FIRST REVIEW IN! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Literally both of us just burst in to tears 😭
Taking the lead role of Dewey Finn in this production by Cre8iv Theatre Company was Chris Higgins. A hugely charismatic performer, Higgins proved to be a superb choice for this role. Having seen the latest professional tour when it came to Manchester's Palace Theatre last June, I can say, hand on heart, that Higgins outshone their Dewey easily. Here Higgins presented a fully-rounded and believable character, and his journey was measured and sympathetically played; unlike the professional actor who hammed the role up for all it was worth, becoming mono-dimensional and abrasively OTT. Not only that but Higgins was a super singer too, hitting all the high notes (of which there are many) with Rock-style perfection.
Higgins was aided and abetted by a sturdy group of adults, most of whom make small or cameo appearances throughout. The only other adult who really stands out in this show is the Principal of the school, Sam Duffy. Here this role was taken by Rosalee Mullins. Again, a nicely measured performance saw her change almost imperceptibly at first from stiff and aloof to a more relaxed and happy ex-rock chick as she warms to the childish charms of Dewey. Her solo in the cafe 'Where Did The Rock Go' was one of the show's highlights.
This show however, belongs to the children. A class of young prep school students who have to change from upperclass nerds through understanding, acceptance and warming to Dewey (each in their own way) to "rockers" in the space of the evening, and all need to be excellent all-rounders: acting, singing, dancing, and playing at least one musical instrument, is a prerequisite for them all. Where could such a cast be found? Well, I don't know the answer to that, other than to say, found it was, and these youngsters were absolutely brilliant! Easily holding their own with the professional cast I saw last June, these youngsters, a couple as young as 9 years old, simply outshone the adults, quite rightly stealing the show.
Tilly Musson was a superb choice for the bossy 'manager', Summer; Liza Brady's 'Amazing Grace' as Tomika was simply, well, amazing; Summer Gracie and Charlotte Hardcastle both impressed and their guitar-playing knew no bounds; Mia Gislow (at just 11 years old) played the keyboards as if she was born to do so; and young Freddie Butler as Freddie Hamilton absolutely knew his way around a drum kit! Fun was had with the two 'backing singers' Shonelle (Heidi Dawson) and Marcy (Caitlyn Maclean), bopping and singing with glee working well together; whilst a couple donned sunglasses and looked suitably 'Blues Brothers-ish' as they played 'security' (Armenia Kishmishian and Madison Whitham). Together with several others playing ensemble and smaller cameos within the class, the entire team of 'Demon Rascals' are deserving simply of the highest praise.
John Smith - Number 9 reviews Blogspot.com