Taking you back to school

By DAVE MAHONEY

School Dance is on at Centrepoint Theatre until April 29.
School Dance is on at Centrepoint Theatre until April 29.

THEATRE REVIEW

School Dance by Matthew Whittet

Centrepoint Theatre

Director Darlene Mohekey

Ends April 29

Cast your mind back to your very early teens and your first school dance. Was there excitement, nervousness, doubt, terror, a fear of rejection or a combination of all or some of those elements?

Well, this is an 80 minute tale of three socially inept teenage lads facing down the challenge of their first school dance. And if their experiences, recreated on the boards here, resemble yours, I hope you've survived any medical or psychological intervention your parents may have sought to straighten you out.

Actors Kyle Chuen (Matt), Andrew Paterson (Jonathon) and Chris Symon (Luke) are the school friends who embark on their exciting/terrifying journey of discovery to reveal themselves to be losers and tossers who, thank Buddha, by dance end evolve into winners.

Their chemistry and timing are perfect and they skilfully and athletically capture the essence of their young characters as they deliver their script with crisp freshness.

These blokes can dance too and the audience finds itself toe-tapping and mouthing the words of the familiar hits of the day.

When there's a school dance there have to be girls, right? Well, there are at least four - there could have been more, I lost count - and they are so very different it's difficult to grasp that they're all delivered by one actor, Bronwyn Turei.

Her exceptional and skilful performances - and exhausting quick changes - are a delight. So good.

There are some other stars in this classy production. Ian Harmon's set and costumes for a start. There is a breathless cycle race with the terrible trio peddling at full tilt. A technical triumph that added another element of class to this production.

The sound and lighting are major performers too, and played their parts and sharply took their cues to perfection.

This is a quality theatrical team effort from Centrepoint and one all concerned with can be proud of.

(If you don't take too kindly to the taste dry-ice can leave you with, ensure you sit near the back rows.)

- Manawatu Guardian

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