GRACE, power, beauty and comedy combined to give us a glimpse of the struggle to achieve Fame when the young people of Deeside Youth Musical Theatre combined their considerable talents with a lot of hard work to bring highly energetic entertainment to the Aboyne Community Theatre stage (March 27 – 29).
An impressive whole-cast Round Son g called Hard Work, with three large groups each singing different lines in harmony, set the impressive tone for the story of young wannabe singers, dancers, actors and musicians at an American High School for the Performing Arts in the 1980s when dayglo leg warmers, rarahs and leotards were all the rage and the X factor was something to be achieved, rather than decided by fickle public vote.
The storyline was carried by little cameos and groupings as the students dealt with teenage traumas and self doubt and the teaching staff caught the balance between confidence building and crowd control. Once more, DYMT showed that teens are the best people to play their own age group on stage. Adult actors cannot do gawky bluster or tender angst like the real thing.
On the other hand, the four young people who played the teaching staff were so mature and talented in their presentation that the reverse did not apply. Connah O’Reilly-Mclean gave a commanding performance as the drama teacher and the ever-funny Josh Day was an accomplished and beautifully accented music master.
Eilidh Welsh as the sympathetic dance teacher and Merryn Thomson as the results-driven English teacher shone in their opposing roles, with the biggest cheer of the night appreciating their considerable singing prowess in the impassioned Teachers’ Argument duet.
Even in a consistently stellar cast, there is usually one who lingers long in the memory and this time it was the hilarious Joey Vagas, played by Ross Hendry, who kickstarted laughter just by walking on stage. A lovely combination of attitude, charm and chutzpah...and his Romeo interpretation was something else!
Craig Giblin gave his usual polished, delightful, leading performance and if you could harness Brad Arthur’s energy, enthusiasm and ability, you could probably power a township. Henry Esson was truly grrrreat as Goody King and Ossian Arthur brought a stunning range of musical and acting prowess to the stage, making him the most believable star-in-the-making.
Female leads Oakley Isaac and Emily Hazely did not let the loons have it all their own way, however, with both carrying their challenging roles with poise, talent and great entertainment value. Hope Simmers managed to get us all on side with an appealing portrayal of spirit and humour in the unfair battle which randomly gives some females skinny genes and condemns others to a lifetime of watching what they eat.
Alana Beattie was endearing as Lambchops, a highlight being her mute-but-expressive build-up to a single ting on the triangle during the rock band’s big number. Well done, Miss Bean!
The tragic but spirited central character of Carmen was beautifully portrayed by the magnificent Libby Munro whose pathos, passion and sound lifted the sad In L.A. song into a truly magic moment.
There are no hingers-on in DYMT. The entire ensemble acted, sang and danced as if the spotlight was on them and they give promise for a golden future. Michaela, Olivia, Taylor, Erin, Richard, Emma, Emily Marshall, Shaun, Josh Latimer, Eilidh McRae, Bob, Ross McLellan, Magnus, Gillean, Maria, Jamie, Rebekka, Ethan, Francesca, Maddy, Mhairi and Caragh...can’t wait to see and hear what you each do next!
And finally a word about the huge support team in all directions. Your gift of time and talent to help these young people – and their stage -- look, sound and feel like a professional company are appreciated by DYMT’s Upper Deeside audiences...and you should all take a little bow when the applause thunders.