A large number of Denstone College’s talented students have this week entertained audiences with their reworking of a popular classic. Their interpretation was slick, fast-paced and full of energy and right from the opening number, the spirits of the audience were lifted and their toes were set tapping!
The music, produced by the excellent 7 piece band, under the expert direction of Mr McDade, was everything you’d hope it would be: fun, lively and polished, and the collaboration between the actors and the musicians was excellent. Mr McDade was ably assisted by Mr Horan and Mrs Dawson, both in rehearsals and in the band. They were joined by sixth former Jack Saunders on the saxophone and 3 of our peripatetic teachers.
The cast were stunning in their performances, and the show really was a success because of the collaboration and hard work of every member of the production team.
Alice Copestick, as Sandy, was superb in taking us on her character’s journey and her beautiful performance of Hopelessly Devoted pulled at everyone’s heart strings. This song was a nice contrast to her final song, where she strutted on stage in a black cat suit and expertly treated us to the play’s powerful and impressive conclusion.
Morgan James, who played Danny Zuko, once again shone on the Denstone stage. (Last year Morgan played Judas, in Jesus Christ Superstar.) His portrayal of Danny; torn between acting cool and winning Sandy’s heart was perfectly balanced and his singing performances were, once again, exceptional.
The ensemble of T-Birds and Pink Ladies generated heaps of energy. They brought comedy and laughter and lit up the stage with their individual characterisations and their relationships. By the end of the show, we were all willing each couple to get together; especially Frenchie and Doody, the latter of whom struggled desperately with shyness. Al Giovannelli, as Doody, not only acted superbly, but also melted hearts with his performance of Those Magic Changes. Sasha Brown’s Frenchy was wonderfully caring and her reactions during Beauty School Dropout were a successful mixture of joy, shock and panic; demonstrating her to be an excellent performer. She provided us with plenty of laugh out loud moments.
Emily Wagstaff, who played the big favourite Rizzo, was strong, fierce and captivating throughout. However, she successfully demonstrated the character’s vulnerability in her final passionate solo: There are worse things I could do.
Ed Whirledge played the cocky side kick to Danny, Kenickie, and he could not be faulted for his creation of character, nor his performance of Greased Lightning: It really was excellent.
Will McEneny, as Sonny, had a great stage presence. He developed a quick-witted and highly amusing character who the audience loved. Equally superb performances were given by Toby Bywater, who played the love struck Roger and Izzy McManus as Jan. Toby’s performance of Mooning ensured that every audience member was silently willing him to ask the innocent Jan out. Izzy Mcmanus’s comic timing was brilliant and again, her solos were beautiful and incredibly effective.
Freya Taylor, as Marty, brought the stage to life with her excellent portrayal of the naïve teenager who pretends to be more mature than she is. Her singing of Freddie My Love was fantastic!
Ed Neale, as Eugene, was consistent in making the audience laugh. Everything he said and did was hilarious and his character was clearly a favourite. His character was beautifully complimented by the over the top lead cheer-leader, Patty Simcock, who was played by the equally talented Millie Frost.
Romi Whitehouse’s Miss Lynch likewise brought the house down, especially at the high school dance when her shock and horror at the shenanigans she was surrounded by was so comically displayed.
Ollie Bailey, as Vince Fontaine, played the role with real gusto and energy. He too employed super comic timing. Charlie Parkinson, as Jonny Casino, and Oscar Dale, as The Teen Angel, revealed themselves to be superb performers as they entertained us with their singing, bopping and characterisation!
The strong ensemble knit the show together and there were some superb individual performances. The choreography was superb and every dance was uplifting. It was a delight to see Jemma Butcher’s hard work paying off: Her performance as Cha-Cha Digregorio also wowed and captivated. Audience favourites performed by the ensemble were Born to Hand Jive and Greased Lightning. In general though, throughout all of the ensemble numbers, a huge range of skills were on show and a large number of future leading stars made their debut.
Under flashing colourful lights, the bright, bold and detailed set designs and numerous props delivered a knockout performance, too. Our thanks go to the maintenance team for building the set and to Miss Lea, our Head of Art for bringing the stage set to life!
The colourful array of authentic costumes from the 1950s and the boys’ slicked back hairstyles also took the audience successfully back to the rock ‘n’ roll era. Our thanks to Mrs Thacker for supporting with this.
Mr Pearson and his team of talented technicians pulled out all the stops for the production. The flashing lights and atmospheric lighting states secured the intended moods for each and every moment and all of the lighting and sound cues were well executed, appropriate and exciting. Our thanks also to our new drama teacher, Mrs Phillips, who assisted with the tech in performance.
I am very proud of everyone involved and I am very grateful for everyone’s hard work: The show was a success thanks to the collaboration and talents of all.