The Kelly Critics is a joint program of the Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh CLO's Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musicals, in which students at Kelly schools review musicals at other Kelly schools.
The moment I walked into Central Catholic High School I felt the energy and excitement of their opening night. Parents, friends and extended family members swarmed the entry way all slowly being shuffled into the theater escorted by student ushers, dressed in tuxes, of course.
As these wonderful boys showed us to our seats I took a good look around the theater to take it all in before the show began. Minutes later I heard the orchestra begin to tune their instruments, then before I knew it the lights lowered and the curtain slowly rose. I had never seen “Spamalot,” but I aimed to come into it with an open mind to absorb the humor of the famous Monty Python.
This show is extremely difficult to execute because it isn’t common that high school age kids have quality comedic timing, but thankfully the majority of the cast nailed it. Nathaniel Yost, who played King Arthur, executed comedic timing superbly. Another aspect the cast excelled in was energy. Everyone on stage was glowing. Maybe it was just the excitement of opening night, but I hope it lasted their entire run.
The ensemble was exquisite and did the choreography with such vigor you could tell they had worked countless hours to perfect it. They were all in unison and I have to mention the outstanding boys of the show. That they were able to do an all-boys dance number in a high school show is something I deeply envy. It wasn’t as if they were just doing step touches, they mastered pirouettes, jumps, and even tap!
While I’m raving about the ensemble I might as well mention their beautiful harmonies and the way their voices blended together to make the songs sound just right.
Although there were many upsides to their production some of the blocking was confusing and made scenes unclear. I lost some of the smaller characters’ lines because of mumbling and dropping the ends of sentences. I would have loved to hear the things they had to say if only they had said them more clearly.
Above all what truly made the show a lot of fun was the audience participation. During the entire musical not only was the audience laughing in just the right places they were rewarded towards the end by some true involvement when they brought an audience member on stage because the holy grail had been hidden under their seat. This comic sketch was the cherry on top of the rest of a wonderful show.
After bows the actors flooded into the lobby to meet their families and friends, knowing they completed their first show and it went swimmingly.
Reviews are edited by senior theater critic Christopher Rawson. For more high school musicals coverage, go to http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/theater-dance/ and scroll down.