Having spent months rehearsing in separate year group bubbles, as well as a period of online rehearsals last term, it was an exciting week for all involved with this year’s senior musical. The filming of the show had finally arrived; and just like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, song after song slotted together to reveal a most splendid production of this year’s senior musical, Les Misérables, masterminded by its director, Mr Lodge.
Here, Mrs Lynsey Buhagiar reviews the show:
“As the Creative Team of Mr Lodge (Director), Mr Johnson-Hyde (Musical Director) and myself (Choreographer) set out planning and preparing for this year’s musical it was clear that what lay ahead would not be like any production experienced before.
As with so many things this year, the challenges of Covid-19 have meant that the determined cast and crew had to show great resilience, adaptability, and creativity in unprecedented circumstances.
September brought with it positivity, and a hope that a full-scale production would be possible at some point in the year. Alas, it was not to be.
The talented cast were not to be deterred and on return to face-to-face teaching at the end of the Lent Term they rallied with renewed enthusiasm to create a staged concert version of the musical instead. The cast quickly set about re-blocking each musical number in preparation and as the filming began one couldn’t help but be impressed by the passion shown by all involved.
The dress rehearsal threw up yet more hurdles for the cast through illness and injury. However, as the lights came up in Big School, the opening notes of the Prologue swelled and the chain gang of convicts took to the stage, it was clear that nothing was going to stop them producing a performance of the highest quality. Never has the saying ‘the show must go on’ been more apt.
Tuesday saw the filming of the larger musical numbers where, thanks to the professionalism of Mr Mark Bishop and Mr Keiran Kerswell, the whole cast was able to perform while still maintaining social distancing – with the various shots being seamlessly edited together in post-production.
The week continued with Wednesday evening’s filming of Act One where the U4 ensemble captivated as the poor of the Paris streets, before raising a glass in Master of the House. The simple staging, pared back movement, and superb characterisation beautifully enhanced the talented cast’s engaging musical performances. With spine-tingling solos from Alan Yin (F), Barney Fildes (P), Maddie Fairbank (M), Bea Digance (Rv) and Tom Bulmer (F), and the comic stylings of Ben Kersley (H) and Sophie Norman (Wh) whisking us through Act 1.
As we entered the final session of filming on Thursday evening it was the Fifth and Sixth Form who transported us to the Barricades for Act 2. Heart-wrenching performances by Ariana Menassa (Rv), Amber Roberts (Wh), Katie Evans (M) and Toby Lodge (C) drew us closer to those closing poignant moments and as Do you Hear the People Sing? rang out for the final time, the lights went down on this year’s musical – a triumph by all involved, in a year like no other.
The show is set for digital release on 28 May and a link will be sent out via The Brief.