Reviewed by David Smith
There’s no doubt about the Adelaide Youth Theatre. They certainly know how to produce high quality and high energy musical theatre. All with a minimum of formal rehearsal time.
Mark Stefanoff’s direction of the large cast was clear and distinctive. As a whole, the performers sang and moved precisely and sensitively. Full credit to Musical Director Rachel Bruer-Jones and Choreographer Shenayde Wilkinson-Sarti.
The young cast were enthusiastic and focussed. The leads were that and more. They struck the right dramatic note with each interaction and held their youthful audience in thrall.
Adult performers Melanie George as Ms Darbus and Scott Magann as Coach Bolton were perfect foils both for one another and all of the teenage characters. It was the young leads, though, who really shone. The opening night cast was led by Hannah Ringrow as Gabriella and Lachlan Williams as Troy. They were convincing as the Brainiac and Jock who are not entirely at ease with those stereotypes. Their harmonies, too, were a delight.
Tayla Coad was exceptional as Sharpay, the Drama Club ‘queen’. She combined strong movement, singing and acting to irritate everyone on stage and in the audience, with the exception of Ryan, well portrayed by Ben Francis, and of course Ms Darbus.
They were solidly supported by Benji Riggs, Naomi Crosby, Georgia Bolton and Paige Dobie in particular, along with many others among the cheerleaders and ensemble.
All together, this vibrant young company has made another wonderful contribution to the city’s youth arts scene