Accommodating almost 100 young dancers, singers and actors on the impressively grand Westminster School stage must be a logistical nightmare for the Pelican Productions Company. But this is no ordinary youth theatre outfit. The young performers bring a show together following their Music Theatre Camp under the expert training tuition of proficiently qualified choreographers, vocal tutors and music theatre artist-teachers.
This production( under review) is The Greatest Show and features songs from, “Pippin,” “The Greatest Showman/Gypsy”” Catch Me If You Can,” “Fame,” “Madagascar,” “Mean Girls,” “Cats” and “Mamma Mia!”
The choreography in these numbers was innovative and energetic, though it can be said there was some choreographic duplication in several of the dance routines. The the young dancers always performed with great energy.
The chorus singing was very “Broadway”, with which Australian audiences have long been familiar, but the vigour and zest of the singers was always obvious.
Stage movement by the well- rehearsed performers was extremely disciplined and the team work which this company strives for, was paramount.
Jen Frith and Ben Sax’s excellent lighting design provided wonderfully slick and seamless scene changes, while additionally,Jen’s costume designs were faultless, providing the aegis for a huge costume department.
It would well be the desire of this critic to mention every performer on the Westminster stage for their fine work but this of course is neither possible, nor even desirable. So, selecting “best” performances in a show of this magnitude is difficult indeed as the overall standard under the direction of the ubiquitous Jen Frith and co-director Kylie Green was particularly high in all areas of music theatre- solo singing, chorus singing, acting and most certainly above all, energy.
In the song Tightrope,from The Greatest Showman/Gypsy the soloists Amy Gallery and Finn Green, two senior dancers in the troupe, were extraordinarily good. Similarly, Georgie Sykes (Baby June) in Let Me Entertain You was a knockout, as was Luka Wadey (Grizabella) singing Memory from Cats.
There was excellent teamwork in the Jet Set from Catch Me If You Can and the Madagascar medley was a fun number for the youngsters.
The entire company saved their very best collaborative work for the final four songs from Mamma Mia made famous by ABBA .
This was a theatrical experience which brought delight to the essentially “mums and dads” audience, and gave us a good look at at what we may expect in the future from our next generation of music theatre exponents. In the hands of this innovative professional youth theatre, the future is rosy indeed.