Friday, 5 May 2017

“High School Musical 2” by NTU
Nottingham Arts Theatre.
This is the follow up to the very successful High School Musical franchise for Disney and follows up the adventures of Troy Bolton, the good looking, High School jock and sports idol, and his girl, Gabriella. But all is not so smooth sailing as Sharpay is set on stealing Troy away from Gabriella over the Summer semester, and she’s going to use any means necessary!
Everything comes to a head at the talent show, where Ryan is hoping to win the Star Dazzle Award, and will the group remember their motto “All for one and one for all”?
The musical isn't professing to be Shakespeare, although he does get a mention. It's fluffy, light entertainment with a slab of cheese thrown in for good measure, but I will admit that Act Two was the better of the two acts.
I'll put Act One down to nerves but by the second act you could see a more relaxed performance from everyone. There were parts which looked a little under rehearsed and needed tightening up. There was also one piece where the stage was bare and what just have been a matter of ten seconds or so, seemed longer.
Now I'm not going to pick at this because these guys are students and they have to fit their rehearsals around studying and their life and getting a full cast together in the same place is never going to be easy. What they have produced is worthy of acknowledgement and praise, and it is very entertaining.
I'd have loved to have had a programme so that I could name check my favourites, and just to know who I was watching. Not only that but, because of the number of people on opening night, they could have made a killing monetary wise by selling programmes. I also know that they are often not cheap to produce and money is always going to be tight with any theatre group.
Louis Simpson takes the part of hunky Troy (played in the movies by Zac Effron) and one thing that struck me was his really distinctive and powerful voice. One of my favourite voices in the cast.
Loved Gabriella, and the actor who played her had a lovely clear voice and a very confidence performer.
Also loved Sharpay. The actor who played her was a very fluent actor who really brought out the nasty, selfish side of the character, out to get what she wanted, at any cost.
Ryan was another wonderful character to play and the actor who played him was also wonderful. That touch of camp made the character.
Talking of which, I also loved the campness of the character Thomas Fulton, the manager of Lava Springs, the select sports club owned by Sharpay's mega rich and influential father. This was the place where Troy got his friends their Summer jobs at.
I must also mention Tom Myatt for his role, which made me smile. A lovely exuberant performance.
Rory Douglas, in his first show in Nottingham, played Chad who finally by the end passed his driving test to take Taylor to the drive in; another happy ending! Rory also has a good voice on him as well.
Sorry, I wish I could have name checked you all, as well as some of the other actors.
The cast have worked hard with this show and the audience fully appreciated that and the performance, and this show deserves to be supported, as it was on opening night by the full age range of people.
Nottingham Trent University drama club have chosen well with this show because it is a fun show, The songs are catchy, it's modern and it's got a lovely happy ending with a moral story that we can all learn from regarding getting what you want, and the consequences from it, and friendship, as well as how we treat others.
“High School Musical 2” is at the Nottingham Arts Theatre until Saturday 6 May 2017 with a matinee at 2.30 and evening performance at 7.30.
Tickets are £10.00 with a reduction for Senior Citizens and students at £8.00 and under 16’s tickets at just £6.00.

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