Australian Dance Reviews

APO Arts Academy – Back in Business

Malthouse Theatre
December 2010

By Grace Edwards

APO Arts Academy’s “Back in Business” brought together its recent graduates in a colourful showcase featuring scenes from over a dozen musicals; more than enough variety to satisfy even the ficklest of audience members.

Opening with the overture from Victor/Victoria, the company sang and acted with enthusiasm, ably accompanied by a band directed from the keyboard by Laura Tipoki. Among the brightest moments of the night were the trio of women from Little Shop of Horrors, and the Melissa Harrington’s comic rendition of “Screw Loose” from Cry Baby.

Most of the performers moved well in the ensemble scenes, and dance proved the strength of the group. The dancers’ presentation of their steps was polished, but the core technique required to dance at an advanced level proved more solid in some scenes than in others, most likely owing to the varying talents of the different dancers onstage in any given scene.

The drama scenes were entertaining as the performers showcased their personalities and comic timing. Many of the singers possessed a pleasant vocal quality, although there were some pitch difficulties at times.

The students of APO Arts Academy are trained to be “triple threats”, and although talented, it would be harsh to expect every graduate from a full-time musical theatre course to excel in all areas. In order to find employment in musicals of the calibre of Mary Poppins or Hairspray, however, students need to excel in at least one area. Whilst the APO graduates were certainly competent enough in the three arts, some need to be careful not to become “jacks of all trades, masters of none” as this will not serve them well in the already saturated world of musical theatre hopefuls.

As recent graduates, the performers will likely improve their skills and presence with real world experience, built on the solid training they have received at APO. No doubt they will continue to mature and develop, and realise their great potential on the world stage.

Best wishes to the 2010 class of APO Arts Academy. I wish them the greatest success and thank them for an enjoyable evening.  APO always knows how to put on a show!

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