Thursday, 8 February 2018

“High School Musical” Erewash Musical Youth Society (EMUS)
Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton.
If you like your theatre pink and fluffy, then this is the one for you. It’s not meant to tax the brain but is there purely for entertainment purposes, and on that point it does not fail.
Disney’s “High School Musical” is a great vehicle for younger theatre groups because of the fun element and the catchy songs.
Loosely based on Shakesperare’s “Romeo & Juliet”, the story is of two High School juniors from rival cliques. Hunky Troy Bolton and the gorgeous Gabriella Montez are our modern day Romeo and Juliet who try out for lead parts in their school musical.
This causes a bit of a division between the two camps who try to thwart the pair’s romantic dreams. The High School diva Sharpay Evans and her twin brother Ryan will do anything to sabotage their relationship, as well as their school musical debuts.
I have three words to describe this show, fun, fun and FUN.
I have a few more though, don't worry.
There are a few stars in the making here and they shine bright like Rihanna's diamond.
Ethan Lee as Troy. I've seen Ethan before and he is so comfortable to watch on stage. And what a voice, as smooth as anything with the likeability of a young Justin Bieber. His relationship with his co stars are believable and his duets wuth Gabriella make your spine tingle.
Talking of which, Daya Khosse (Gabriella) is also the owner of a mighty fine and smooth set of tonsils, again really easy to listen to. She has a natural stage presence and makes her character instantly likeable.
Emily Bridge (Sharpay) is wonderfully sassy without being too bossy, and she has an amazing locker!
Ryan Evans, Sharpay's brother is played by Ethan Fletcher. this is one young actor who really throws himself into a role, making his character a fun watch. It is camp comedy and I loved the characterisation. And what a mover Ethan is as well!
Eliza Charnock (Ms Darbus) is another wonderful young actor who really got under the skin of her character. I've known some drama teachers like Ms Darbus, and Eliza makes this character a joy to watch. Again I loved the dancing at the end as well. Was it choreographed or was it free stylin'? Who cares it was great fun.
Reuben Gotts played Coach Bolton. Loved the way this character performance was more mature than some of the other adult characters as this set the character apart. But he softened when he knew his son, Troy, wasn't just a jock "playmaker" and had other talents to show. Lovely characterisation from Reuben.
Charlie Pierson, (Chad) again another actor I've seen in the past and enjoyed his work. he is another one that gives 100% every time and looks like he is having fun doing it as well. he is shaping up to be an all rounder with his deep singing tones and his nifty dance moves. He does comedy well.
Katie Baddiley (Taylor) is also a star in the making, and again a very confident performer who is easy to watch on stage.
William Robbins, who played DJ Jack Scott, can i sign you up as my replacement for when I'm on holiday from my radio show? Go you wild cat!
The ensemble are brilliant and they really come into play with the big choreography pieces. There are some very clever dance routines in this musical, especially the one for "Get Your Head In The Game" which introduces basketballs into the routine, all managed excellently by the cast. A choreographical smash by Georgie Kemish.
The music was, as it always is just lately at the Duchess, excellent. Musically Directed by James Bowden, his team of musicians kept this show fizzing and didn't overpower the singers.
A wonderful job done by Set Designer/Producer/Director and guitarist, Chris Renshaw, assisted in the Directing by Lucy Judson, making sure that this musical bounced along at a wonderful pace. The show was over quicker than I realised, I was having so much fun.
I always say that if you don't really notice the lights, unless there is a big light-show in the show, then the lighting team have done a good job. well I do notice these things and for all the good reasons. Great job done tonight with both sound (overlooking the odd mic) and light by Dave MartinMatthew Cook and Dave Dallard.
It's always a test of a good musical if you can leave the theatre and be able to hum at least one of the songs, and i could. Some really catchy numbers like "Breaking Free" and "We're All In This Together" will have you earwormed for hours to come.
Great to see that this show is a sell out because it is proof that local theatre is booming and a wonderful recognition of all the hard work that everyone involved in putting on these shows does. This was also echoed by the standing ovation the cast received and richly deserved at the end.
“High School Musical – On Stage” is on stage at the Duchess Theatre in Long Eaton until Saturday 10 February 2018.

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