Reviwed by Janice Bailey
I have worked closely with young people for most of my adult life and they still continue to energise and inspire me. I was very privileged to be in the audience of this one-off show Out of the Blue on Saturday night. Promise is a non-profit organisation which was set up by 16 year old Ben Francis to create performance opportunities for himself and the many aspiring young performers which Adelaide continues to produce. On an even worthier note, Promise also promotes worthy organisations which benefit the wider community. Ben is an immensely talented performer and with the tireless support of his mum, Trish Francis, also shows the talent of a budding entrepreneur. Out of the Blue was staged to support beyondblue, an organisation with which I am very familiar because of my work with young people. Sadly, depression and anxiety also tends to be present in many performers’ lives. The impact depression and anxiety can have on lives was highlighted by the guest speakers, Lane Hinchfliffe and John Maguire sharing their battles and showing that depression can be overcome.
Backing tracks have been used as a cost measure and in the main work well. What is most extraordinary is that the ages of this group range from 12 to 19 and they have been responsible for managing the whole show, from Music Direction by17 year old Serena Martino-Williams, Choreography by 19 year old Douglas Wiseman and 15 year old Hannah Dandie, with overall Direction by Ben Francis.
The show consisted of a range of well-known songs from different eras with the underlying theme of hope and positivity. Of the endless procession of excellent performances, standouts were Sophie Guidolin and Emma Kavanagh’s ‘Hero’, Jerome Javier’s ‘ ’Man in the Mirror’; Jordan Tomljenovic’s Que Sera Sera (Justice Crew); Ben Francis and Annabel Lane’s ‘The Prayer’ and the whole cast finale of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.
Special cudos should go to Craig Williams from Mosaic AV for providing his time and the sound, lighting and vision for the show; Nathanial Mason from Mason Digital for providing his photographic services and of course all the parents who tirelessly support this amazing bunch of incredibly talented youth.