Presented by Pelican Productions
Reviewed 18th January 2019
“Music Theatre Camp (MTC) was borne from the desire of the Directors of Pelican Productions to foster up-and-coming talent in the Adelaide performing arts scene.
MTC is an intensive two-week camp held in the January school holidays each year for performers aged 8 – 19 years with training in singing, dancing and acting. Taking the best of the best from Broadway and the West End, MTC culminates in the presentation of a music theatre performance like no other. Don’t be fooled by the age of the cast, the talent we have in Adelaide is nothing short of incredible”.
Pelican Productions celebrates 15 years of Music Theatre Camp in 2019 with a wealth of talented up-and-coming musical theatre performers from all genres of the performance camp – singers, dancers and actors. For Pelican to showcase the participants of this year’s camp, the production has to have three casts to give everyone an even break. I was overwhelmed by the amount of young people who appeared on stage during the evening, and in awe of the tutors who have provided these talented young people with such a great playpen to display their skills.
It is great to see some tried and true music theatre pieces mixed in with contemporary material which was really challenging for these young performers to come to grips with. Pippin opened the show, and what a great ensemble effort this was. This group of young performers really engaged with the magic of the piece; the journey of the show came together so clearly in the four songs chosen from the work. In addition, some very challenging solo work was delivered with panache.
A mash-up of Gypsy and The Greatest Showman really kept the pace and energy going, and one of the highlights of the evening was Tightrope, beautifully sung and honestly and emotionally realised in the dancing.
I loved the excerpts from Catch Me If You Can. The maturity and drive of the performers through this section rivalled any adult version of the show I have seen… and they have all been pretty wonderful.
Fame is always a family favourite – let’s face it, everyone wants to be famous – I know, you all just want to be on stage (and famous)! Fame was a great way to wind up the first half, full of hope, some very good singing (particularly Pray I Make PA), and a nice punchy rendition of Fame to send everyone out for a quick chocolate bar and a soda to replenish all the energy they had expended cheering on the performers in part 1.
Part two had a lot to live up to, and it didn’t disappoint. The opening excerpt from Madagascar was high-impact fun, and really worth the price of the ticket. I was mesmerised by the way the ensemble moved around the stage with such ease. They never failed to be in the right place at the right time, gave each character focus when it was required, and clearly had a really good time doing several things at once.
Mean Girls! Such fun. These kids had more fun than is legally allowed, I think. Great story really well told. I didn’t miss a word of the songs, I didn’t miss a joke, and the choreography was smokin’. We need a full length production of this, Pelican! Great job.
To top it off, we had two old favourites. Cats still has the capacity to grab an audience, and I think it is such a building block in modern musical theatre. It is accessible to everyone. Some fantastic work from singers, dancers and ensemble. Really amazing audience response too, which underpins how good these young performers are.
Finally, Mamma Mia! Well, those of us who grew up with ABBA still remember the influence of their music on our generation. Now, look what the stage show has done for it – given a whole new generation a love of their music. This exceptionally talented group of young people had an audience of grown-ups cheering, clapping along and generally showing the older generation what a great future of music theatre talent we have growing up in South Australia.
We truly have a wealth of talent in this state, and the vision of Jen Frith and Kylie Green in founding Pelican ensures our talented kids get an opportunity to stretch their creative muscle.
I have a dilemma. The soloists in the musical numbers presented were worthy of mention for their ability, charisma, connection to an audience and amazing talents. But there are two more casts, and I am sure they will be equally capable and worthy of personal mention. Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to see them and mention them by name in a review of the work. So I think, in fairness, all I can say is – you are all stars, you all shine, and you are all worthy of the greatest praise. Enjoy the wonderful evening of entertainment you have created, and keep working towards wherever your heart leads you.
Thank you for your hard work, your passion, your care of each other and your promise. And a special mention to every one of the tutors who has spent these last two weeks sweating blood to make you all look and sound awesome. An equally special mention to the technical and backstage team who made it all look so easy, and to the costume team too. What a job well done; the performers all looked and sounded great. Looking forward to 2020!
A little footnote: A large part of our nation carries on about sport and how good it is for growing bodies to be active. I don’t think any of the kids that play sport on a regular basis would still have been standing if they had been on stage. This is a great way for kids not only to build great music theatre skills but also to develop their confidence, their courage and their stamina. Performance is a body sport (tell that to your physical education teacher)!
Review by Adrian Barnes
Venue: The Westminster School, 1/23 Alison Ave, Marion, South Australia
Season: Friday 18/1/2019 @ 7.30pm – HOLLYWOOD CAST
Saturday 19/1/2019 @ 11.00am – WEST END CAST
Saturday 19/1/2019 @ 3.00pm – HOLLYWOOD CAST
Saturday 19/1/2019 @ 7.30pm – BROADWAY CAST
Sunday 20/1/2019 @ 1.00pm – BROADWAY CAST
Sunday 20/1/2019 @ 5.00pm – WEST END CAST
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes + 20 minute interval.
Tickets: Child: $25.00, Concession: $30.00, Adult: $35.00