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A FISH OUT OF WATER

 

Pelican Productions
Scott Theatre

Until 18 Jan 2009

Review by
Kylie Pedler


After two weeks of intensive workshops and rehearsals under the guidance of an extremely talented production team, Adelaide’s young musical theatre enthusiasts present two days of performances. Directors Jen Frith and Kylie Green have successfully used the ‘fish out of water’ theme to link segments from a variety of popular contemporary musicals, identifying the unique struggles of each character trying to fit in within their society. Saturday’s performance by the senior and junior ‘red team’ demonstrated a sensational array of talent, forewarning that this group of youngsters would not be sinking in the ocean. (The blue cast perform on Sunday).

Peta Johnston’s choreography in ‘Jellicle Cats’ (from Lloyd Webber’s ‘Cats’) opens the show with polished professionalism while Natalie Bock’s vocals as Grizabella in ‘Memory’, from the same show, captivate the audience. Patrick Lim’s large cast numbers (‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ - from the musical of the same name - and ‘One Short Day’, from ‘Wicked’) are energetic and slick while each performer appears to enjoy themselves thoroughly performing Lauren Scarfe’s choreography for ‘Hard Knock Life’ (‘Annie’) and ‘I Won’t Grow Up’ (‘Peter Pan’).

Becci Schembri’s choreography provides entertaining comic interludes. Kieran Hanna, Amelia Holds and Caitlin Matijevic perform Schembri’s choreography for ‘Easy Street’ (‘Annie’) with hilarious front, while the ‘Flipper boys’ provide riotous entertainment in the ‘Mama Mia’ number ‘Lay All Your Love on Me’.

All round talent is Chloe Bremner in her rendition of the rebellious Peter Pan, mastering pitch, diction, dance and fiesty characterization and the gorgeous Jayden Prelc (Jeremy) who wows the audience with his enchanting stage presence in the ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ segments.

The vocal talents of young and old under the direction of tutors; Libby O’Donovan and Rosanne Hosking, drive each number. Tom Russell, as young Simba and Eliza Kennewell, as young Nala, are captivating throughout ‘The Lion King’ segment. Jessica Vogel shines in a delightful interpretation of Glinda from ‘Wicked’ and harmonizes well with Ashleigh Hauschild (Elphaba) who defies her age with a powerful rendition of the show’s ‘Defying Gravity’. The live music (Kelly Bruer, Chloe Bruer-Jones, and Felix Riley) adds a nice touch to the harmonic duet of Jason Bensen (Frodo) and Shai Martin (Sam) in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ number ‘Now and Always’.

However the show standout is Chloe Bruer-Jones’ unique performance of ‘Over the rainbow’. This young lady dominates the stage and made the piece her own, the climatic last verse revealing she has a promising future. Tim Joy’s lighting design provides a breathtaking backdrop to the number.

Simple effective props scatter the stage providing adequate space for the large cast and easily adjustable scene changes for the different acts. A few minor issues in the sound department need ironing out but the lighting design is smooth and sleek, providing poignant ambience throughout.

An energetic show, igniting passion and inspiring dreams.

 

 

NOW UNTIL THE BREAK OF DAY

Pelican Productions
Scott Theatre
Until 20 Jan 2008

Review by Laraine Ball

When a bunch of professional vocal tutors and choreographers spend two weeks giving concentrated tuition to a group of assorted young wannabees, the results are always going to be impressive, but in this case the show is sensational.

Directors Jen Frith and Kylie Green, with material from contemporary musicals, have obviously worked very hard and long for the end product to become so well finished. All the items are bright and lively, showcasing both the individual and group talent. Whether it’s the intensity of the rehearsal period or the calibre of the tuition - vocal tutors: Catherine Campbell, Carolyn Ferrie and Rosanne Hosking with choreographers: Patrick Lim, Aidan Kane Munn, Lauren Scarfe and Bec Schembri - as well as the quality of the kids themselves, these young people hit the stage with more energy and enthusiasm than seen in many an adult production.

Whilst all the performers are worthy of praise, there are always a few outstanding individuals in any show and this one is no exception. Rebecca Plummer sings her two songs delightfully (Phantom) and Chloe Bremner is a clear and confident Little Orphan Annie (Annie). Josh Sanders as Ugly shows great character expression and empathy (Honk), Brie-Anna Henwood and Ben Nicholson are charming and appealing in their several ballet sequences and Matthew Prime brings the house down with his Johnny O’Keefe songs (Shout).

In the ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ sequence, Georgie Sloan as the narrator is eloquent and upbeat. Jason Katsaras is brilliant as the Pharoah (dressed as a pint-size Elvis with all the right moves and shakes). Emily Morris gets the stage sizzling with her sultry version of ‘Le Jazz Hot’ (Victor Victoria) and Whitney Boyd belts out a powerful rendition of ‘Somebody to Love’ (We Will Rock You).

Ben Riggs struts the stage as Sebastian and from the same show Annabel Keeves is a small girl with a huge voice as Ariel (The Little Mermaid). Petra Szabo whips up the pace singing and tapping to ‘Anything Goes’ and Alisa James sings up a storm for the finale ‘Blow Gabriel Blow’.

Throughout the performance the support from the background dancers, including two aerialists from Circe Bats (Paris Martin and Alex Charman) is evident and also of a high standard.

Due to the sheer size of the cast, sets were mainly limited to large props brought on as needed, supplemented by some wonderful animated photo-graphics and film projected onto the cyc. Costumes too were fabulous. Well done, drafting and sewing team!

The only problems seemed to be in the sound department with some of the levels of music and mics a little uneven. However this failed to detract significantly from the overall result.

So look out, Adelaide! The next wave of young local talent is on its way - fast!

pelican_productions@yahoo.com.au

0402 497 844