An praising review of King Alfred’s Academy’s locally acclaimed annual school production.


This year’s show was “High School Musical: On Stage!” based on a Disney Channel original movie written by Peter Barsocchini. It was a heart-warming rendition of an age-old classic film from the 00s. Full of life and full of laughs, this musical truly encapsulates the unity and friendship between both the characters and the charismatic cast, led by Troy Bolton (Harry Barrett) and Gabriella Montez (Melissa Wagg), and directed by Heidi Moreton.


The evening of Friday 24th March, curious people filed into the hall, and were immediately wowed by the eye-catching stage, decorated with red and white splashes of school spirit and the iconic “Wildcats” logo. The hall had a cosy atmosphere all around and felt extremely welcoming. The live band’s dynamic start immediately ushered and encapsulated the crowd from the very first chord, and set a high bar that was hit out of the window by the end.


The play was an engaging love story that began on New Year’s Eve, where the two protagonists fell in love at first sight, joined together by the power of song in a beautiful karaoke duet. Fate then brought them back together when Gabriella joined Troy’s at ‘East High’ in Albuquerque as the ‘genius girl’. The chemistry between the actors was palpable. After this, the romantic comedy bounded forward with a plethora of toe-tapping tunes, conducted by Musical Director Sarah Mullington. The music was of professional standard and I had to remind myself that I was listening to students; stunningly gifted musicians, a feeling that was shared with the audience.


It was a coming-of-age narrative, tender teenage romance, full of incredible throwback outfits and heartfelt vocals from the whole cast. But Sharpay’s jealousy of the destined lovers, especially after their unexpected call-back for the Winter Musical, created tensions. The couple went against the status quo, so the basketball team and science nerds banded together and broke them apart.


All the actors truly embraced the highs and the lows, from brutal truths to upbeat school spirit. And Mrs Darbus (Milly Dinsey) provided an engaging bit of comedic relief when bickering with Coach Bolton (James Kent). The call-backs were sneakily changed to a busily problematic time; however, Troy and Gabriella’s friends helped them to still do call-backs. The iconic “We’re Breaking Free” was an emotionally motivational crowd-pleaser, with lots of eye contact and visible adoration!


All’s well that ends well. And tonight certainly did, with a movie-perfect ending: Gabriella won the science decathlon, the wildcats won their game, and Sharpay even congratulated Gabriella for her and Troy’s winning call-back!  


The finale song “We’re All In This Together”, had the crowd and cast celebrating in perfect harmony. This remarkable retelling was an uplifting and optimistic message saying that anyone can follow their dreams, and to never give up. It was an unmissable night of enthusiastic and genuine spirit that had the crowd whistling and clapping like crazy!