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Review: Stewards Academy are the champions with fantastic a production of We Will Rock You

Education: Secondary / Tue 26th Mar 2024 at 07:36am

STEWARDS Academy produced a sensational version of West End smash We Will Rock You at the Parnall Road school on Monday night.

This was the culmination of five long months of hard work. By the time this run ends, they will have put on five performances in three days of a two hour show.

Doing We Will Rock You is very risky. These are Queen songs, sung by Freddie Mercury. One of the greatest rock singers of all time. If you don’t have really good singers, then this is going to be a disaster.This..was..a..triumph!

Stewards were blessed with some remarkable singers. Within the first ten minutes, Lena Cichonczyk as Galileo produced a confident and passionate “I Want To Break Free” and this was followed by a rousing Somebody To Love by Grace Dell.

They both commanded the stage and after the first twenty minutes had the audience in the palm of their hand.

Grace was also a fine comedy actress with a great line in sarcasm.

Each actor made their part their own. From Cian Sensoy’s Matrix like menace as Kashoggi to Harleigh Kirton as Buddy who also sang a very touching “Days Of Our Lives`’.

But we don’t want people to feel this was a series of fine individual performances. A lot of credit goes to the singers and dancers that made up the Yuppies. They had a vital role to play on stage and in the audience. They never put a foot wrong.

But we return to the subject of singing. Logan Spry produced a top quality version of Killer Queen, all leopard skin evil as she commanded the stage and the song.

Credit at this point must go to Director Abbie Martin and her team. You could tell that over the last five months, the pupils have learned a huge amount about stage craft. You could also see from the detailed programme that many of the performers held back stage roles as well. That is going to help them a great deal in the future.

These were singers, who got the songs. You can’t recite Under Pressure. You really have to live that song on stage and again, Lena and Grace did that.

As the show progressed, they were ably assisted by a great double act in Brit (Hayden Lawless) and Oz (Ruby Ball). They both brought such energy and verve to Want It All and Headlong and Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Ruby is a fine rock singer and Hayden really commanded the stage.

It was good to see a live band play, so thank you to Julia Lysons and her team. The upside is that the student performers learn the discipline of performing with a band on stage but in a completely different way than when they are part of a band. The only challenge is trying to get the sound balance right.

The production culminated in two great versions of We Are The Champions and, of course, Bohemian Rhapsody. We have to repeat, that performing Queen songs is very ambitious but these singers were so good.

The finale was a joy. The audience gave them a very well deserved round of applause and standing ovation.

And finally, they all looked like they were enjoying themselves. This was ending at close to 9pm on a Monday night and they had already put in two performances. They probably hadn’t slept and you know, they are going to put in two performances again.

Their joy and pleasure at being on stage was noticeable with an infectious enthusiasm. Each actor made each role their own.

This reviewer remembers hearing Seven Seas of Rhye on the radio as it made its way up the chart in 1973. The Stewards Academy production of We Will Rock You harnessed the quality of their work by producing a timeless and outstanding piece of musical theatre.

Well done to each and every one of you.

We Will Rock You continues through to Wednesday. Curtain up at 6.30pm. Tickets on door.

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