Check out this fantastic review written by Mark Donalds from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association…
The Grunch – The Young Creatives Portsmouth
The Grunch is a fairly new musical, written for children and very much in the Seussical vein. It was inspired by ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’ and features lots of bright, toe-tapping songs and colourful costumes. Rudy Grunch is a grumpy outsider who comes up with a plan to sabotage the school musical by stealing their set, costumes and lights. As disaster looms, he sees the error of his ways and returns the stolen items, ensuring a happy ending for all.
A musical about a drama club staging a musical is a gift for a drama club staging a musical, because it’s all within everyone’s experience and, under Marie Amey’s clever direction, the Young Creatives presented The Grunch with enormous vitality and pizazz.
As soon as the curtains opened we knew we were in for a treat with the top-quality, brightly coloured set that could have come straight out of a cartoon. Vivid costumes and fantastic wigs, plus clever lighting completed the picture and from the first words we were assured that the cast would live up to the promise of a great show.
This is very much an ensemble piece with lots of opportunities for individuals to have their moment to shine, and shine they did! The script doesn’t establish character names very well, so I won’t single out individuals for praise in case I get the names wrong! The only exception I will make is for The Grunch himself, played by Harvey Hill. “Grunch, you’re a natural” was a line that struck home with me because his acting and singing were top notch. His performance was so natural and, apparently, effortless. He has great stage presence and is surely a name to look out for in the future.
That is not to say that the rest of the cast did not match up – they most certainly did. From the oldest right down to the littlest, they all displayed amazing confidence and style, totally engaged throughout and really bringing their characters to life. The singing was excellent, both during the solo and the chorus numbers, and the dancing and movement were well coordinated and interesting. For my money, the choreography was at its best in “The Train to Whoover” (rather reminiscent of “Rock Island” in The Music Man). It was extremely well executed, really crisp, with everyone keeping strictly to the rhythm of the train.
Sadly, microphone problems let the show down a little at times, meaning that some of the smaller voices could not be heard easily – especially when speaking from behind the proscenium arch – and I think some of the humour of the show was lost as a result. However this did not spoil my enjoyment of the show one bit – nor that of the very enthusiastic, capacity audience around me.
This was a great introduction for me to The Young Creatives Portsmouth, and I went home humming the songs and looking forward to being invited to the next production. A huge “Well done” to everyone involved with the show.
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