Youth cast brimming with raw talent
ONE of the aims of youth theatre is to discover new talent and another is to boost confidence and team skills in our young members of society.
And the Youth Art Centre’s production of Footloose the Musical, performed in the Gaiety Theatre at the weekend, is real proof that it can work on both levels.
The all-singing, all-dancing show was put together in no fewer than three weeks before curtain up. Which is why it’s astonishing just how the cast and crew of under-25s pulled off such a slick, fluid and vibrant piece of musical theatre.
The story follows teenager Ren who challenges the no-dancing rule in his stuffy new hometown while finding romance with Ariel, the Reverend’s daughter. From the first scene, there was no doubt in my mind that Dan Palmer, who played Ren, is a natural born actor destined for the West End. With real ease and comfort, this fresh-faced lad led the cast through the highs and lows of the teen story. He hit his high notes perfectly and when he screamed with angst at the passing train it left me with goosebumps. And, playing Ariel, Emma Grant was wonderful throughout, particularly as she stood on a table belting out I Need a Hero above the sea of chorus girls. The moonlight duet between hero and heroine was very sweet and delicately performed.
Favourites for me were the Reverend and his wife, played by Michael Cowin and Amber Purnell. Their scenes portraying parents coming to terms with death and change were really moving. Both were very emotive actors with strong singing voices. And James Scott was a great bad guy brimming with real attitude and cool dude humour.
As well as mastering American accents, the young cast showed off their skills in breakdancing, skipping, leap-frogging and even a bit of gyrating line-dancing. Beth Brown’s Let’s Hear It For The Boy solo was fantastic especially as she managed to sing while also spinning, star jumping and doing cartwheels. Even the slight sound problems and cursing off-stage accidentally caught on microphone added to the experience.
The show was well-paced, full of energy and beautifully choreographed to funky music. Everyone showed real courage and strength of character, and a genuine sense of commeraderie as they stood side-by-side up there. They had obviously put their heart and soul into it. I look forward to keeping an eye on these budding stars, many of whom were brimming with raw talent.
Director Alex Turner is to be highly commended, as is musical director Jenna Withey and choreographer Kat Ash.
The night ended fittingly with plenty of whoops and wolf whistles.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Isle of Man
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 6 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 32 mph
Wind direction: North west