Brash and flashy mu­si­cal

Musik­mak­ers’ pro­duc­tion of Dis­ney’s open­ing night, River­lea Theatre.

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Ge­off Lewis Del­uged with young talent dur­ing au­di­tions, show man­age­ment se­lected a young and vi­brant cast, many of whom could al­ready call on ex­pe­ri­ence in both school and am­a­teur pro­duc­tions.

High School Mu­si­cal is a cleaned-up and mod­ernised ver­sion of the clas­sic 70s mu­si­cal Grease. Set in the myth­i­cal East High School in Al­bu­querque, New Mex­ico, it is typ­i­cally Amer­i­can — loud, brash and flashy.

But un­der­neath are the com­mon strug­gles of teenagers try­ing hard to be grownups.

Cen­tre is the re­la­tion­ship be­tween newby stu­dent Gabriella Mon­tez, played by Hay­ley Mon­aghan and the coach’s son Troy Bolton, played by Zac Clarke.

Stand-outs in­clude the at­ten­tion-seek­ing Shar­pay Evans (Mimi Bois­ter), her hen­pecked com­pan­ion Ryan Evans (Jonathan Hawthorn), on-stage pi­anist and com­poser Kelsi Neil­son (Bride Case-miller) and school ra­dio jock Jack Scott (Jack Turner).

The cast is bol­stered by vet­eran stage per­form­ers in­clud­ing Leona Lenora Robin­son as the af­fected drama teacher Ms Dar­bus and Scott Chap­low as the sin­gle­minded school B-ball coach Bolton.

High School Mu­si­cal is packed with rous­ing mu­si­cal num­bers from poignant so­los and duets to thump­ing gang-show choral num­bers. Mu­si­cal di­rec­tor Co­ryn Knap­per and chore­og­ra­pher Abby Dut­ton fo­cused a tonne of youth­ful en­ergy into River­lea’s lim­ited stage, fin­ish­ing the evening with a stomp­ing high-pres­sure ver­sion of We’re All in This To­gether fol­lowed by a megamix recap of all the ma­jor songs in the show.

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