HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
Urmston Musical Theatre Juniors
Director: Stephanie Niland
Musical Director: Tom Guest
Choreography: Lyndsey Florin
Based on Disney’s ever popular musical high school romp, this stage version is a perfect choice for this motivated group. Tipping a wink to Grease, the show tells the story of boys and girls from opposite sides of the tracks but who find true love in High School. It explores peer pressure, self-doubt, and that rocky road to romance.
Presenting the piece in a studio theatre gave the perfect space for this high energy musical drama. The presentation was so well thought out: a set of tables that were reconfigured for each scene, with some scaled flatwork that hung on the tables. All this was done by the company in front of the audience. These changes were fast moving and never hindered the overall action. The stylised choreography was very well executed by a confident set of dancers and the well-rehearsed ensemble. Musically everyone was so tight delivering a musical feast. The lighting and sound were equal in supporting the dramatic content, and the cast.
The character presentation was good, with costumes, hair and make-up representing the all-American teenager.
From the opening number, “Wildcat Cheer”, the levels were set and never allowed to flag. The delivery was intense and sustained throughout. The supporting roles, and the whole ensemble, depicted team work, and creating the right setting for the story to unfold.
Ms Darbus (Isabelle Mead), head of drama at the High School, is in constant rivalry with baseball coach, Bolton (Niall Sheridan). Both Isabelle and Niall gave creditable performances adding to the dramatic tension.
With every teen-musical, there has to be a baddie, and in High School Musical drama queen, Sharpay, wins the mantle. The character was played, with great gusto, by Olivia Clapperton. Assisting Sharpay in her endeavours and machinations was her brother, Ryan. Oliver Frances introduced a nice light comedy touch as Ryan. He and Olivia were a good double act.
Maths geek Gabriella, and basketball captain, Troy, decide to become involved with the school’s forthcoming high school musical of Romeo and Juliet, which has been rewritten as “Juliet and Romeo”, but with a happy ending. Gabriella and Troy successfully pass their auditions to play the leads. Tom Buls and Isla Plant were Troy and Gabriella. Their chemistry on stage created very believable performances.
As with all “feel-good” musicals, everything turns out to everyone’s satisfaction as the company reprised “We’re All in This Together”. Just as the show opened with the flow of high energy, this was carried through into the “High School Musical Megamix” with which there could have been no better way to end this sparkling evening’s entertainment.