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Rock of Ages High School Edition

Date

6th December 2017

Society

Shoeburyness High School

Venue

Shoeburyness High School theatre

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Heidi Young

Musical Director

Danielle Jameson, Bobby Rudd

Choreographer

Jane Lamberti, Heidi Young, Danielle Griggs, Connie Jones, Alice Chattaway

Report

Author: Tessa Davies

Many of the roles in the school’s productions are shared to enable as many students as possible to have the experience.   It is nice to see that some of this year’s Principals played smaller roles in previous productions and to watch their progress.

The adult version of this show has quite a lot of questionable language and some adult scenes, so I was interested to see the differences in this version.  To be honest, although I noted them, they didn’t affect the progress of the story and the cast, in both performances, were good.

The lead role of Drew was taken in both performances by Oliver Corkett who gave a very strong and energetic performance on both evenings.  The female lead, Sherrie, was shared by Mia Doney and Edie Jarvis, with quite different, but equally effective, performances.  Stacee Jaxx, the ‘rock God’ was a role shared by Ben Neagen and Alex Cohen.  Again, two quite different performances but both excellent.  The part of Lonny was shared by comparative newcomers Rowan Brown and Jack Cottham.  This was only the second production for both these actors and they both did an excellent job, showing great confidence and stage presence. 

Dennis, the owner of the club at the centre of the story, was well played by both Andrew Stavrinou and Hayden Neale. The part of Anita Bath was shared by Megan Wheaton and Leah Floyd, 2 more good performances although Leah tended to shout her lines which made it difficult to understand at times.  I must make the same comment about Heid Boualili (playing Hilda in one performance).  Hilda, also played at the other performance by Nida Savage, is a German woman who tries to buy the properties around and including the club to redevelop.  She needed to be strong and demanding and Nida demonstrated how this can be done with the use of variations to her pitch, tone and volume.

I would particularly credit Reece Emery, who played Hilda’s son Franz in both performances.  A perfect interpretation of the part which brought many a laugh from the audience, Franz has, what I consider to be, the best line in the show and Reece delivered it perfectly.  Courtney Emery and Emily Sylvester shared the role of Justice, both girls have strong singing voices, which they used to great effect.  The Principal line-up was completed by Charlie Guiver and William Lester (Mayor) Maisie Chivers and Lauren Ball (doubling as Constance and Mother). Tom Hutchins and Kimm Hawes (doubling as Father and Producer) and Caitlin Ledger and Beau Hurley (Ja’Keith)

There were a total 70 students in this production and the production team did well to bring them all on stage at times.  I did find the choreography a bit repetitive at times but, with such a large cast, I understand it needs to be kept simple.  It was, however, extremely well drilled with everyone keeping excellent time.  I appreciate that this production is part of the school curriculum and it is, therefore, important that all the cast were able to showcase their talents.  This led to one or two dances that really seemed unnecessary to the plot.  However, they still worked well in the story which moved at a very good pace.

The scenery was simple but very effective and the back-stage crew were, as always at this school, extremely well drilled with the slickest scene changes I have ever witnessed.  There were few problems with mics being turned up a bit late and the lighting had some odd shadows which the cast did not seem to be aware of, particularly on the upper gallery on stage.  Costumes were excellent, and the audience enjoyed both performances.  Well done to all the students who took part in the show.