Presented by Adelaide Youth Theatre
Reviewed 16 January 2021
Director Ray Cullen and his assistants Georgia Broomhall and Jared Gerschwitz should be congratulated for putting together such a fine performance from these young people in such a short time. No doubt the assistance of mentors Mark Oates and David MacGillivray were of immense help. The orchestra led by conductor Mark DeLaine held the whole production together, especially the keyboards played by Kristin Stefanoff and Paul Sinkinson, and fine work by Mark Stefanoff as musical director showed in the fine sound from the cast.
The large cast was well controlled and scene changes were handled well and smoothly by stage manager, Anthea ‘Harold’ Browne. All the leads gave heartfelt performances, but there were a few standouts and the coursework was exceptional. Connor Olsson-Jones played Jean Valjean handling the depth of the character well; Tiffany Gaze was fine as Fantine but was a little quiet in parts. Diana Badams and Liam Tomlin played the Thenrdieres with gusto and my only criticism was the difficulty of understanding Badams’ accent. Maggie Bridges played Young Eponine and Ayla Kennedy was a delightful Young Cosette. Oscar Birkett was a cheeky Gavroche and Jack Raft was commanding as Enjolras.
EJ Downing gave a sensitive performance as Eponine and sang it well while Sophie Davies was a beautiful Cosette, well matched with AJ Patel as Marius who gave us a heart-rending version of Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.
Without doubt the standout performance came from Matt Monti. His version of Javert was strong and unyielding. Monti gave us a flawless, heart stopping version of Stars showing sensitivity beyond his years.
The large ensemble contained many talents all of which worked together to give a fine rendition of this remarkable production. If space permitted, I would mention many of the young people who gave small vignettes within the scenes that we saw. In all a creditable production of a difficult piece.
Reviewed by Fran Edwards