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In the Heights

Date

11th July 2019

Society

Crash Bang Wallop Youth Theatre

Venue

The Forum Theatre, Northallerton

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Dan Brookes

Musical Director

Jeremy Harbottle

Choreographer

Emma Greenhalgh

Report

Author: Jean Scarlett-Carr

“In the Heights” is a new show to our region that is written by the same creators of “Hamilton” that is taking the West End by storm.  A show that is full of moral lessons and energy, dance, and some really complex harmonies and tunes.  Crash Bang Wallop Youth Theatre took on this challenge and rose above and beyond!  A superb show with some lovely performances, voices, characters, and dancing that was so well rehearsed and staged. The cast of this youth group directed by Dan Brookes certainly shone in their roles and all brimmed with sheer enjoyment throughout that enabled the audience to relax and absorb this new content.

The set was mainly static with a super painted backcloth, scenery that hinged in and out and additional props /furniture that were very slickly changed, sound and lighting were super with great colours and projection with sound effects adding to the scenes.  Set in modern day New York, in the Spanish quarter, the character accents were great, and well maintained. The breadth of characters from aged Gran to young hoodlums, with parents and students, all were believable and all gave full performances that were fabulous to watch. 

The principals were all excellent in their roles with Mackenzie Proll as “Usnavi “carrying the show as a narrative role with excellent rapping and word skills that was truly astonishing. Very emotive and energetic in his role and complimented by Annabella Burgess as the elderly Gran of the neighbourhood whose characterisation and singing were stunning. Returning student “Nina” was a terrific performance by Erin Gilhespie with a beautiful voice and character performance.  Matched in performance was Kate O’Brien as the love interest for Usnavi “Vanessa” with a powerful voice and feisty character and lovely chemistry shown.  “Benny” the bumbling boyfriend of Nina and worker for her parents’ taxi company was well played by Jonny Oakley with cute comedy and powerful emotions too.  Parents “Kevin” and “Camilla” played by Theo Greening and Charlotte Moran both had solos that were sung superbly. Theo sung with extraordinary emotion and Charlotte sung with a passionate power, and beautiful voice. Salon girls with Vanessa were “Daniela” (Amy Morton) and “Carla” (Emma Kelly) who all three sang some difficult harmonies beautifully and with gusto and attitude. Harry Gates as “Sonny” the young cousin gave great support character in his role too,  and Connor Barker as the “Graffiti Pete” was the teen with the attitude and acrobatic skills second to none was amazing in his dance moves.  The full cast was a disciplined choreographed cast with lovely dance moves, styles and pictures from choreographer Emma Greenhalgh, well-rehearsed, lovely singing, with joy, attitude, and energy abounding.

As a new show with a very modern style of music, a 9 piece orchestra who under the baton of Jeremy Harbottle were happily challenged in their usual musical domain were super in sound, the spectacle was a joy to behold with this cast, crew and production team providing a truly special evening that was had by all. With standing ovations it was obviously thoroughly enjoyed by the audiences too. – well done CBW.

Councillor’s Comment
The commitment given to their characterisations from the youth was second to none and the energy expended was palpable throughout – well done also on both the Spanish dialogue and accents – Gordon Richardson

Youth Adviser’s Comment
It is rare that you get to see a performance where the entire cast are so committed to the story telling, the show had energy, super individual performances and left you completely uplifted. Congratulations to all of you.  -     Michelle Coulson