Regulus // Issue 2 // August 2023
The polished and professional 2014 performance of Guys and Dolls was the first show Head of Drama and Dance, Laurence Wiseman, directed at St Andrew’s. It was his third encounter with the show, after appearing in it as a 15-year-old, and it being the first musical he cut his directing teeth on. The show received rave reviews with audiences,
impressed by the students’ energy, enthusiasm, and joy.
The fast-paced, witty, and original musical, Urinetown, was a complex, multi-layered mockumentary-style show, taking a satirical look at musicals from melodrama, to naturalist, to Broadway drama. It was a brave choice, but risk-taking is something Laurence Wiseman has become known for over the last decade, trusting students to take on challenging roles and themes.
Cabaret had everything from tenderness, tragedy and hedonism, to love, humour, loss, and terror. The young cast entranced the audience, delivering powerful performances as they tackled several strong themes and storylines, leading to a final shocking scene. Cabaret was daring, dangerous, brilliant, and somewhat risky. But it was a risk that most definitely paid off.
Guests at the Gala Dinner during the College’s Centenary celebrations had a wonderful sneak peek of the Senior Production Encore!, a showcase celebrating 100 years of theatre at St Andrew’s. With 19 big productions numbers from much loved musicals performed throughout the College’s history it was a challenging
show, which was delivered in spectacular fashion by the talented cast.
Blood Brothers is a popular global show, and the 2018 performance by St Andrew’s students could have graced any stage. The powerful, tragic story of twin brothers, separated at birth but who form an unlikely, yet powerful friendship was played with great depth of emotion and understanding by the young cast. Spontaneous standing ovations each night left the entire production team in no doubt of the audiences’ appreciation.
The young performers in Parade displayed not only enormous talent, but also incredible maturity and understanding of the show’s complex themes around racism, prejudice, oppression, and hate speech. The mosque attacks in Christchurch happened during the show’s rehearsals which gave the students even greater drive and determination to deliver the show’s powerful messages. Parade moved, provoked, and challenged audiences who were impressed by the students’ top-quality performances.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, Cry-Baby was only seen by socially distanced groups of parents and cast, and a ‘bubble’ performance for students and staff, however the cast of the rockabilly romp still delivered a brilliant toe-tapping extravaganza, bringing the ‘girl meets boy from the wrong side of the tracks’ story to life with high energy and an enormous amount of fun. It was just the tonic for a trying 2020.
There was razzle dazzle to burn when the senior students tackled the provocative, well-known show, Chicago: High School Edition, with its timeless narrative around media control. Audiences were wowed by the high-energy musical numbers and outstanding performances, with many commenting that the performances were so good, it could have been a professional show.
With no theatre to perform in, the decision was made to stage Songs for a New World ‘in-the-round’ in a stunning set and mini theatre, in Gym 1. The complex show featured a cycle of songs all connected by a similar theme, ‘the moment of decision’. The young performers and band delivered incredible performances of the show's demanding vocal and musical score.
The cast of Bright Star delivered dazzling performances as they portrayed a story of love, loss, heartbreak, and redemption. Set almost 100 years ago, the stunning score featured everything from bluegrass to country and folk music, which was brilliantly played by the live band. The production team, cast, and crew strived for excellence in everything they did, making Bright Star an unforgettable final show before the Performing Arts Centre becomes the new creative hub of St Andrew’s.