Wednesday, 10 June 2009

High School Musical - Liverpool Empire

High School Musical
Book by David Simpatico

Movie by Peter Barsocchini

Director Jeff Calhoun
Choreographer Lisa Stevens
Reviewer: Rowe Family

Every child from 3 onwards has heard of High School the Musical, Disney’s hit movie of the decade, and now it has hit the stage. It’s nothing short of a phenomenon, and watching the highly energetic spectacle unfolding on the stage, it’s not difficult to see why.

This is like a cross between Grease and the Kids from Fame for the Tweenies generation. It is bloodless and sexless with no bad language to heard anywhere, it sweetly conveys a moral messa
ge, that tells its audience not to allow themselves to be boxed in by other people’s perceptions of them, or put limits on what they want to do.

As in Grease, the two lead characters meet on holiday and then find themselves at the same school, only Rydal High has been swapped for the even more active East High School. But as their romance plays out, it makes Grease seem like Train spotting.

Troy, the basketball playing jock, and Gabriella, the swot, have to wrestle with the expectations of their peers (and in Troy’s case, those of his dad, too, who coaches the school basketball team of which he is the star) to fulfill their dream of starring in the high school musical.

The performances of many of these actors/actress’s was admirable, but Troy played by Ashley Day and Jack Scott (the voice of East High) played by Richard Vincent stole the show in my book, their timing was perfect and had you enthralled from the start.

While the rest of the cast gave an exceptional performance it was in my eyes spoilt by the false American accents that they all tried not only to use while talking but also while singing. Sharpay played by Emma Kelly really needs to concentrate on her singing as several times she missed her cue and even managed to sing off key. The dancing was first-rate and the tricks with the basketballs were tremendous, and this has to be down to the fantastic choreography of Lisa Stevens.

The set was well done by Kenneth Foy, but having it change so much during the performance did distract from the routine quite a bit. The lighting by Ken Billington did add to the performance but at the end of the show we were blinded when the lights were turned on us.

Phoebe aged 7 thoroughly enjoyed the show and was even singing along to the songs that she knew, although some were sung differently than in the film which she did comment on. Lauren a modern day teenager thought the show superb and did not have a bad word to say about it.

All In all the show is definitely a hit children’s show and from the audience reaction one that is sure to continue to be a success just as grease and fame before it.

HSM runs at the Liverpool Empire until Sat 13th June
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