Shine theatre school shows titled “it’s our generation” and “time to shine”, in Wales Millenium Centre dance house, were two fantastic shows that demonstrate what ‘Shine’ the company was all about. Every cast member, including the little ones, performed fantastic dance routines, great vocals and entertaining acting schemes. On top of this, every child was visibly having fun on stage which made the show enjoyable to watch. To start with I watched the youngest performs in “time to shine” and I have to say it was great to see a group of children who are so confident on stage. Having to perform in front of a large group of people is very daunting but these kids aren’t fazed in any way, in fact, there were able to show that many of them possess star quality which will lead to a bright future in the performing industry. The highlight of this first performance was “Bikini Bottom Boogie” which was a fun dance routine from ‘SpongeBob the musical’ which was very cute and fun to watch.
One of my all-time favorite films is School of rocky with Jack Black but I have yet to see the full musical version in the west end. One of the pure acting scenes, during the older casts show, was a scene in School of Rock where Mr. Schievely discovers his boring class can play musical instruments and tries to convince them to play rock music. The role originally played by Jack Black was played in this version by Lily Fudge who delivered an even more excitable and hilarious rendition of the character. Lily suit the role perfectly and landed each and every one of the comedic moments in this scene. Also, the role of summer, originally played by Miranda Cosgrove was played by Evie Thomas who performed it perfectly as up-tight, posh ‘goodie-two-shoes.’ However, One of my favorite comedy musicals is Spamalot and this show had one of the greatest songs from the musical. ‘The song that goes like this’ is a parody of the musical genre which is hilariously funny. The two performers who covered this song were Anais Bryan and Katie Higginson and while I feel as if they may not have fully understood some of the jokes about musicality and comments on love songs, had the audience roaring with laughter. It was really nice to see this number performed with a big ensemble which only goes to show how Shine feels about showcasing each and every member of their shows.
Also from a choreography standpoint, the structure and dance moves used in “I’m a believer from Shrek” were fantastic. They had the children split into two groups and performed incredible dances alternatively which was really clever and fitted the structure of the song but was also performed gracefully and elegantly.
From a directorial perspective, it was great to see that every child got a chance to showcase their skills and talent which was fantastic and I can imagine would be great for any of the parents in the audience. The performers in the second show took a little time to warm up fully but once they did it was fantastic. What was very interesting about this space in the dance hall was that it was almost a complete blank set. There was one long projection screen as a background and this allows the creative team to project sets onto the screen and easily and effortlessly change the scenes from song to song. This worked amazingly but I probably used different pictures for backgrounds as most of them were blurry which was only made worse as it was stretched to fit the screen also I would probably choose different pictures to be more atmospheric and appropriate for the scenes they are needed for. Similar to this , they had created a nice presentation of pictures for old shine shows and events. This was really heartwarming to see how far the company has come along in its five years.
A brand new concept that I had never seen in done by a theatre school was the use of shadows. During a number from the musical six, six of the girls were dancing behind the projection screen which backlights cast onto them which created a shadow on the screen which the audience can see. This was unique and a contemporary idea that I had never seen done by a theatre school before which worked incredibly and made the show, unlike any show I have ever seen before. On top of this the six girls play Henry’s eight ex-wifes played by Lauren Grant, Jessica Fudge, Romy O’Hara, Rachel Morris, Amy Grant, and Emily Mardon performed fierce choreography that was incredible and beautifully strong (which is doubly incredible as ‘six’ is about female empowerment and this choreography matched this perfectly which was a genius pairing by the choreography team of Hannah Williams and Seren Cummings.) Another fantastic part of this show was the costume for the heathers scene. The three girls who played the heathers who were Jessica Fudge, Rachel Morris, and Amy Grant had almost perfect costumes that looked almost identical to the costume worn by the west end which was fantastic to see. But also the actresses who were playing the heathers were perfectly in character all the time they were on stage which not only shows their talent but also their professionalism.
This show contained one of the most moving renditions of “you will be found” from “Dear Evan Hansen” sung by Luc Jones with support by Hope Cuthbert, Seren Davis, and Amelia Tobin among others, I have ever seen and it almost had me in tears with its heartfelt acting and incredible singing.
Overall, this was a fantastic family show that showcases not only what Shine does as a theatre company but also the talent of each and every cast member. I would rate this show 4 out of 5 stars and would encourage everyone to keep an eye out for Shine’s next show Madagascar the musical as its one not to miss!