Limavady Grammar School’s production of ‘Broadway Nights!’ snapped and sizzled its way through two sell-out performances at our very own Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre. This was an innovative production in many ways: Director Claire Gordon, Musical Director Derek Collins and Choreographer Zoe Kyte chose a black box theatre style production which show cased the absolute crème de la crème of talent which the school had to offer!
A clever selection of hits from contemporary Broadway shows was promised in all the promotional material – and boy, did they fulfil that promise! Vignettes from eight different shows delighted the well-informed audiences for nearly two hours, all carefully choreographed and staged for maximum impact, and sensitively accompanied by the accomplished band.
Talent from every year group was on display – and boy, was there talent! The innovative idea of overhead projection flipped and shuffled its way through billboards for each show, stopping at whatever production was due next. It surely kept the audience enthralled, and slowly we learned that photographs in the programme corresponded with the leads/duets in each highlighted show. From the atmospheric opening of ‘The Lion King’, the polished performance of ‘Mary Poppins’, and the stunning vocals of songs from ‘Wicked!’, the moving selection of hits from ‘Les Miserables’ rounded off a power house of Act One.
Act Two commenced with a choral finger-clicking rendition of ‘Razzle Dazzle’ which heralded a snazzy, jazzy and altogether classy selection of tunes from ‘Chicago’. Every foot in the auditorium tapped along, and I saw some rather cool shoulder shimmies in the rows in front of me! The audience were now enthralled, and the timely placement of ‘Billy Elliott’ and ‘The Letter’ switched the mood from euphoric to heartbroken.
After a stern reprimand from possibly the most revolting teacher ever (Miss Trunchbull – surely not based on any of the Grammar staff??!), we were absolutely blown away by the energy and fervour of the well-rehearsed revolting children of ‘Matilda’. A wistful and poignant ‘When I Grow Up’ brought all the cast together again, and tenderly reminded us that one never really feels completely grown up; sometimes the skill simply lies in acting like you are.
The audience needed little invitation to join in with the celebratory ‘Mamma Mia’ finale: every man, woman and child were on their feet at the end, cheering and applauding what has surely been one of the best shows in recent years. I overheard one gentleman remark as he left, “I didn’t know what to expect, but I wasn’t expecting that!” which seemed to sum up the sentiment of all who were fortunate enough to have witnessed this spectacle. Heartiest of congratulations to the production team – but especially to the amazingly talented young people who left us feeling upbeat, happy about life and thoroughly entertained. And you couldn’t ask for anything more than that!