Just when you think that Adelaide amateur musical theatre couldn’t lift the bar any higher you are transported to the Heights.
This production has the wow factor from the very beginning. The full ensemble opening number In the Heights sets the tone. This is a major Broadway song and dance show and the cast of over 40 performers maintains a high level of energy throughout. The Latin American rhythms are infectious and some audience members were definitely catching the beat.
The large cast delivers on each major song and dance routine. It is exciting to watch and hear. The choreography is terrific and everyone on stage is fully engaged and contributes to a dynamic and professional performance.
Director Emma Williams and her production team, choreographers and a great band bring to life a New York community of Spanish Latin American immigrants facing a summer of social changes, intense heat and power blackouts with community spirit, courage and ultimately celebration.
The principal roles are well cast and performed. Joshua Angeles as Usnavi is a central storyteller and wonderful dancer and rapper. Caitlin Mortimer-Royle shines as Nina with her beautiful clear voice. Ben Francis as Benny, Nina’s love interest, has strong stage presence and excellent vocals. Montana Alguera-Lara is vibrant as Vanessa, torn between moving away and her attraction to Usnavi. Emily Downing as the matriarch Abuela Claudia is outstanding with a powerful voice and maturity to suit the role. Joshua Spiniello’s Sonny is a loveable comic character, again with good vocals and some great moves. Zali Sedgman as hairdresser Daniela oozes fun, glamour and sizzling salsa and fellow hairdresser Celine Chia as Carla adds lovely comic flair. Allan Chang and Livia Abreu provide strong dramatic support as Nina’s parents Kevin and Camilla. Walter Buckley as the piragua (ice desserts) seller and Julian Perrini as Graffitti Pete add more quirky colour to this vibrant community.
The incredible thing is that the majority of the cast are youth performers and not only that, there are two casts alternating throughout this show’s season. I wonder if we have more musical theatre talent here in Adelaide than in the rest of Australia!!In The Heights
The Arts Theatre
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