Adelaide Youth Theatre continue to put effervescent energy into their production of this play by Jason Robert Brown. The plot revolves around Evan about to turn 13 and is planning his Bar Mitzvah when his mother advises they are moving to Indiana.
Making friends and trying to get them to a party while overcoming all the problems that a teenager will encounter sets the scene for this high energy show.
There are two casts for this production and no doubt with the direction by Jayden Prelc, choreography by Teagan Fisher and the musical direction by Taylor Tran and Mark Stefanoff the second cast would be as good as the cast I was privileged to see.
Bernard Flynn had the major role of Evan and carried his performance right to the end without faltering through his solos or as part of the chorus. He was ably supported by Holly Abbot as Patrice the outsider of the group who exhibited her acting and singing abilities and proved that good people win in the end.
The conflict and interaction between Lucy played by Alessia Charman and Phoebe Rodger as Kendra added dimension to the overall plot with their believable performances.
Harry Ince played the part of Archie the cripple ‘who is about to die’. This character usually steals the show in any production and we were not let down by Harry’s polished performance. The inflection he gave through some of his lines was memorable.
Brett played by William Hambidge was the leader of the ‘boys’ all of whom were able to show their talents with singing and dancing that brought much applause from the large and enthusiastic audience.
The cameo by Emily Bennett as Head Rabbi opened the show and much later appeared kicking up her heels much to the audience’s joy.
The New York Cast cheerleaders with Anna Oldfield the Dance Captain showed what can be achieved with the ability and athleticism of the group even on a small stage.
The singing and dancing when the whole cast was on stage was a feature of the production highlighted by the acrobatics and was enhanced by the band conducted by Jennifer Trijo. The techs with Jackson Price controlling the sound and Luke Bartholomew the lighting added to the overall effects without distracting from the performers.
The sets were simple but very effective with onstage changes that allowed continuity as were the simple props such as the see-through mirrors. Costumes were relative to the age but also allowed the free movement for the performers to make the most of their dancing.
The Adelaide Youth Theatre can be proud of this production. For anyone who enjoys high enthusiasm and performance by young people, it is a must to go and see.