Australian Dance Performance Institute, Musical Theatre Showcase 2013: Whether the Weather.
This most enjoyable night of entertainment was a self-devised performance of Whether the weather, by the staff and students of The Australian Dance Performance Institute. The performers were a mixture of dancers, singers and actors who put a lot of thought into their rendition of growing up, life, love, and loss.
Director Gareth Harris and musical director Jacqui Devereux had a diverse cast to work with. The musical comedy was new and very suited to our time such as the fantastic number written by Australian composer Matthew Robinson called ‘Metro Street’ and the ensemble’s ‘Traffic Island Song’ which was very busy but worked exactly like it should have with lots of energy and great timing shown by the young cast.
This I think, was the show’s strength. It was unusual, different and would have been very beneficial for the students to participate in, as the material chosen was not common nor mainstream. The songs were tender, emotive and sincere; they were not belts or feel good numbers just for the sake of it.
Many individual students performed vocal solos, but there were plenty of group and entire cast numbers to add variety. Those who didn’t sing, engaged us in some unusual snippets of drama and comedy. There were a lot of good performances by individuals but my pick was Adam Robins, who was excellent; we just didn’t see enough of him. He stood out for his comedic ability, timing, personality, and could sing as well. This young man has a lot of potential and his second year of study can only build on what is already a clear all-round talent.
Chelsea Hartley’s rendition of ‘Crayon Girl’ was also enjoyable, as was the lovely piece called ‘Just Like That’, written by Pasek & Paul. Whilst all of the voices were good, one did stand out and that was Alister Barnes. Alistair is a first year student, and I think the completion of his second year will be most beneficial in enhancing his stage presence and delivery.
It would have been good to see a bit more dancing (with choreography by Helena Moore and Michael Edge), however the program still had enough variety to cater to all tastes. Whether the weather was primarily a voice and movement showcase and we were offered a huge line up of songs, many from new musicals/works which made the show fresh and interesting.
The musicians, Dominic Woodhead on keys, Cody McWaters on guitar & Sebastien Hetzel on drums all played their part in bringing the performance to life.
The Australian Dance Performance Institute educates its students in all aspects of theatre: the students also did their own costumes, hair & makeup, media & design and props. Others gained invaluable experience in stage management, dance captaining, musical direction and artistic direction.
Overall, a snappy lively production, quirky costuming, contemporary, and certainly gave us a taste of the standard of ADPI’s curriculum.