In the Heights

WAAPA In the Heights - photo by Jon GreenThe third year musical theatre students from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) opened their 2018 season with In the Heights. Full of big musical numbers and dramatically high octane dance routines this year’s cohort of exceptionally talented performers manage the production with professionalism and enthusiasm.

With music and lyrics by Broadway’s man of the moment, Lin-Manuel Miranda (his hit Hamilton is currently breaking records across the globe) In the Heights is a story set over three days, exploring the relationship between a Hispanic-American neighbourhood in Washington HeightsNew York City.

While not a Hispanic American cast these performers manage to radiate the latin American culture. As with previous years, director Crispin Taylor is able to elicit stand out performances from this capable group of third year students.

Andrew Coshan as Benny and Imogen Howe as Nina have a commanding presence onstage and give a powerful and convincing performance. You believe in them as a couple and give a cheer when they become more than friends.

Hairdressers Daniela and Carla, played by Stacey Thomsett and Elise Muley respectively, ooze the latino passion while their friend Vanessa, Prudence Daniel’s Latino rhythms command the stage and shine in the dance sequences while strongly supported by a talented ensemble.

Usanvi, played by Joshua Reckless does a convincing job as the rapping narrator and is required to perform some highly demanding rap lyrics. Maverick Newman as Sonny gives a notable performance providing the comedic relief with perfect timing.

Sezgin Aygun as Kevin Rosario and Amy Fortnum as Camila Rosario portrays the truly fiery latin American mother and father and  who sacrifice everything for their daughter Nina. Aygun’s solo Inutil and Fortnum’s performance of Enough is  full of passion and emotion. This cast are emotionally involved in their characters, which is echoed in their performances and reaches a climax in the act one finale Blackout.

Choreography by Jodie Bickle is full of the latin American passion and the production numbers 96000  and Blackout were performed with precision and energy required to produce the WOW factor. The band conducted by Craig Dalton had the percussion section led by Pavan Hari and Germaine Png working overtime as they assisted in producing the perfect latin rhythms.

A production full of energy and performances that are powerful and convincing In the Heights will have you dancing the latino beats as you exit the Roundhouse Theatre.

In the Heights
Roundhouse Theatre, Bradford Street, Mt Lawley
Performance: Saturday 17 March 2018 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 24 March 2018
Information and Bookings: www.waapa.ecu.edu.au

Image: The Cast of In the Heights – photo by Jon Green

Review: Craig Dalglish

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