Welcome to the Stage One Youth Theatre
This website is all about a Portsmouth
based youth theatre group who perform once or twice in a year
at Ferneham Hall in Fareham. The group have performed many famous
musicals, a list of which can be seen in the 'Past Shows' area
of the website.
Please feel free to roam the website and find out
more about this theatre group!
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
October 31st, November 1st, 2nd 2019
Cats, Ferneham Hall, Fareham
The future of local theatre seems
assured if it’s in such capable hands
Youth theatre has been known
to strike dread into my heart; semi-talented youngsters giving
semi-talented performances directed by semi-talented directors
and choreographers. Not so for Stage One Youth Theatre at Ferneham
Hall with Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s unforgiving Cats. Unforgiving?
Those songs are not an easy sing; Lloyd-Webber is a master of
his art and expects his performers to be the masters of theirs.
How does this group, average age around 13, cope? Extraordinarily
well. Accompanied by an orchestra, they conquer all. It’s
not perfect but it’s up there with some of the best adult
non-professional stuff I’ve seen. Jacqui Ivemy (director)
and Matt Newman (choreographer) have played to the company’s
strengths – and this company has strengths a-plenty. Performance
of the evening goes to Brandon Cable-Rogers as Gus, the theatre
cat; a studied, minutely-detailed performance worthy of an actor
many years his senior. He even dances, impressively in character,
in the finale. And on the subject of dancing, Charles Clark,
take a bow. His solo during Magical Mister Mistofelees garnered
applause before he’d even finished – and well deserved.
Nice work, too, from Milo Baker, Siobhan Carroll, Zoe Elliott,
Isobel Griggs and Eden and Hope Hillier-Smith. Excellent vocals;
excellent movement. The future of local theatre seems assured
if it’s in such capable hands.
Published: 09:55 Friday 22 February 2019
Cats – Stage One Youth Theatre
Date – 21st February 2019
Director – Jacqui Ivemy
Musical Director – Dennis Brombley
Choreographer – Matt Newman
Venue – Ferneham Hall, Fareham
Type of production – Musical
Wow! No, that’s not enough, I’ll say it again,
bigger: WOW!!! It’s not often that you leave a theatre
feeling exhilarated, but this was one of those rare occasions.
The tremendous energy, vitality and enthusiasm of this young
cast just flowed across the footlights to the very receptive
audience, in one of the most impressive productions I’ve
seen in an awfully long time.
Cats, based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s
Book of Practical Cats” is one of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s
longest running musicals. It has no plot to speak of, is sung-through
(so no dialogue either), has some fiendishly difficult lyrics
and music for the cast (and orchestra) to master, and performances
from theatre greats like Elaine Paige and Betty Buckley to
live up to. What a challenge! But Stage One took it in their
stride and, thanks to firm direction from Jacqui Ivemy, inventive
and detailed choreography from Matt Newman, they emerged triumphant.
This was the first time I’d seen Cats and what an introduction
it proved to be!
Take a big bow Wardrobe Mistress Bethany Baker. What a fabulous
picture you conjured up with the costumes and wigs. Praise
too for the Havant and South Downs College students for the
makeup – it’s a major undertaking to achieve a
different look for every member of this huge cast (40+), and
they all looked fantastic. A great set and magical lighting
completed the picture. The sound was crystal clear –
vital when there is no dialogue – and the orchestra,
under the assured baton of Dennis Brombley was perfectly balanced
and never overwhelmed the singers.
Every single member of this huge cast played their part to
perfection. The singing was top-notch with ultra-clear diction.
Characterisation was superb, and was well maintained throughout
the show – everyone was doing something interesting
even when the focus of attention was elsewhere. The dancing
and movement had obviously been very well rehearsed and Matt
Newman’s intelligent choreography gave each cast member
the fluid, graceful, athletic movements that we associate
I debated whether to single out individuals for praise because
the show as a whole was so good, but there were some exceptional
performances that I’d like to mention briefly. Hope
and Eden Hillier-Smith were a remarkable double-act, Mungojerrie
and Rumpleteaze, exuberant and full of confidence. Charles
Clark gave a mesmerising and balletic performance as Mistoffelees
– what a superb dancer and such stage presence! Milo
Baker ably demonstrated his rich singing voice and vocal dexterity
as Old Deuteronomy, and Isobel Griggs brought thoughtful characterisation
and a beautiful singing voice to Grizabella. Jack Edwards
gave a spirited and charismatic performance as Skimbleshanks
and Brandon Cable-Rogers totally nailed the character of Gus
the Theatre Cat, wringing every last ounce of emotion from
the song and staying in character to the very end. I’m
just sorry I can’t mention everyone – you were
An enormous amount of effort had obviously gone into making
this show, both on stage and behind the scenes. Great attention
to detail had been paid to characterisation, diction, singing
and movement during rehearsal, and this has really paid dividends.
Stage One, you should be mightily proud of this incredible
production – I look forward to seeing how you can top
it with your next show!
Mark Donalds NODA SE District 10 Representative
Stage One Youth Theatre has been nominated
for this year's NODA South East Regional Awards for their
2018 production of West Side Story
Stage One now have Spurge guns, crates and
props for hire for your production of Bugsy Malone
See the Splurge Gun Hire page for more information,
photos and a video of the guns in use.
Don't forget there is an Stage One Youth Theatre
group on Facebook.