Moana Jnr – Adelaide Theatre Academy

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Matt Houston and Adelaide Theatre Academy’s production of Disney’s ‘Moana Jr.’ was on a minimalist stage setting, which highlighted the talents of the performers, both singing and dancing.

The opening performance audience was a “full house” (every second seat under present restrictions), and most groups were one adult and two children. They all thoroughly enjoyed the show, clapping and cheering often.

Holly Letcher as Moana had a lovely voice. However, it was Emily Bennett that stole the show with her enthusiastic portrayal of Maui! She owned the stage every time she was on it and her acting and singing were excellent. I also enjoyed Amelia Boys’ depiction of Gramma Tala, and her beautiful voice. The crab god Tamatoa was cleverly played by Matrim Grover, Isis Hermann, and Thomas Tirrell and Matrim’s voice was delightful. Too many other performers to mention by name – they all made a great show.

Technical difficulties with headsets, and soft voices were obvious at times, but this did not detract from the overall performance. Ben Francis’ lighting and sound effects were minimal and effective. Choreography by Georgia Brass and Jemma Allen was well coordinated and well performed by the whole cast – obviously they had plenty of practice! Emily Jaensch’s costumes were simple, colourful and effective, especially with 27 teens on the stage, often at the same time.

It was only when I read the program that I found out there were two casts, the Land Cast and the Sea Cast. As I enjoyed the Wednesday morning performance which was the Land Cast, I decided to book to watch the Sea Cast performance on Saturday. All performances were already booked out! All the shows are booked out! So I will have to watch the 2016 movie.

Well done to all!

Moana Jr.
Adelaide Theatre Academy
Goodwood Institute
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