Carousel conquers at Aylsham High – review

Just Regional
Mar 20, 2014 3 mins read

This review needs to start not at the beginning but at the ending. For that is where the mighty impact to the show Carousel hit hardest. Aylsham High School children rolled the show out before the audience like a colourful carpet and that is what the audience was expecting, a comfortable cushioning end to an enjoyable show. Instead they were emotionally jolted by a mature portrayal of heart twisting sorrow. So effective was its power, that stiff upper lips were tardy, tears rolled and throats constricted.

The show grabbed the attention as it began too, with a novel see-saw of both action and frozen tableau complimented by a live orchestra adding atmosphere and quality.

Thereafter the whole show flowed, effectively assisted by the substantial mixed chorus which wasn’t in the least bit homogeneous. The boys stomped their male mettle with clenched fists and sharp elbows, bellowing their songs with confidence and were a lively contrast to the girls captivating grace and feminine composure. I was enthralled by their competence, ability and their mastery of some complex choreography.

The casting of this show was excellent with the main characters slotting into their roles naturally. Benedict Wills and Chloe Chandler played the main roles of Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordon. Pretty Chloe played her part with sweet innocence with a voice to match and Benedict’s portrayal of a bullish character was both powerful and convincing. Hazel Needham as Carrie Pipperidge gave a truly gutsy performance of an impatient, not to be messed with individual and the stage was hers to rule whenever she was on it. George Wilson added a light hearted element and a touch of humour with his nerdy character Mr. Enoch Snow. James Hubbard easily played both the humorous and the bad sides of his character, Jigger and displayed a wonderfully melodic voice. Thomas Wilkes as Mr. Bascombe also exhibited a most pleasing velvety singing voice and Charlotte Foster and Emmie Wright both showed absolute assurance and ability in their roles of Mrs. Mullin and Nettie respectively.

The whole show was a riot of dancing, music and a kaleidoscope of vibrant costumes but most of all of talent. From the youngest to the oldest the singing ability was quite incredible and the acting polished and composed.

While watching all these little stars and all those who have come before them in the many past productions at Aylsham High School, I realised the biggest star of them all is drama teacher Hazel Martin. She has demonstrated again and again the effect an inspirational and committed teacher can have on children. Their confidence, their willingness to work hard and push themselves to the limit and beyond can only come from an influential teacher and that is what she undoubtedly is. The children are a credit to her, themselves, their school and to Aylsham and the reward of being judged as an outstanding school by Ofsted is deserved by them all.

-Arlene Todd





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