Reviewed by Dave Smith
This productive company and director Judy Sampson chose well with Don’t Stop Believin’. It allowed their huge cast to explore a different genre and extended the acting range of some of their leading players.They faithfully conveyed the story of a community centre fighting the threat of demolition by greedy developers. It was a relevant plot with credible characters.
From the striking opening chorus, What Chance Have We Got?, several performers established their characters and continued to develop them through the play. As central figures, the two girls on community service, Nora and Angel, played by Zoe Hilton and Chloe Zodrow, were believable throughout. They sang and moved confidently and engaged well with the others in the ensemble. They clearly showed their characters’ leadership among the others in the community centre, and blended toughness with sensitivity, such as in the tender scenes between Nora and Brady, well played by Raife Gehren.
Carina Crowhurst impressed as the feisty Cammy, Matilda Hilton presented a sincere and self-possessed Miss Lampert, while Mitchell McFarlane, Eloise Lesue, Lee Hewitt, Jack Moran, Zanny Edhouse and Ella Heywood-Smith played their roles with energy and conviction.
In the main the cast was well focussed. That’s some achievement considering the ensemble’s large numbers and range of ages. It is a big expectation, but a live accompaniment would have assisted those few who had difficulty pitching to the often bland recorded music.
All credit to Hills Youth Theatre for continuing to bring so many young people to the positive experience of theatre and a great deal of joy to their audiences.