Stage

REVIEW: Strive the Musical

The cast is made up by members of the local Homespun Youth Theatre

Strive the Musical

Theatre at the Mill

The Theatre at the Mill looked warm and inviting on a dark, cold and rainy night and so it was. This is a lovely space, rich red seating and very long red plush curtains.

So you just sit back and relax but then you sit up, the excellent band strikes up loud and strong and the excitement builds. The Mill is celebrating their tenth anniversary season with this new show, Strive The Musical by Pamela Cassells-Totton, Mark Dougherty and Brigid Shine and directed by Michael Poynor.

The cast is made up by members of the local Homespun Youth Theatre with some familiar adult actors taking the senior roles. Strive Academy is for wannabes, tuition in acting, dance and music and if they do well at the end of term show and please the industry professionals in the audience there's a chance they will graduate to a prestige theatre school in London.

The teenagers of Homespun are indeed talented and the ensemble pieces zing along and the music rocks with a heart beat pulsating between scenes. We begin to build up a picture of the boys and girls, the little romances, the jealousies.

The set is excellent, three big walls with projections of London, the West End, the Houses of Parliament, a recording studio, a library and every now and again we see the band in full flow.

There were many teenagers in the audience and they cheered and whooped and it was refreshing to watch a show that was just joyful. It was part Fame, the 1980 film, but in the end it was more A Star is Born when Adam (Robert Hamilton) writes a diploma winning song and drags Corey(Neve Hutchinson) to the middle of the stage to sing with him.

A word about Ava Gallagher who plays Corey's little sister, remember that name. Such a young cast with school to contend with means limited rehearsal which shows sometimes but enthusiasm carries everyone along and 10 students get their diplomas. As Shakespeare once said, "all's well that ends well".

:: Runs until Saturday February 22, 7.45pm nightly, Sunday matinee on February 23 at 2.30pm. Box office 028 9034 0202 or save £1 per ticket by booking online at: theatreatthemill.com

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