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Wednesday, June 19, 2019


(Troy played by Joshua Randall & the Jocks)

Definitely for the younger generation. (Review by Barry Meehan)

Northcliff High School in Johannesburg must be given great kudos for giving their pupils the amazing opportunity to stage big musicals and tour them to Durban to run in the Playhouse . The performing arts are sadly neglected in so many schools around the country, but Northcliff is a standard bearer in this field.

That being said, High School Musical is a pretty radical departure from their previous productions in that the kids have had huge fun in past years playing zany and over-the-top characters in shows like The Addams Family, Spamalot and Sister Act. In Disney’s stage version of High School Musical, the cast are playing characters pretty much like themselves, giving them not much to work with in terms of madcap characterisation that many of them would have experienced before.

(Left: Coach Bolton played by Miguel da Silva & Ms Darbus played by Giana de Abreu)

Unfortunately, the script doesn’t offer a lot of help in this respect either in terms of dialogue and songs, none of which are particularly memorable. 

All the stock high school characters from so many movies of the genre are on stage – the basketball jock and his team mates, the cheerleaders, the brainy and pretty maths girl, the bitchy drama girl and her downtrodden brother, the ardent drama teacher and the basketball coach, who never won a championship on his time, but is determined at all costs to win the High School championship with his son as the playmaker, no matter the son’s ambitions in his other endeavours, like auditioning for the High School Musical.

The cast certainly give it their all, and are excellent in the big production numbers. It would seem though, that more emphasis has been placed on this aspect of the production, with less attention being focused on the acting sequences, which sometimes come across as a bit wooden and under-directed. But one must remember that these are school kids performing to the best of their abilities, and obviously having huge fun doing so.

 (Right: Tyla Puzey as Sharpay, Shannon Howard as Gabriella & Pride Mncube as Taylor)

The show is also very much an ensemble piece, so it would be wrong of me to comment on individual performers. Let’s just give each and every one of them an A for effort! And an A+ for the band, who keep the music flying along with gusto!

Of course, the show is designed to teach youngsters life lessons, and succeeds very well in this regard. And as High School Musical has a cult following since the movie came out in 2006, anyone under 30 will know the plot and the characters and enjoy re-living the experience. So make sure your kids and grandkids see it – it’ll mean something to them and they’ll love it!

High School Musical runs in The Playhouse Drama until June 23, 2019.

Performances Tuesday to Saturday at 19h30 with a matinee on Saturday at 14h00 and a further performance on Sunday at 15h00. Tickets from R60 to R115. Pensioners/Seniors get R115 tickets for R90 for performances from June 20 to 23.

Booking can be made through Computicket on 083 915 8000 or at or through the Playhouse Company Dial-A-Seat facility on 031 369 9555 or Box Office numbers: 031 369 9596 / 369 9540. – Barry Meehan