Starring BLOC the Junior Ensemble
Mix passion with lots of energy, and you get Camp Rock a classy musical production by BLOC juniors performed at the Founders Theatre last weekend. Director Joshua Vucicevic, so ably assisted by choreographer Brad Martin and musical director Vicki Rowe brought out the best in a large cast of 60 young artists. It is difficult to single out individual performers for the praise they deserve, as this is truly a team production, with plenty of top soloists, both male and female, and an excellent ensemble. Based on two popular Disney TV movies that were vehicles for Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers, we re-visit comfortably familiar themes of puppy love, teen rivalries, and summer camp hijinks. Camp Rock is light on script and full of clichés, heavy on music, almost all of it forgettable.
But the talent is so great that you really can’t go past this for entertainment. It’s pure joy for cast and audience alike. Basically the flimsy plot concerns a retired rockstar (Brown Ceserio ( Tiernin Somers) and his ex group member Axel, ( James Wait) who run rival music camps and battle it out on live television to decide whose is better. There is a teenage romance between Mitchie, a talented driven girl, and Shane, teenage member of an already successful rock group, Connect 3. And that’s enough to hang the show on and provide the vehicle for 16 songs in a couple of hours. Chloe Morehouse (Mitchie) and Jacob Nolan (Shane) were both excellent as the two leads while James Catterson (Nate) is terrific alongside Lily O’Shea as Dana. This is especially noticeable in the song “Introducing me” in the second act. Kudos to Adele Hertog (Tess) and Oscar Wilson (Luke) their portrayals of the selfish stars of “Camp Star” provided light humour and, again, they were excellent. Alex Mulcany ( Jason) and Emily Beggs (Rosie) also impressed as did Jasmin Robinson.
All up an excellent cast with no real weaknesses and the band were also impressive. Marc Sinclair’s set was simple but very clever and lighting was good. On opening night sound could have been better but that was undoubtedly a temporary glitch. This is a show by young people for young people It was terrific fun and well done BLOC for encouraging so many talented youth in our community. Bring on Mary Poppin’s next year.