Friday, August 19, 2016


A glorious, spectacular, and quirky kaleidoscope of colour, sparkle, music, lycra, youthful energy, zeal, personality and talent. (Review by Keith Millar)

No matter how extravagantly I praise Westville Boys High School’s astonishing production, I would still do it an injustice.

But let me try, anyway.

The Time of Your Life is a glorious, spectacular, and quirky kaleidoscope of colour, sparkle, music, lycra, youthful energy, zeal, personality and talent. Over 60 young people in an all-action, fast-moving tribute to the music of the 80’s. Their unfettered enjoyment of performing and dynamism is irresistible. The whole package is superbly entertaining.

It is hard to believe that this is a school production. It is of a standard which would not be out of place on a professional stage.

WBHS has a long record of outstanding productions under the guidance of their inspirational Director of Cultural Activities, Luke Holder. One of the cornerstones of his success has been the professional technical backbone he puts in place for his shows. Providing the technology for The Time of Your Life are industry leaders such as Selby’s Sound and Lighting, Black Coffee, Darkhorse Productions, SAS Productions, System Solutions and Durban Medianet.

The production team includes the likes of the multi-award winning Megan Levy as Technical Director and Sound Designer, and Stephen Woodroffe who is responsible for AV Design and Programming.

The magnificent 80’s costumes on display during the show are created by Tracy Campbell and the staff of Togs dressmaking. They’re gloriously colourful and detailed and beautifully made. They play an integral part in the stunning visual impact of the show.

Fiona Barnes’ choreography throughout the show is absolutely breathtaking. She uses everything from ballet to ballroom to create sequences which are absolutely unique. Each item in the show, be it an individual song or a medley, becomes an exciting event in its own right. Her creativity and versatility provides the opportunity for all the young performers to express their own personalities and talent. The result is a joyful and fun-filled extravaganza.

The manner in which AV projections are used in The Time of Your Life is particularly imaginative and adds an extra dimension to the audience’s enjoyment of the proceedings. Smallish round screens on either side are used to project the action on stage, which is contrasted with footage of the original artists. The big screen at the rear of the stage is used to project TV commercials from the 80’s.

Musical backing for this production is provided by an excellent professional band put together specially for the occasion. They are Chillie Stent on lead guitar and vocals, Dale Wardell on bass, Seth Parkin on drums, Charlene May on keyboards and Luke Holder on keyboards and vocals.

Performing two hours of memorable music from the 80’s are the stars of this show – 60-plus marvellously talented young people. The boys are all from WBHS and the girls from neighbouring girl’s schools. They have energy to burn as the show rollicks along at a tremendous pace. They sing and dance with vigour, panache and obvious enjoyment.

While there are a few very good solo performances on the programme most of the songs are ensemble work and, as such, I am not going to signal out individuals, but rather say that all the performances were exceptional and wonderfully entertaining.

Pulling together all the elements which go into creating a production such as The Time of Your Life is the remarkable Luke Holder. Not only did he conceive the show but is the director, musical director, lighting designer and for good measure played in the band, provided vocals and was the MC. He also found time to socialise with his invited guests prior to the start of the show.

Holder is an extraordinary theatre practitioner and educator. He creates wonderful opportunities for young people to develop their sense of self-esteem and to grow in confidence and ability. One can only hope that the school, its pupils and parents value what they have in this man.

Holder and his entire team deserve an A plus for this superb production.

Photo Credit GaryJ Photography

Photo Credit GaryJ Photography