Reviewed by David Smith

Feb 2011

In many ways Denver and Dorricott musicals are a good choice for youth theatre groups, and Bats suited the purposes of Hills Youth Theatre very well.

The setting is the town of Humperdink, home of both a failing grape harvest and Dracula’s Castle of Doom. These diverse interests are linked by the machinations of the mayor, the bank manager and the residents of the Castle. The solution to the town’s financial woes is Dracula Tourism. As a story line it’s not quite credible, but in the hands of the Hills Youth Theatre, it works.

The bumbling crooks Nosher (Michael Searson) and Nasher (Jackson Denis) are central to one major theme – cops and robbers. They both showed obvious comic ability and timing and were fine foils for each other.
There were some clear, strong singing voices. Particularly controlled and convincing were Marina Deller-Evans as the Bank Manager and Emma Steele as Zsa Zsa, while Maisie Fabry as Cecilia Starr really belted out ‘Get Up and Do It With Style’.


The Dracula household of Sam Morris, Briony Bickerton and Leila Clendon showed strong ensemble skills, while with sustained comic presence, Ella Heywood-Smith and Lucy Gale were thoroughly entertaining as Aussie tourists Mr and Mrs Hill.

The cartoon-style set was well devised and generally assisted the action. Director Judy Sampson did well to coordinate the huge cast of around 80 performers, although at times the focus drifted and some of the dance sequences were two dimensional. Also, in places the script relied too heavily on weak puns which eluded the younger audience members. The physical gags worked better.

All credit to Hills Youth Theatre for bringing Bats to the stage. It was lively, entertaining and provided much fun for both the company and audience.

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This production was reviewed by:

David Smith
David Smith
David’s long involvement in community theatre began in Adelaide and continued for some decades in Port Augusta, Whyalla, Kapunda and the Barossa, and for one year, McAllen, Texas, USA. He is a performer, director, writer and former secondary school Drama teacher. He sings in the Adelaide Harmony Choir.

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