Junior Musicality: a sensational end to Ariel’s summer

Picture by Stephen Candy Photography
Picture by Stephen Candy Photography

It’s been a sizzling summer and Ariel’s annual Junior Musicality show, which celebrated the hottest hits from the musicals, was a scorching success at Crawley’s Hawth.

Bigger, bolder and more challenging than before, the largest ever Musicality cast included both students past and present.

Requiring vocal prowess and tight choreography, the show was packed with adventurous numbers. The students excelled and the extra work put in by their tutors really paid off.

Tackling current top West End musicals is always brave and the cast brought the house down with two hits from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton – the humorous ‘You’ll be Back’ sung by King George and the riotous rap number ‘My Shot’. Extremely wordy and fast paced, ‘My Shot’ also featured some great contemporary dance and a large ensemble. Similarly, a medley from popular new musical Bat Out of Hell had the audience cheering. Full of energy and with a large selection of students, which grew to encompass the full cast, it produced a great piece of Ariel rock history.

Just opened in the West End, revival show Heathers showcased the vocal abilities of a trio of senior girls whose acting through song was spot on as the sassy high school teens. Likewise, it was another female trio and their male counterpart who produced comic hilarity with their rendition of ‘You Could Drive a Person Crazy’ from Company.

It was a talented male trio who had the audience laughing to ‘Sincerely Me’ from US musical Dear Evan Hansen. Then they really took the emotions up a few notches with songs from Lord of the Rings and ‘Gethsemane’ from Jesus Christ Superstar.

Both pieces featured boys of all ages and it was great to see new talent coming through, with some of the younger students producing sterling performances in terms of both their singing and acting abilities. Ariel alumni Tom Ball’s portrayal of Jesus in Gethsemane left a lasting impression.

The development of Ariel’s younger students was clear to see in some great numbers including ‘Never Fully Dressed without a Smile’ from Annie, a funny medley from newer musical ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and a perfectly timed and extremely funny performance of ‘Bruce’ from Matilda. With moving school desks as props and real chocolate cake, poor hapless Bruce was forced to eat the whole dessert he had stolen from Miss Trunchbull. The intrepid school boy turned from zero into hero as his classmates encouraged him to defy the head teacher.

The carefully devised show also included some great solo performances and hits from The Greatest Showman.

Artistic director Nicci Hopson said: “Musicality week is always one of my most favourite weeks of the year. But each year it has grown bigger and I wonder if we can really pull it off in just one week. It is a true testimony to the dedication of our teachers and students who come together from all our Sussex Academies. They get straight down to work and through their professionalism, teamwork and talent produce a show that once again exceeds all expectations. I am so proud of all of you.”

Contributed by Ariel

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