Reviewed by Dave Smith
The Murray Bridge Players and Singers brought life and energy to their production of High School Musical. Directors Ken and Chris Melville assembled a large, mostly young cast and with good music and sharp choreography, they succeeded with this tale of the competing influences of sport, theatre, friendship and love among the students of East High.
Musical Director Ian Colley smoothly ran the music from his keyboard, supported by Chris Overton on percussion. The combo worked well and Colley sensitively supported the performers, while skilfully managing the music for the slick scene changes.
Jake Salter as Troy and Anika Bartholomeusz as Gabriella came across as genuinely nice people and coped well with their large and demanding roles. They grew in power and confidence as the play progressed and, by the wonderful final chorus and curtain calls, were really belting it out.
Tim Hodgen as Chad and Cassandra Brion as the irritating drama club president Sharpay, played solid supporting roles, while Steve Angove and Janene Overton in the adult roles of Coach Bolton and Ms Darbus the drama teacher had strong moments.
Kurt Miegel played Ryan to perfection. He had a secure stage presence and sang, acted and moved with skill, confidence and subtle humour. Katelin Kneebone as Taylor stood out to a similar degree. She was strong when necessary and had controlled and sensitive characterisation, all with an easy, natural style.
The action moved well, assisted by a simple and effective set which enhanced the mood of the whole piece.