Central students provide enchanting 'South Pacific'

Friday, March 26, 2004

"South Pacific" was energetically brought to life by Central High School students Thursday night.

From the opening scenes of the musical there was a sense that the actors were enjoying themselves and that attitude spilled over into the audience, who were applauding at every chance.

Even the background, with the bright green palm trees and constantly changing set pieces, was vibrant.

Of course, this being a musical, and a Rodgers and Hammerstein one at that, it's the songs that matter most. And what songs they are.

Famous standards like "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" and "Some Enchanted Evening" were performed amazing well by these students.

It is hard to remember sometimes that these students are not studying at a school for the arts, but had to put in hours after a long school day to get these performances down.

The fact that some of these young actors can go and belt out these songs with some ease is a credit to their talent and their future.

One of the highest points of the night was the appearance of 20 high school guys on-stage, dressed as Seabees, sailors and Marines, and singing and dancing in unison to "Bloody Mary" and "There is Nothin' Like a Dame."

OK, so the dancing may have not been entirely in unison, but their scenes were full of such fun and energy that it is really hard to find fault with them.

Quite a few of these guys had never been on stage before, but it was hard to tell that once they got going.

Two characters that provide the share of comic relief during "South Pacific" are Bloody Mary, played by Catherine Moreton, and Luther Billis, played by Clayton Hill. Both actors did a wonderful job with their roles and managed to deliver the laughs.

Hill has a real sense of comic timing and the sound and inflection in his voice were made for the stage.

Moreton proved she can be funny -- with her attempt at a Polynesian accent -- and sing, with the haunting "Bali Ha'i."

As for the lead female role, you couldn't have asked for a better Nellie than Sarah Goeke, whose voice is so clear and bright that you would like to hear her sing all night. Not to mention the solid acting skills she exhibited. It is easy to see Goeke's going farther with her talent in the future.

The other lead roles of Emile, played by T.J. Bishop, and Cable, played by Clay Schermann, were also impressive. They were both able to provide a more serious side to the performance and deliver strong vocal solos.

All played their parts well, though, from Paige Pritchard and Mason Loy as Emile's children (pretty impressive French on their parts) to the nurses backing up Nellie, to the school's orchestra, which managed to provide the backbone of that famous, wonderful music.

Everyone involved with "South Pacific" made sure that it was quite an "enchanted evening."


335-6611, extension 182

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