After interviewing the young cast weeks before curtain up, I had high hopes for The Maltings Junior Youth Theatre’s ‘High School Musical’ and they didn’t disappoint.
With a group of young performers as energetic as the ones at her disposal this year, director Wendy Payn chose well with ‘High School Musical’.
The Disney smash hit most definitely has the fun factor not to mention a soundtrack that has long since made it onto my iPod and the cast’s excitement at getting to bring it to the Berwick stage was there for all to see.
If someone could bottle the energy and enthusiasm given off by the young ensemble I’m sure they’d have no problem getting a backer on ‘Dragon’s Den’.
From the high kicking, cartwheeling entry of the cheerleaders to the moment the cast left the stage the energy never dipped.
Granted the show itself was just over an hour long but its pace and musical score made sure that the young actors had to be on the ball at all times.
As modern day Romeo & Juliet, Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez, Ryan Garden and Susanna McEwen were both sweet but mature in equal measures.
The school sweetheart scenario is one we’ve seen played out many of times but unlike others, Troy and Gabriella’s didn’t come across as sickly sweet and that’s really down to Ryan and Susanna’s performances.
While working well together, particularly on their duets ‘Start of Something New’ and the epic ‘Breaking Free’, the two made sure their characters also had their own edge.
Although on the face of it as the school’s star basketball player, Troy had nothing to worry about Ryan got to the heart of his struggle to be one of the boys while also pursuing his passion for singing.
And just as her character grew in confidence as the plot unfolded, although very slight in frame, Susanna really commanded the stage.
While Gabriella was cut from the shy and timid cloth, East High’s demanding diva Sharpay Evans was anything but and Liberty Holloway looked like she had an absolute ball playing her.
With as many change of outfits as a Katy Perry concert, Liberty embodied the confidence and sass of her on stage alter ego with a strut that Naomi Campbell would be proud of.
And as Sharpay’s brother Ryan, Corey Leramonth was
Liberty’s perfect partner in crime.
Like her, Corey looked like he was having a terrific time on stage and had real star quality which made their duets ‘What I’ve Been Looking For’ and ‘Bop To The Top’ hugely entertaining- who doesn’t love a healthy dose of jazz hands?!
Known for her fine singing voice, Berwickshire High’s Maddie Cawthorn showed she also has a great knack for comedy as budding composer Kelsi Nielson while Siobhan Bankier took to the role of the school’s chief brainiac Taylor McKessie like a duck to water.
And with his head firmly in the game, Sam Rogers was the perfect fit for basketball mad Chan Danfort
Playing an adult when you are a good few years from being one yourself can’t be an easy task but Pheobe Weddell and Jack McIver-Pitt were very convincing as chalk and cheese teachers the dramatic Ms Darbus and dedicated Coach Bolton.
‘High School Musical’ was a show that left you with a massive smile on your face. Gold stars all round!