High School's own take on musical

Sophia 'Unga Cribb sings her heart out in Whanganui High School's performance of Once On This Island.
PHOTO /  Bevan Conley

"Disappear please cast members, I shouldn't see you. You wait patiently."

Head of performing arts at Whanganui High School Colin Hedivan spots some of his cast members peeking out from behind the stage curtains.

The hall is blacked out and silent.

A scattering of students sit in chairs throughout the room, waiting in anticipation.

A stage light flashes on, the gentle tapping of drums plays through some speakers and suddenly, the actors hit the stage in a clash of vibrant colours.

"We dance", they sing in the first laid-back tune of their production Once On This Island and for the next hour, they do just that.

"They've been working on this since the beginning of term one, so this is their 14th week," says Hedivan.

"I believe it's the first time a high school has produced a show which is currently showing on Broadway, which I think is pretty cool."

This is the final run-through for performers, before the production opens on Thursday, May 3 and runs for three nights in a row starting at 7pm in the school hall.

Once On This Island

was recently nominated for best revival on Broadway at the Tony Awards and has been running for about six months.

At its heart, it is a love story and focuses on Ti Moune, a peasant girl guided by the Gods to the other side of their island to help the man she loves.

"Ours is a junior version, the one on Broadway is a full length which runs for about 90 minutes, our version has about 30 minutes of material cut out from it," says Hedivan.

"It still has all of the same characters, really it has just cut out some of the numbers."

Sophia 'Unga Cribb is fantastic as Ti Moune and this is realised early on when she belts out the first solo performance of the show - her chemistry is strong with Nathaniel Kirk, who plays Daniel.

But everyone plays their part, the choreography is great, everyone remembers their lines perfectly and the lighting is used to brilliant effect.

"Rehearsing a musical is always a fascinating process, we go through music rehearsals, choreography rehearsals and then we put it all together and it's a huge team effort," Hedivan says.

"Everybody was fantastic today, they're pumped once and they're ready to perform it in front of an audience now."

Tickets cost $10 and can be bought at Whanganui High School.

By Jesse King
Wanganui Chronicle 3/5/18

Ti Moune, played by Sophia 'Unga Cribb & Daniel, played by Nathaniel Kirk do a fantastic job as the leading love interests in the musical. Photo/ Bevan Conley

Ti Moune, played by Sophia 'Unga Cribb & Daniel, played by Nathaniel Kirk do a fantastic job as the leading love interests in the musical. Photo/ Bevan Conley