The award winning WBOS Youtheatre were formed in 1987 and perform two full musical shows every year in May
and November at the Dormston Mill Theatre in Sedgley. Earlier this year the company performed Bring It On! and their November 2019 production is All Shook Up, a new show for Theatretastic.
All Shook Up is a 2004 American jukebox musical with a book by Joe DiPietro. The musical premiered on Broadway in 2005 and ran for 213 performances. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and set to the catalogue of Elvis classic hits, All Shook Up follows a small Midwestern town that is rocked with the arrival of Chad, a handsome motorcycle riding musician. The town is ruled by a tough conservative Mayor but everything soon changes with Chad’s rock ‘n’ roll influence and his gift of music.
Director Ben Cole has created a production packed full of energy and charisma. The rock ‘n’ roll choreography by Claire Flavell made each musical number memorable as the ensemble dived into each routine with passion and precision. There are wonderful dancers in this company that are captivating in the ensemble numbers. I always love shows where you can see that the cast are enjoying themselves and this company appeared to be having the time of their lives performing the routines in this show. This feeling was also conveyed by the Midlands Concert Orchestra under direction by Musical Director Oliver Bennett as the Elvis classics were performed with heart and soul.
There were some outstanding performances in this production by the principle cast, so many so it’s hard to capture all the fantastic moments that I enjoyed. Some top highlights came from the charming, cool leading man Joe Simmons as Chad. Simmons gave a slick professional performance as he commanded the stage with his natural stage presence and wonderful vocals. Our leading lady was Holly Page as tomboy mechanic Natalie Haller. Page was outstanding in this fun role and her vocals blew me away, especially in her rendition of Fools Fall in Love.
The comedic role of dentist Dennis was played perfectly by charismatic Luca Marandola as he had the audience laughing as Chad’s geeky sidekick. Tia Rose McDonald had fantastic stage presence and sass in the role of Miss Sandra, the woman who captured the hearts and attention of the men in the town. Every show needs a villain and All Shook Up had strict conservative Mayor Matilda Hyde (Molly Duckhouse) and her silent sidekick Sheriff Earl (James Bratt Wyton). The comic duo were great as the stern force of order in a town full of rebels.
I adored the performance of If I can Dream by Jessica Sennett (Lorraine), Will Foggin (Dean Hyde) and Joe Simmons (Chad). Sennett and Foggin had wonderful chemistry together, achieving excellent harmonies throughout all of their musical duets. There was also wonderful chemistry between Sylvia (Jess Millinchip) and Jim Haller (Tom Rantell). Special mention has to go to Rantell who has a wonderful tone to his voice and both Millinchip and Rantell gave superb vocals on the night.
This was our last amateur dramatics production of 2019 and what a memorable production it was. The stage was packed full of high quality talent from the principle cast to the ensemble dancers. All Shook Up was one of my favourite amateur dramatics productions of the year and I can’t wait to see what 2020 holds for this talented youth company.
We say: “This production had us “All Shook Up” as WBOS Youtheatre deliver a fantastic memorable night at the theatre!”