I am an Adelaide based writer, passionate about sharing fun and interesting experiences, with a particular focus on live theatre.
Creative Academy of Performing Arts develops a Crush
For several years, Adelaide based performing arts school, Creative Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA) have been fostering the development of talent in dance, vocals and musical theatre, providing opportunities for hundreds of students to broaden their skill-set and confidence. Forming part of this is the performance of a musical performance to a public audience, and after the sold-out success of Heathers the Musical (School Edition) at the Adelaide Fringe 2019, this year sees CAPA return to the Fringe, with their production of Crush the Musical, their opening night appropriately coinciding with Valentine's Day.
Georgia Slater (left) and Georgia Sandford (right) as lead roles, lovers Camilla Faraday and SusanSmart, respectively. Photo sourced from Adelaide Fringe website.
Crush the Musical is a comedy with music and lyrics by Kath Gotts and book by Maureen Chadwick, and documents the lives of several students at the Dame Dorothea Dosserdale School for Girls, in 1963. Previously the school had fostered free spirits and values, but when the new tyrannical headmistress arrives and strives to enforce her strict Victorian values, everything changes for the worst. This change directly influences two girls who fall in love and are accused of "unnatural behaviour", and have to learn how to deal with being the target of such enforced values.
This production has both good and bad aspects, but overall, the production required significant work. Though director Judy Sampson blocked the show in ways that are inventive, clever and make sense, Courtney Sandford musically directed her four-piece band to sound polished, choreography by Chloe Hall, Jordan Hatswell and Madeline Shields was fun, inventive, lively and relevant to particular music genres, especially in the Navy Nicks song, complete with tap dancing and a "kick line" style dance routine with hockey sticks, the acting and vocals was, for the most part, poor and flat. While Jordan Hatswell gave an exceptional and faultless performance as Brenda, the ostracised nerdy school kid, teacher's pet and spy, complete with a thick Scottish accent, other actors need to work on their delivery to show more emotion and more precise portrayals of thoughts and motivations. In particular, Georgina Clough as the headmistress Miss Bleach could benefit from a slower walk and delivery of dialogue and a greater command of the stage and voice. For the performance reviewed, this reviewer wanted to hate the headmistress from the beginning, but there never came a time where this was possible, as the portrayal was far too casual and as such, Miss Bleach could not be taken seriously.
In short, whilst it was nice to experience an unfamiliar musical with content which is still relevant today, unfortunately on this occasion, it was hard to develop a crush which lasted.