Tate, The Fairyland Hero

What an awesome production! Every single seat in the house was sold for the inaugural Middle School musical production this week - Tate, the Fairyland Hero. The first night’s audience was witness to the ‘world premiere’ of a show written by music teacher, Mr Edwin Randell and brought to the stage by the boys in Years 4-6. Every single boy had a part to play, whether it was as a lead, part of the chorus or a ‘techie’ role behind the scenes - and the combined effort was a truly outstanding, toe-tapping musical production!

Like all good fairy stories, this one had its fair share of good and evil characters with twists and turns in the plot. The story played homage to every well-known story book character throughout the ages and the chorus was packed with personalities as wide ranging as the Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Seven Dwarves, the Gingerbread Man, Red Riding Hood and Puss in Boots, to more modern day characters such as Cruella de Vil, Mickey Mouse and Shrek! The costume and makeup department were very busy prior to the show!

The opening number, ‘You can be bold, you can be free, you can be what you want to be’ assembled the entire cast on stage for a roof-lifting song to set the scene. Such was their enthusiasm, it soon became clear that despite their young age, these boys were going to deliver a very strong vocal performance!

The plot unfolded through narration from the Fairy Godmother (William McLachlan) who sat to the side in ‘her’ rocking chair reading from a fairy story. William played this slightly cantankerous role well, making demands on her stage audience to make her comfortable before she would proceed!

The show’s namesake, Tate, is a young boy who fell asleep mid-story to find himself caught as a ‘dream walker’ living out his imagination. Ably played by Benjamin Graham, whose strong vocals and characterisation shone through, Tate found himself on a ‘mission’ to save Fairyland. His first encounter with the folk resulted in a fantastic rapping song, ‘Yo everybody in Fairyland’ that gave a number of solo performances to individual performers. Once again, this song, so suited to the age group, is a reflection of Mr Randell’s talent as a writer and understanding of just what appeals to boys!

We were introduced to Gaspar (Leo Van Druten), Giuseppe (Regan Nash) and the Witch of the East (Jack Sandelin) who, falling on the side of evil, were hatching a plan to overthrow the King. Jack, in his role as the Witch, revisits the stage a number of times and plays the role superbly with just the right amount of wickedness! With the spell, ‘Statueratapus Freeziamus’ cast, the first act ended with every good character turned into ….a fruit tree!

Tate escaped the spell as it had been his turn to hide in a game of hide and seek but with the spell cast on his new found friends, he had some quick thinking to do to work against the forces of evil. The characters of Cruela de Vil (Charles Wilkes), Dr Ulbelstein (Charles Swain) and the Ugly Sisters, Esmerelda (Jack Webber) and Grizelda (Akash Mudaliar) combined superbly with the Big Bad Wolf, One-Eyed Sailors, Trolls, Rats and Bats to bring malice to the land. Tate, meanwhile, worked on a double cross. Realising that the fruit on the trees was tainted, he brewed up a punch. Dressed as the evil Abanazer (the genie from Aladdin) to gain an audience, he proposed a toast to their wicked plan and as they imbibe, each evil character collapses from the poisonous punch – all but one. The Witch is too quick and turns Tate into a donkey!

As with all good fairy stories, the bad undoes at the end! This time it’s magical brownies that revert Tate to a boy and an ancient chant ‘Azar bahnecktah loowha’ sung as a round by the cast that restores wrong to right!

Congratulations to all the boy in Years 4-6 for a truly fantastic show!

Our thanks to Musical Director, Mr Edwin Randell, who can be justifiably proud of the show he has written; Producer and Director, Mrs Carolyn Williams; Vocal Trainer, Mrs Mary Jones and the rest of the Middle School staff for the work taken to bring this show to the stage. Our thanks also to the many parents who lent their expertise to make this such a success.

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