Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Stories Without Words, the Performing Arts students' end of term Variety Show was a magical mix of audience participation and dance. Student Magazine ‘The Alternative’ Editor, Tom Brailey, formerly at The Petersfield School reviewed the show which ran over three nights. 

On the final night, a full house saw a fantastic mix of popular songs performed by the BTEC, Towards Independence and Pathways students who, through music and dance, chronicled the life of a couple from their first date onwards, and proved that stories can certainly go without words. 

Just before the doors were about to open, the foyer was filled with fidgeting, eager parents, interspersed with students running in and out of the dressing rooms, occasionally stopping to greet their mums and dads. The room had been steadily increasing in numbers until the doors finally opened, just after half past seven. As the audience bustled in, a shared sense of surprise hit them as they saw the layout of the stage. The Wessex Arts Theatre had been turned into a delightful mix of restaurant tables and chairs, waitresses, jugglers, dancers, illusionists and lights of all colours, flashing and passing over the audience as they began to sit down on the chairs that weren’t marked ‘reserved.’ 

One of the most striking aspects of the evening, aside from the dazzling mix of performers and psychedelic lighting, was the interactive nature of the show. Throughout the whole performance, the actors and singers came up and sat down next to grandparents and made small talk. Another surprising feature was the expansive catalogue of songs that the performers had under their belts. Their first number was Frankie Valli’s Can’t Take My Eyes off You which coincided with the protagonists’ first date. Frank Wildhorn’s This is the Moment was hastily succeeded by Yes! then by Gimme Gimme Gimme then by I’m a Believer and beyond. More modern songs such as Hozier’s Take me to Church were performed against the backdrop of a wedding chapel as the main characters got married. 

The interval sped by, and in the second half, similar to the first, there was a multitude of intricate and tightly executed dances coupled with songs ranging from nineties rock to seventies soul to modern pop. One scene featured a bright light against several white sheets that were draped from the ceiling of the theatre. The performers stood behind the sheets and mimed certain family-related scenarios, from childbirth to birthdays; the former scene was very amusing and garnered a roaring reaction from the audience.  

The performance ended with the staff and students thanking one another for all the hard work and effort that had gone into staging the performance. It was evident that this was the case as all the dances, songs, the precision with which each scene swiftly moved into the next, and the overall polished and perfected feel of the entire evening proved that all the students were professionals in their field, and that the evening's rendition of Stories Without Words was the perfect way to end the trio of performances.      

Tom Brailey - Editor, The Alternative 

Click here to find out more about studying Performing Arts at Alton College.