Reviewed By Matthew Holding
It is always a pleasure to see fresh young talent on an Adelaide stage, and Promise Adelaide has risen to the task yet again. Young director Ben Francis (17) has assembled three distinct casts, each with their own selection of songs from popular musicals and movies, effectively giving us three separate shows from Promise for the 2017 Fringe. I saw the second of these, with a selection of young performers aged from just nine to nineteen. The Norwood Hotel fringe venue was a comfortable choice with no one too far from the action on stage.
The choice of songs presented was mostly unrelated, but performed with enthusiasm and precision. The show kicked off with the whole cast singing “Revolting Children” from Matilda. A clever selection which left one thinking they were quite the opposite! Group choreography was tight and moved well, although some individual performers could have used the whole stage more to engage the audience spread around them. Lighting was subtle and used to good effect. All used microphones to balance the singing with the backing tracks, but in the telling moments of mic failure, strong voices shone through, particularly for Scarlett Anthony (17) in her powerful rendition of “Burn”.
All received enthusiastic applause from an audience clearly enjoying their night out. It is hard to pick out just one or two, but certainly Emma Wilczek (19) and Bella Cother (17) with “Casting Call for a Best Friend” captivated the audience, and younger singers Kate Neville (14) and Ariel Higgs (9) showed us plenty of the “Promise” for the future. The only thing I would like to see is young musicians with the singers, but maybe that’s another project. The whole cast and production team of Francis, Annabel Lane (18) and Serena Martino-Williams (18) should be extremely proud of what Promise Adelaide is doing for youth in the Adelaide musical scene.