Westville Boys High School Drama department sets the standard for young performers. (Review by Keith Millar)
I am constantly astounded and delighted by the quantity – and quality – of talent there is available at our schools in KZN. Given the opportunity, our youngsters come out in numbers to display their fantastic creative and performance skills in joyous abandon.
Currently it is the turn of Westville Boys High School to astound and amaze with their outstanding musical revue Shake It Out.
The cast of 60 is made up of boys from Westville High, and girls drawn from several girls’ schools in the Highway area. They give their all in this song and dance extravaganza which is young, fresh, energetic and of a very high standard. They are backed by a superb 12-piece band as they belt out hit after hit. The music varies from contemporary interpretations of classics such as Who’s Pinball Wizard, Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger, to current club hits such as Starships, Edge of Glory and the 2012 smash hit Gangnam Style.
The show is slick, fast-moving, action-packed and very physical as the stage swarms with dancers. The choreography is outstanding with each number having its own mood, while the costumes dazzle and enchant. Most of the dance was athletic modern style but there were moments of beautiful ballet and even a bit of tap. Of particular note was the entire cast dancing in perfect unison to Gangnam Style with enjoyment and delight shining from their faces.
The lighting is simply stunning throughout and the sound mix out of the top drawer. Special pyrotechnic effects added an extra dimension to this Las Vegas style show.
Shake It Out is an ensemble work with the entire cast involved throughout. However, there were two performers who deserve special mention. Sarah Heron from St Mary’s is a talented singer who made a particular impression with a powerful rendition of I Will Always Love You. Aurey Livingstone, who also played electric and acoustic guitar in the band, was the lead vocalist on a few occasions and stood out with his version of Teenage Dream.
The very professional production team is undoubtedly the bedrock upon which the success of Shake It Out is built They deserve particular praise for their contributions to the show as well as for their efforts in coaching such a large group of youngsters into giving such memorable performances.
The show is devised and directed by Devin Möller and music direction is by Luke Holder. The superb choreography is by Fiona Barnes and Caeley van Doorn. Take a bow, all of you!
The technical aspects of the show were designed by two of Durban’s top practitioners with Megan Levy responsible for sound and Mike Broderick for lighting.
The Westville Boys High School Drama department has set the standard for young performers. If others follow this example, we are in for a rare treat.
Shake It Out runs until May 25 with shows on May 19, 21 and 23 in cinema style seating. On May 24 and 25 it will be “Barnyard” style. (BYO picnic baskets. Cash bar available). Tickets R80 (R60 learners). More information from Westville Boys High School on 031 2671330. – Keith Millar