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High School Musical - On Stage

Published by: Steve Burbridge on 19th Aug 2011 | View all blogs by Steve Burbridge



Whitley Bay Playhouse

Nice Swan Theatre Company may normally be associated with edgier productions than Disney’s High School Musical but, whatever this talented group bring to the stage, they always produce shows with standards that are second to none.

The cheesy Disney story of the problems associated with peer pressure and canteen cliques is, essentially, a modern-day fairy tale that chronicles the twists and turns of a blossoming romance between Troy Bolton (Jamie Douglas), the super-popular captain of the basketball team, and Gabby Montez (Bethany Walker), the brain-box transfer student, as they each strive to find an identity for themselves and land the lead roles in the big school production.

Douglas and Walker lead a phenomenally talented cast and they are superbly supported – and sometimes even upstaged – by the delightfully devious duo of divas, Sharpay Evans (Laura Stoker) and her twin brother Ryan (Daniel Mawston). The comedy relief is provided by a pair of bickering staff – Ms Darbus (Erin Gascoigne), the over-the-top drama teacher, and Coach Bolton (Micky McGregor), the basketball coach and Troy’s overbearing father.

Of course, love conquers all and everyone lives happily after by curtain-call, but there is plenty of action along the way and many a twist and turn to scupper our hero and heroine’s courtship.

The acting and singing on stage is testament to the dedication, commitment and natural talent that is at the heart of this group. Not a bum note nor a prompt in sight! Technically, there were a few issues that went wrong and which, no doubt, will be rectified in time for the remainder of the run. However, because none of the cast was at all phased by these glitches, it made it far easier for the audience to overlook them and they didn’t seem to impact on the overall enjoyment of the production at all.

Obviously, Nice Swan’s well-earned reputation for producing shows that rival fully professional productions is getting around – the auditorium was very respectably filled. And, during the summer holiday months, that is no mean feat! An appreciative audience left the theatre with a spring in their step and a tune or two in their heads, having enjoyed a production that is as wholesome as good old-fashioned American apple pie.

Steve Burbridge.

Runs until Friday 19th August 2011.





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