The show follows tomboy Natalie who works as a mechanic at her dad’s filling station and who dreams of riding off on her motorbike with the man of her dreams. Into this sleepy town rides leather-jacketed, guitar-playing, ‘bad boy’ roustabout, Chad who introduces his wild rebel music to the downtrodden townsfolk. Chad breathes new life and awakens a spirit of romance into the town, starting a chain of events that includes mis-matched couples, mistaken identities, star-crossed lovers and unrequited passions.
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After many misunderstandings with much confusion and hilarity along the way, all ends well, the right couples end up together and the town once again can enjoy music and passion.
Liam Murray was a masterful Chad, playing the lead role with absolute assuredness. Liam brilliantly captured the agony and ecstasy of Chad’s journey to winning his love and led the audience through the peaks and troughs of his emotional rollercoaster ride to “true” happiness. Liam brilliantly portrayed Chad’s love for music and passion and the audience willingly followed him as he worked to bring life and love back into the tired and loveless town.
Abby Cockburn, as the other lead, was simply stunning as Natalie, the lonely and pure-of-heart mechanic who instantly fell head over heels in love with Chad. Unimpressed with Natalie’s “grease-monkey” character, Chad rejected her advances. The story followed Natalie as she transformed into the roustabout’s sidekick, Ed, a plan concocted to convince Chad that Natalie was the girl for him. While on her journey as Ed, Natalie learned a lot about herself and realised in the end that she was chasing the wrong dream. Abby masterfully portrayed both characters with poise and assuredness and won the audience over with her charming humour and innocence. Abby sang beautifully and with a poignancy at times that added to the drama of the character’s confusing journey to true happiness.
Liam and Abby both demonstrated a remarkably mature ability to move the audience through their singing, with their solos and duets totally convincing. The chemistry between the two leads was so strong the audience reacted with tangible happiness as two learned to “follow their dreams” and live life to its fullest.
A group of very talented principals provided wonderful support to the leads. Lewis Phillips played nerdy and sweet Dennis with great aplomb, easily forcing the audience to immediately take him to their hearts and root for him to finally be noticed and truly accepted. So convincing was Lewis, the audience cheered with appreciation when he found love with Miss Sandra, rekindled his loving friendship with Natalie and finally felt accepted by Chad. Lewis had the audience in fits of laughter throughout but had moments where he delivered genuine heartfelt emotion, such was his outstanding portrayal of the popular character.
Kimberley Bryans played Miss Sandra, the “hoity toity” curator of the town’s museum who turned the heads of many of the male characters. It was Ed (Natalie) who caught her attention and the audience loved watching her hilarious pursuit of the unattainable character. Miss Sandra, an incomer to the town finally found a kindred spirit in Dennis, as their mutual love of Shakespeare brought them together in the end. Kimberley’s comic timing was apparent from the start and had the audience in fits of laughter throughout.
Kym Crawford was wonderful in her portrayal of the strong, opinionated Sylvia, owner of ‘Sylvia’s bar’ the town’s local hot spot. A lonely woman, Sylvia tries hard to convince everyone that life is better served alone but she is caught off guard when she finds herself falling for Jim, Natalie’s dad. While she had the audience laughing at her quick-witted humour it was her more vulnerable moments that really captured the crowd in particular as she led the cast in their powerful rendition of ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love with You’.
Jim, Natalie’s father, was skilfully played by Stuart Coombes. Still grieving the death of his wife, Jim is struggling to move on and enlists the help of Chad to help him win the heart of Miss Sandra. In his amusing and somewhat pathetic attempts to be ‘cool’ Jim, eventually realised that he was chasing a lost cause and eventually sees that his true love was under his nose the entire time.
Star-crossed lovers, Dean and Lorraine, were perfectly captured by Daniel Smith and Elizabeth Hendrie. Two young lovers, each from the wrong side of the tracks, managed to find a way to be together, with the support and encouragement of Chad. Their hilarious version of ‘It’s Now or Never’ had the audience in stitches and they cheered as the couple were eventually accepted in this complex town.
Caitlin Steven’s awesome portrayal of the stuffy Mayor, Matilda Hyde was appreciated from the very outset. Her nasty treatment of Sheriff Earl and her precision comic timing were hilarious. Caitlin was given the opportunity to strut her stuff in her catchy rendition of ‘Devil in Disguise’ and her powerful voice received rapturous applause from the encapsulated audience.
It was the mute Sheriff Earl who received one of the loudest cheers when he finally found his voice towards the end of the show. Expertly played by Taylor Porteous, Earl had spent most of the show following Matilda around much to the audience’s amusement. His public declaration of love for Matilda was heartfelt and the audience cheered as he stood up to her and put her firmly in her place.
A chorus of almost 30 other young people brilliantly supported the lead characters. Each and every member of the chorus contributed so much to the success of the show, their energy and charisma shining through. The Chorus: Heather Gardner, Clare Millar, Keith Calderwood, Niamh Cowie, Chloe Macfarlane, Elise McLelland, Taylor Porteous, Sophie Taylor, Morgan Gibson, Ethan Leggett, Lauren Rankin, Caitlin Steven, Eilidh Burnett, Sarah Chance, Stuart Coombes, Emma King, Chloe Magee, Rachel Murray, Lewis Phillips, Daniel Smith, Kimberley Bryans, Abby Cockburn, Kym Crawford, Elizabeth Hendrie, Liam Murray and Kate Reid.
The imaginative sets, linked with the colourful costumes helped recreate the atmosphere of mid-fifties America. The lighting and special effects matched any professional production. And, the Clyde Valley band simply held the production together.
‘All Shook Up’ was undoubtedly a triumph for the school, adding to its reputation for performing shows of outstanding quality.
Much of the credit for the success of the show lay with the Production Team. Mrs Stefanie Chalmers and Mrs Debbie Taylor worked tirelessly over many weeks with the chorus and the principals. The creative Stage Direction of Mrs Valerie Livingstone and the choreography of Mrs Claire Ferrie delivered a wonderful show.
Mrs Anne Traynor, as Musical Director, masterminded a show that clearly demonstrated the enormous musical talent in the school.