Disney's High School Musical

Date 1st November 2019
Society Stage One Youth Theatre Group
Venue Ferneham Hall, Fareham
Type of Production Musical
Director Jacqui Ivemy
Musical Director Dennis Brombley & Louise Hellyer
Choreographer Matt Newman


Author: Nadine Darnley De Salis

Well! What can I say about this terrific bunch of young people! On entering the theatre I was greeted by the Wildcats Basketball Team, the ‘Jocks’ of the High School, with big smiles and evident enthusiasm for their production that night. I was also warmly welcomed by the adults who run Stage One Youth Theatre Group and very well taken care of for the evening. Introductions made all round, I made my way to my seat.

High School Musical was a very well attended show with lots of young people present to support their friends and family on the stage. Ferneham Hall has played host to many performances by Stage One in the past and this was evident, not only in how smoothly the stage crew negotiated the space in scene changes but also in how confidently the young cast filled and worked with the space using both the stage and theatre floor.

What struck me was the outstanding performances of many of the cast, not just in the lead roles but also within the support cast. It was also very clear that different skills and abilities were merged within the group which made for an overall extravaganza of individual energy, movement and enthusiasm. Every member kept up this up beat, up tempo energy without faltering or wavering and each member genuinely appeared to be really enjoying themselves, working together to entertain the audience to a high standard. This was infectious of course and I found myself completely engaged with the story and rooting for the characters.

Musically the sound produced was professional and although I noticed the arrangement could potentially be quite challenging, the band, led by its talented directors, made it sound easy. The solos, duets and all - cast singing was very tuneful and expressive considering the complexities of the music, sudden key changes and changes of themes, which these talented young people executed with apparent ease! It was a pity that the sound did fail and hiss during one scene, however the young actors and actresses did not let this faze them and carried on without missing a beat. This demonstrates a very sophisticated understanding and awareness of the art of performing for such a young group.

This story is about inclusion, acceptance of difference and respect for diversity. Just as the story demonstrates this, the cast personified it, sending the message that it is OK to be different, it is OK to challenge the status quo and it is certainly OK to be yourself. I had heard of Stage One’s reputation for putting together high quality, accolade winning shows and not having seen them before I can now see that this is true.

Thank you all for a truly memorable evening!