Sadly, a much delayed start due to a car accident meant that I was only able to catch the first half of this ‘end of term’ showcase … So, apologies, in advance, to any performers who were in the second half of the show if your piece is not mentioned.
In four short years, this ambitious children’s stage school, ran by the enthusiastic Amy Barr and Lorna McIlwaine, has not only staged many productions and showcases for its pupils, but has also provided its members with the opportunity to perform and compete in prestigious venues and competitions in London, Paris and New York … a much under publicised good news story in itself.
In addition, many of the children are working their way up their respective Grades in such disciplines as singing, dance, speech & drama and music.
This year’s event, introduced by fast-rising country music star, Cliona Hagan, featured performances from the company’s base in both Belfast and Downpatrick, with contributions from both Junior and Senior sections.
There were good extracts here from such shows as Oliver! (Where Is Love?), Les Miserables (Castle On A Cloud), Mary Poppins (A Spoonful Of Sugar), Annie (Easy Street and You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile), Wicked (One Short Day), Gypsy (Let Me Entertain You) and the title song from Singing In The Rain plus confident renditions from the young performers from Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid and Mr Wolf.
I was very impressed with the quality of diction in the Junior Academy’s presentation of The Gingerbread Man and in the short piano solo spots by three very young but competent players.
For me, the stand-out extracts were Transylvania Mania from Young Frankenstein and The Jitterbug from The Wizard Of Oz for their combination of singing and movement and the excellent Seasons Of Love from Rent for the sheer quality of its choral work.
Based on this, I was sorry to have missed the second half of the concert which was to feature the company’s International Show Choir and extracts from both Waitress and Hamilton.
Belfast Voice & Dance Academy (BVDA)
Stranmillis College Theatre, Belfast
Saturday, 10 June