High School Musical

Date 5th May 2017
Society Sawston Youth Drama
Venue The Marven Centre, Sawston, Cambridge
Type of Production Youth Production
Director Gareth Furbank
Musical Director Clare Irwin
Choreographer Katie McArthur


Author: Decia Ranger

A great choice of show for a large company of young people, all of whom were so obviously enjoying being on stage in this lively production.   Guided by a dedicated creative team, the cast displayed some good acting and great singing including some lovely harmonies.

A good performance from Conor Caughtry as basketball star Troy.  This young man is becoming quite a regular performer and displays some good acting.  He still looks a little self-conscious and needs to relax more on stage, but I’m sure this will come given time. The shy, brainy Gabriella was nicely played by Lucy Fallon.  Her acting shows promise and she has a lovely singing voice.

Hannah Gillot was absolutely great as Sharpay. It takes a lot of confidence to pull off this over-the-top character and she got it just right.  Well done to her and to Reece Bond who gave an equally confident performance as Sharpay’s twin brother Ryan. These two were well cast and made an excellent pairing.

Natalie Sheardown was very convincing as Drama Teacher Ms Darbus.  She rose to the challenge of playing up in age and gave a lovely confident performance.  Hughie Hunter also took on an adult role playing Coach Bolton to great effect.

Sully Bishop did a good job as radio announcer Jack Scott and his studio set up was well thought out

All the other principals were well cast and the chorus, in their various groups were for the most part thoroughly engaged in the performance and stayed in character.  One or two of the chorus did appear to be trying to spot family and friends in the audience, which of course has to be discouraged.  This is probably easier said than done though, especially when dealing with young people who are excited at being in their first show.

Congratulations to Katie McArthur on her excellent choreography.  The whole cast were so well drilled. In the company numbers I was not aware of anyone putting a foot wrong and all arms were moving in the same direction!  Very well done.

Unfortunately projection and diction were not always good, resulting in some of the dialogue being lost, especially when spoken over the music. I must stress that this did not apply to everyone, some of the principals could be heard clearly. I noticed that radio mics were being worn but they did not appear to be very effective. The children must learn how to project and they need to slow down when delivering their lines, especially when using an American accent.

The scenery was very effective and any changes were carried out swiftly and efficiently.  It was a shame about the technical issues at the beginning, but these things happen and normality was quickly resumed.

Well done to all involved on another successful show for SYD Juniors.