Dunluce pupils hitting the HIGH notes

Dunluce School continues to earn a reputation for putting on spectacular musical theatre.  Last week saw the school’s talented pupils bring Disney’s hit production, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, to life in Bushmills.

Based on the smash hit film – which, on it’s release in 2006, became the most successful film Disney had ever  created – the stage version contains all the huge musical numbers and dance routines.  Although last week the parts made famous by the likes of Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens were performed by local youngsters such as Ross McAlister and Olivia Bell. 

Ross and Olivia played the lead roles of Troy and Gabriella, the star athlete at a small-town high school and a beautiful, brainy newcomer to the school.  They inevitably fall for one another – but in typical fashion the course of true love never runs smoothly and complications arise.  Complications such as Drama Club president Sharpay Evans (played in a wonderfully conniving way by Lauren McClenaghan) who also has her eye on Troy; and then there’s Troy’s basketball coaching father (Jacob Wren) who feels his son should be focusing on the championship game rather than the ladies.

Luckily love (and music of course) conquered all (with a little help from the jocks, the brainiacs and the other school cliques) and we all went home with a warm glow.

The show was a continuous parade of catchy songs, intricate choreography and fast talking.  It’s all the more impressive then, that the young actors were able maintain the fast pace – even when there were upwards of 50 characters on stage.  Much of the credit for that must go to the Director, Mr A McClarty, the Musical Director, Mr D Lutton, and choreographer Victoria Lagan.

Isaac Malcolm, who played Troy’s best friend, the well meaning (if a bit hapless) Chad Danforth, was appreciative of the support the pupils had received, “The audiences were great.  We had big crowds for each of the performances.  It really helps us on stage when we get a response like that.”

Mr McClarty was immensely proud of the pupils.  “It was amazing the way they came together as a team.  This was an ambitious project and I can’t thank the young people enough for the commitment they have shown.  They are an amazing bunch to work with.  Those on stage as well as those helping back stage.  It is a credit to these kids that they were involved in every aspect of the show – from the dancing to the lighting.”

“Dunluce has had a proud tradition of musical theatre.  We see it as a chance to give something back to the community.  That’s why I’m especially pleased with the number of primary school kids from the local area who came to see our matinees.  Maybe, just maybe we can inspire the next generation of musical stars.”