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Friday, June 14, 2019


All kudos to DAS and the company for rising to the challenge and demands of this musical. (Review by Caroline Smart)

The Durban Actors Studio, known as the DAS Factory, is bursting with energy with their current production of Disney’s High School Musical 2 Junior.

Durban Actors Studio’s Stage School Program, in association with KickstArt Theatre Productions, has given 23 young performers, aged 9 to 16, the opportunity to embark on a performance training journey like none other.

The show is directed and designed by Sanele Sibiya who is also the choreographer and musical director. Assistant director and stage manager is K’Lee Gibson assisted by Debbie Creighton.

Making use of the DAS large studio with the help of set construction by Bryan Hiles and Banele Khomo, the simple use of double black flats and a few rostra as well as some greenery in the form of fake bushes – all movable - different scenarios are achieved, making the most of the space available.

It’s the last class of the school year and the students who make up the East High Wildcats team are abuzz with what’s ahead for them.

((Left: Hannah Brissett as Sharpay Evans)

Manipulative and cunning, Sharpay Evans is used to getting her own way and one of the first things she is going to do is to tear Troy Bolton away from his girlfriend Gabriella Montez, and she’ll go to any lengths to do it. Her brother, Ryan, fast becomes disillusioned with this and as the Wildcats split up according to their loyalties to Sharpay or Gabriella, he chooses the opposite team.

The four main characters are well portrayed. The part of Sharpay requires much passion and energy and Hannah Brissett gives her all to this role. Ryan Robertson handles the complex character of Troy Bolton with confidence and Savhannah Regnard is a spunky Ryan Evans who sticks to her scruples despite the domineering influence of her sister. Milla di Paolo impressed as Gabriella Montez with her consistency and focus.

Tayo Haley was charming as the musical Kelsi Nielson, and Carl Oosthuizen gave Fulton a strong sense of command while Amani Langa gave strong energy to the role of Chad Danforth who tries to get the team back together again.

Supporting members of cast are Brandon Strydom; Caomhe Lalla, Madison Opland, Jaimee Coxwell; Jessica Lilly; Calene Lalla, and Dakota Gooderson.

The ensemble is made up of Makayla Naicker, Joslyn Walters, Julianne Draycott, Nsika Langa, Rachael Shorey, Stella Clarisse, Erin McCalgan and Luella Reardon.

The costume crew comprises Sanele Sibiya, K’Lee Gibson, and Iona Joshua. Technical director is Sbusiso Masitheng with Wired Media making up the lighting and sound crew.

All kudos to DAS and the company for rising to the challenge and demands of this musical.

There are two more performances of Disney's High School Musical 2 Junior, (presented by arrangement with DALRO (PTY)LTD, representing Musical Theatre international, New York). They take place tonight (June 14) at 19h00 and tomorrow (June 15) at 14h00. Tickets R80 and there is a pre-order meal option. Seating is limited, and booking is essential. You can order tickets and pre-order meals at

The DAS Factory, at Durban Actors Studio is situated at 114 Intersite Avenue, Umgeni Business Park. – Caroline Smart