent skiing holiday are surprised and delighted to meet up again. Having sung together on their holiday they are both attracted to audition for the school musical Juliet and Romeo – it’s the play, but with a happy ending. But there are problems. Troy is an ace basketball player who is needed by the team – coached by his single-minded dad. And Gabriella is quickly claimed by The Brainiacs to take part in a science challenge. As if those role conflicts weren’t enough the two regular leads chosen by the eccentric drama teacher Ms Darbus, Sharpay and Ryan Evans, are hell bent on preventing anyone from stealing ‘their’ roles…
Eleanor Whitestone-Paul and Ben Mineards are well cast as Gabriella and Troy. Singing is, I thought , a slight weakness but all in all they tackle their large roles with confidence and ability. Emily Moss, playing the domineering and scheming Sharpay and Henry Patterson as her acquiescent brother Ryan, judge their ‘ugly sisters’ roles just right, shocking us all with their nasty partnership.
I was very impressed by Violet Clarke, who doesn’t put a foot wrong playing Gabriella’s bestie Taylor McKessie, together with Troy Anderson who makes a strong impression as Troy’s friend Chad Danforth. And Hatti Taylor judges things just perfectly with her portrayal of Juliet and Romeo’s composer, the quiet but determined girl who wants to get things right, Kelsi Neilson.
Abi Faulder, as Jackie Scott, the school radio’s announcer does a good job though the need for a speedy delivery sometimes gets the better of her.
Of the adult characters, Matt Dixon is suitably stern as Coach and Troy’s unhappy dad although I thought Anya Neal needs to be rather more relaxed in her demanding role as the wonderfully nutty Ms Darbus.
There is much impressive and effective effort from rest of the cast – the company range from 8 to 18; this society clearly have a good store of talented youngsters. Diction was good and in general I was impressed with the chorus’s singing and dancing.
The show is very attractively costumed and well-lit. The impressive set makes very good use of the large stage.
The seven-piece orchestra, under the direction of the very able Rod Iliffe are excellent and the balance between the orchestra and the performers on stage is very good.
Well done NMT Youth!
- : admin
- : 18/04/2019