Review: An outstanding production
In a word, the 350th gala concert, which ran over two nights at The King’s Hospital School, was spectacular. In a year peppered with commemoration events, the KH community did itself proud as it took to the stage to celebrate its past and look to the future. It did so in breath-taking style.
From the first beat to the final bow – the audience was captivated as the story of the school unfolded in a musical extravaganza that gave life to an imaginative storyline with unabating energy.
This was no ordinary event. If it was a season, it was spring. It was packed with buds bursting into bloom and colour as dance troupes and musicians brought the transformed sports hall to life.
Against the backdrop of a full-size screen, a graphics display was carefully woven into the fabric of the show – subtly matching images and video with performance to recreate history and tell the tale.
With strong performances from an array of past pupils including actors Michael Glenn Murphy and Gary Cooke and baritones Rory Musgrave and David Corr, the 625-strong audience was riveted from beginning to end on both nights.
The lighting was right, the acoustics impeccable and the attention to detail outstanding – three centuries of exquisite costumes added to the vibrancy while sometimes the simplicity of a troupe in plain black or white equally hit the mark.
Historical events were commemorated – with tributes paid to the students who fought and died in the two world wars, the famine was remembered and diversity was celebrated.
The 125 students who took part were the icing on a cake layered with music of all kinds, including choral, rock, pop and sean nós.
In a grand finale, the students, with a little help from some younger KH community members, raised the roof with a powerful rendition of A Million Dreams from The Greatest Showman.
As the show came to an end, headmaster Mark Ronan took to the stage. He spoke about students and teachers coming together “to create something memorable, energising, engaging and emotional”.
He congratulated and thanked everyone involved in the event – paying particular tribute to the students, creator and director Kerrie O’Reilly, musical director Helen Roycroft and choreographer Rebecca Daly.
He said: “I may only have been here for three months, but I cannot tell you how proud and privileged I feel to be part of the KH community. I have been uplifted, I think we all have, by what has been an outstanding production.”
Photographs: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography