By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
St Michaels University School
3400 Richmond Road
The St Michaels University School Summer Music Intensive program never disappoints. Every year, for the past decade, at least, the team here have put on a show as part of the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival and in the past several years I have been attending, I enjoy seeing new talents rise. This year has been a record year: Twenty-five students enrolled. I noticed one member going over the script and perhaps helping fellow cast-mates with when their cue is coming up.
This year, a Disaster! The Musical is in the making. This play paid homage to 70s disaster flicks and the all the calamities that take place had to be fully imagined than recreated for the stage. This production is high school level at best. No budget exists to recreate tsunamis, earthquakes and killer bees in a grande scale. The students get to switch roles per show, so each of them come out feeling more rewarded in showcasing their talent. No standouts exist this year. They were all equals in my mind. Memorable numbers include “Still the One” and “You’re my Best Friend.”
The humour in this production is terrific. I grew up watching most of these disaster films from that time and the next decade. Earthquake (1974) is the most recognized, but I still keep Airplane! (1980) in a special place. This story takes place on a floating casino royale just waiting to fall apart. When other people realize the danger of where this resort is laying, nobody but Scheider is going to pay attention that it will one day sink. When it does, people believing they will soon die start to reveal all. Sordid secrets and other love affairs are revealed. But the ultimate question is: will they survive?
I love how this program stays contemporary. They seek out shows which allow all the students to shine instead of a group. When considering the venue is outside of Downtown Victoria, I suspect not everyone is keen on taking the time out to venture into lower Saanich. The smaller auditorium allows for an intimate show, and this fact is appealing to me.
In the future, I hope Bat out of Hell, the musical will be made available for other troupes to perform. Perhaps in a few years time, it will. Right now, the official show is touring and I am sad they are not coming anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.
4 Stars out of 5