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College Beach Blanket Tempest

August 08, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Imagine if you will a 1960’s beach movie. Now take a sideways leap to Shakespeare’s classic play, The Tempest. Take catchy, all singing, all dancing 60’s style pop songs and combine with rhyming couplet dialogue in homage to the Bard and the result is this year’s Middle School production, Beach Blanket Tempest!

In the original Tempest, Shakespeare examined the relationship between a Duke called Prospero and his evil, jealous brother. The brother steals Prospero’s fortune then abandons him on an island with his daughter. Whilst marooned there, Prospero practises magic, raises his daughter and releases a spirit from a tree. He also meets another ‘island resident’, the son of a witch.

So, take this as the premise but jump forward 400 years!

Now we meet the central character of this year’s show, ageing Duke of Rock n’ Roll, Vince Prospero (Isaac Samuels) who is also stranded on an island by his evil brother, Tony (Liam Braithwaite), with only his sweet, bubbly daughter, Annette (Ashley Potter) for company. Vowing to seek revenge for the wrong doing and put life back in order for Annette, Vince summons up Gidgit (Isabella Denholm), a bright and quirky, freewheeling, genie who longs to be set free to surf the world. The only other resident is an ingratiating, delinquent punk bikie, Moondoggie (Sam Elliot) who was stranded on the island when his mother ‘stood on a stonefish and died.’ Moondoggie is full of attitude and would like to woo the lovely Annette but Vince will have nothing of it. Sam gives a superb performance in this role, especially when he delivers up an aggressive rendition of ‘The Rebel in Us All’ with mindless acts of vandalism.

The island is also filled with ethereal beings including wind, sea and tree sprites who link the scenes bringing the stage to life with movement and colour. The leads in the chorus line up are the six main dance roles (Rachael Lewis, Emily Peart, Sheridan Bennett, Emma Porter, Greer Ritchie and Erin Meek) who are to be applauded for their skilled dancing and the many costume changes required to take on each new characterisation.

With a promise to eventually be set free by Vince, the endearing Gidgit willingly whips up a tempest to bring Tony and his cohorts to the island for Vince to exact his revenge. Tony arrives with Regine (Emily Young), queen of the fashion world who believes she lost her only son in the storm and her ‘daggy’ sister, Sebastiane (Georgia McLeish) who is just a little vacuous and resigned to living in her sister’s shadow.

Regine’s son, Frankie (Kurt Hawkins) has not drowned. Vince has other ideas for this handsome, soft-hearted individual and so he and Gidget engineer a meeting between Frankie and Vince’s daughter, Annette - with instant ‘star-crossed lover’ results. A symbolic wedding, 60’s style, takes place as the lovers are serenaded by all-girl band ‘The Supremes’ clad in startling pink satin!

And so to revenge. Vince sets up the ultimate test, in the form of a game show to reveal his brother’s true evil character. This is where the show steps up a notch! The larger than life Reverend Ian Harpy, an over-the-top evangelist game show host sweeps through the audience to whip up game show fever. ‘Tony Prospero, come on down, will you take the great temptation?’ Hannah Lamberton is larger than life in this role which she clearly relished playing. Tony, Regine, Sebastiane and Moondoggie face off in front of the heckling ‘studio audience’ as they are initially offered their greatest desires and then learn they will only win if they kill the other three. As Tony draws his gun exposing his true, evil nature, he declares ‘I’m not going to let any of you come between me and my destiny!’ At that precise point, Elvis look-a-like, the Duke of Rock n’ Roll, Vince Prospero himself shimmies on in and takes the floor in a rousing scene that sets the audience toe-tapping - and Gidgit the fun-loving spirit is finally set free.

This year’s production brought a cast of almost 50, a 14 piece orchestra and a 50 strong technical crew together under the guidance of Director, Mr Dave Sheehan; Producer, Mrs Katrina Farquaharson; Singing Director, Oliver Gilmour; Dance Director, Miss Clare Jennings; Orchestra Director, Mr Kristian Holmes; Production Technician, Glen Mortensen and Costumer, Ms Sarah Whinham. We thank the staff for their huge commitment in time to work with our Middle School students to bring such a great show to the stage.

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