Our final installment of Youth Week takes us to the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent for their Creative Learning: Stage Experience project. A great show choice too – High School Musical hasn’t been around for a while, but it’s still as popular as ever with a much larger audience than expected for a Thursday nights in one of the North West’s top theatres.
This time, they’ve taken 60 youngsters aged 8-19 and in 4 weeks of rehearsing on a Sunday, followed by a 2 week intensive rehearsal process, they’ve created the full scale musical. A full set, band and everything else you would expect from a professional production is here, giving the children a superb opportunity to be part of a production – many for the first time.
The show itself is the story of Gabriella and Troy – who arrive at the same high school after meeting at the Ski Slopes over Summer. The battle of the Jocks, the Thespians and the Brainiacs proves tricky for the pair – but in the end they manage to make it work – with a little help from their friends.
One of the best parts of High School Musical is the music, it’s accompanied throughout with one of the best musical scores of the last 20 years and it’s very difficult not to “bop” along – especially when you see everyone having so much fun on stage.
Direction and choreography is in keeping with the abilities of the cast, who all do a good job keeping the show moving. As always there are performers who stand out despite many cast members being worthy of a mention. For example Jacque Bowen is a very loveable “Zeke” and Jessica Forse a very endearing “Kelsi”. Liam Tiesteel has got all the moves as Ryan, opposite Emilia Braddon who has alot to do as Sharpay. Issac Radcliffe and Raina Procter have clearly worked very hard in the main roles as Troy and Gabriella, leading the cast very nicely.
The cast did very well despite some opening night issues – a supportive audience willed the cast on as they delivered a strong finish to the show. As they get more comfortable I can only imagine that they will have alot of fun for the remaining 2 days of performances. You can never tire of the High School Musical megamix aswell, which is an enjoyable way to finish the show.
Amateur productions like these are not going to win any awards and this particular show is far below the standard of what you’d usually see on the Regent stage or even expect to see from a youth production, but if you know somebody involved in this or any local shows – why not go along to support them. You might just have a really good time doing it.
Working with theatre folks in a professional venue is a superb way to spend summer for any child. Why not give it a go next year? Keep an eye out for the Regent Theatre’s wide range of outreach work and get involved – or see what your local theatre has on offer. I’m sure you won’t regret it.
Find out all you need to know, including where to buy tickets, at atgtickets.com/stoke.