Talented cast show they were 'All in it Together'

REVIEW: Disney High School Musical – On Stage by RTSA at Rotherham Civic Theatre Wednesday September 16 (Director/choreographer Dee Bennie-Marshall, musical director Matt Symonds)By Jo SykesRTSA did a brilliant job of bringing the stage musical version of Disney’s popular film, High School Musical, to The Civic Theatre.
TOP CAST: RTSA perform Disney High School MusicalTOP CAST: RTSA perform Disney High School Musical
TOP CAST: RTSA perform Disney High School Musical

With a fabulous cast of over 40 young people and a guest appearance from a member of the Rotherham Musical Theatre Company the stage was a full on American High School with cheerleaders, jocks and a penchant for students bursting into song.

Those of us of an age to remember the movie Grease will be delighted to know that a new generation of US high schoolers do just the same. However, in Disney’s version the cast are played by more age-appropriate young people whose troubles are more likely to be experienced by teenagers.

It is of course still a teen love story with the schools’ different factions being the basketball team, the brainiacs and the drama club. Troy Bolton is the basketball game-maker and school ‘jock’ and with his father being the coach it’s hardly surprising,

Gabriella is the new girl and maths genius who soon makes friends with Taylor and the scholastic team whilst Sharpay is the star of the drama club and twin to Ryan, who also enjoys playing to an audience. Whilst on family vacation Troy and Gabriella discover they enjoy performing and they contemplate auditioning for the forthcoming school musical written by fellow student Kelsi. When the school finds itself with a tight schedule because the ‘big’ game, the science decathlon and the drama club auditions are all juxtaposed – what will happen?

Tom Skinner played the heartthrob Troy demonstrating just the right level of anxiety for the audience to share in his apprehensions about letting down his teammates, his father, his new love and his newly found desire to perform in the school musical. Scarlett Lewis was brilliant in the role of Gabriella, her beautiful voice and acting ability really brought this character to life and amid all the high energy freneticism she was a wonderfully calm presence who sailed her way through this role. Sharpay is catty prima donna who is used to getting her own way and Chloe Hind was brilliant at bringing this bossy, self-centred persona to the stage. Hind worked well with her ‘stage twin’ Charlie Fields who demonstrated great potential, particularly as this was his first time performing on a theatre stage – one to watch out for. Hind and Fields had some super numbers which they performed with great effect.

Sophie Antcliff was an excellent Taylor, displaying great acting ability and stage presence. Freya Carr was delightful as Kelsi, the timid writer of the musical and Chester Williams was an articulate voiced, Jack Scott the Velvet Fog radio announcer of East High School – doing well with maintaining his accent through the many announcements and some lovely facial expressions. Lily Roddis was a most convincing Ms Darbus, the drama teacher, and making a guest appearance was Jack Parkinson as the angry and pushy Coach Bolton.

There were strong performances from Brooke Green as Martha, Josh Wilkinson as Zeke and Josef Summerscales as Chad. The whole company was excellent with high kicking and fabulous acro routines. Dance Captain Charlotte Wall had definitely worked some magic with Troy and the jocks as their ball bouncing routine to ‘Get’cha Head in the Game’ was excellent and a definite show highlight for me.

As with all RTSA shows the set and costumes were to a very high standard and the stage management was superb with set changes barely noticeable. The lighting and sound enhanced the presentation and overall it was a very professional production which is what Rotherham audiences have come to expect from the experienced duo of director/choreographer Dee Bennie-Marshall and musical director Matt Symonds.

With a talented cast who showed that they really were ‘All In This Together’ – it was a fantastic show.

However RTSA don’t like to stand still and the production team and cast are already working on the next RTSA production - Les Miserables (School Edition) to be performed at The Civic in March 2024, tickets on sale now at www.rotherhamtheatres.co.uk

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