Back in January 'A' joined a group called YouthOnstage in Birmingham. The group had been recommended by a lady called Jude Petty who just happened to be attending one of the courses we deliver. 'P' mentioned to her that 'A' loved singing, dancing and acting and she thought she might like to give it a try. At first, although she enjoyed rehearsals, I think she found it a little hard joining a group where she didn't know a soul and we were extremely proud of her for giving it a try and continuing to attend each week. What probably didn't help was our holiday back in February that took her away from rehearsals for 3 weeks, but unfortunately this had been booked and paid for long before 'A' had ever decided to join Youth Onstage. However, a few weeks into her return and we could see her confidence was beginning to blossom and she slowly started to speak of new friends and good times.
Last week Youth Onstage performed High School Musical at the Old Rep theatre in Birmingham and what a superb performance it was. We'd already seen the group perform their pantomime back in December so we knew what they were capable of but it was great to see even more talented youngsters taking the lead the parts.
It never ceases to amaze me that a group of youngsters aged 9 to 21 can have such power when they sing and I know many adult societies who could take a leaf from their book. The whole cast has such an enthusiasm for what they do and you can see their enjoyment as they perform. Music for the show was directed by Andy Johnson and the trickier numbers such as Stick to the Status Quo were handled with ease. Suzy Petty was in charge of choreography and as with the pantomime it was great to see the whole cast taking part in many of the dances along with the more challenging routines that the cheerleaders and basketball players had to learn. Direction was by Deb Brook and was fabulous, nothing was over played, the actors and actresses reactions were timed to perfection. Our only fault with the show would be that in some of the songs the backing music was a little loud which meant that it was difficult to hear the soloist at times. On many occasions however, the soloist was then joined by chorus which meant the track volume was required to be louder to compete with their fantastic volume :).
There were far too many talented individuals to mention them all but we were really impressed with Alick Draper and Georgia Towler who played Ryan and Sharpay. Their comic interpretation of the characters was superb, especially with Alick 'camping' it up whenever he possibly could. Hannah Brook and Adam Brown did the roles of Gabriella and Troy justice and were careful not to overplay the parts - their voices combined wonderfully. Hannah Thomas playing 'Kelsie' was also a hit with us - we also couldn't believe how much she looked like the actual 'Kelsie' from the film!
It was a tiring week for 'A' with dress rehearsals on both bank holiday Monday and also Tuesday evening and then the show itself began on Wednesday evening and ran till Saturday. But however tired she was her enthusiasm didn't wane and we could tell she'd thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of being on stage and the atmosphere that goes with being part of a cast and show such as this. She's made some great friends and is always keen to tell us how pleasant and friendly everyone is - she can't wait to return in September when rehearsals start for 'Hairspray'. She actually asked me this morning, "Is it YOS tonight?".........I think she has the bug!