I’m definitely one for nostalgia and nosiness, especially when it comes to seeing productions coming out of companies I am no longer with. I’m also a big believer in supporting young student talent. Being a student myself, I know that getting as big an audience as possible to see your hard work, especially if it is a new creation, can be tough. So I was very eager to pop back into my alma mater, Lowestoft Sixth Form College, to see the BTEC Performing Arts students’ production “Wish!”
This is the first year this course has run at L6FC, and enables students to pull together all of their many talents: from the triple threat disciplines as well as their creativity in writing and set/sound/lighting design. This full-length musical piece, written by student Joseph Flatt, combined everyone’s favourite fairy tale characters (such as the Genie, Captain Hook, and Cinderella) in a show full of good versus evil, and what happens when wishes are granted. It had a hint of “Into the Woods” to it, but was a lot more light-hearted with many physical and verbal gags.
I’m not sure where to start with this review, and that’s not a bad thing. Perhaps I could start with the vocal talent of Nicole Weatherley, as the Queen of Hearts, who beautifully delivered two solo numbers with heart and feeling, or maybe the sardonic tone of Harrison Quirk as the “ugly” frog prince, who delivered some great sarcastic lines – a wonderful difference in comedic style to the largely heightened comedy the show had. There were some fantastic all-round performances from Emma Jeffs (White Rabbit) and Sian Websdale (Grumpy), who showcased all three of their skills; delivering great character performances, as well as confident vocal abilities and a fab tap duet in the final number.
Speaking of dance, possibly one of my favourite moments of the piece was the Jive/Lindihop duet between Kane Hart and Bethany Grace (playing the Genie and Cinderella respectively) to the soundtrack of “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin. Their pure energy and execution of the many lifts, spins, and jumps were phenomenal – I think it’s a first for L6FC to see Rock ‘n Roll dance! Both also played their characters with style; Grace showing the vulnerability in Cinderella (was there an LGBT twist at the end?) and Hart charismatically commanding the stage.
Other dance numbers to be commended include the two Queen segments “A Kind of Magic” and “I Want to Break Free” which both captured key moments. However, in the latter number I do wish that Lenny Marshall, playing a cameo drag role, would have popped up again, just to add that extra pop culture reference. “Freak Flag” from Shrek! The Musical was also a fantastically energetic and feel-good number, with the entire company pulling out all the stops.
Other mentions must go to Mercy Ashcroft’s hilarious Southern twang’d Bo Peep (fabulously sassy), Joe Flatt (Rumpelstiltskin) and his hilarious moments in the wheelbarrow, the villains’ rendition of “I Have a Dream”, and props such as the birds and boat, which added some great fairy tale comedy to the piece.
Overall, an evening full of nostalgia, innuendo (“who rubbed my lamp?”), musical jazzy-ness, and talent was had. Experiencing the evening really brought home that the arts need to be consistently funded in schools and further education, especially if young people are as creative and talented as this bunch are.
Photos courtesy of Lowestoft Sixth Form College