Pelican Productions have started the new year with a big, colourful and exciting production, this time in the well equipped, generous-sized Anzac Hall at Prince Alfred College. Hundreds of young performers have spent their Summer rehearsing a Showcase of production numbers from eight major musicals. I was delighted by the Hollywood cast, one of three big casts sharing the short season. What I saw definitely made me regret not being able to see the other equally-credentialed casts as well.
This was a very slick and well managed performance. A quick glance at the experience in the production team explains how they were able to achieve so much with such a large cast and the complexity of the major choruses. Jen Frith and Kylie Green capably directed the whole production and were well supported by a team of no fewer than five Choreographers and six Vocal Tutors, all of whom are well known and respected in their fields. There were countless others in the support team.
The production itself was indeed a true showcase of young talent, giving many an opportunity to shine. There were many memorable individual performances, and they were all splendidly supported by the ensemble of singers and dancers. The choruses demonstrated that all on stage had a clear grasp of the meaning of their pieces, and melded their obvious joy and enthusiasm with real excellence of execution. That is no minor achievement.
There were some real highlights.
Hannah Brown was a remarkable, captivating Reno in Blow, Gabriel Blow from Anything Goes, and worked wonderfully with Josh Spiniello in the comic duet Friendship from the same show. The cast of The Addams Family selection was well-balanced and capable. Anabelle Fleming really captured the quirkiness of Wednesday’s character in Pulled, while William Fleming drew the audience’s laughter and sympathy with his vulnerability in What If?
The Zombies songs worked well, led by the remarkable Nika Korcek as Addison. The ensemble piece Fired Up was especially impressive with enthusiastic and well controlled singing and choreography.
I was taken by the beautiful harmonies in some small group sequences, such as Hannah Brown, Isabella Gratwick, Chelsea Lancione and Ella Moll as The Fates in Hadestown, and the brief cameo of Abbie Rodger and Sade Nikolitsis as Young Elsa and Young Anna in A Little Bit Of You from Frozen, along with the irrepressible trio of Josh Spiniello, Cooper Everett and Finn Green in their most affecting singing of Both Sides Now from Priscilla Queen Of The Desert.
Priscilla was a fitting finale of the production, full of colour, vitality and delightful sound. I Love The Nightlife and I Will Survive resonated long after the lights went down for the last time.
In all, this was a delight in a number of ways. It was a further affirmation of the talent and tuition of Adelaide’s young actors, singers and dancers, and also it was a thrill and a relief to know that decent-sized audiences are once again able to see high quality, entertaining and exciting live musical theatre. We should count our blessings.MTC Brand New Day
ANZAC Hall – Prince Alfred College
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