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Moana Jr - The Holgate Academy: Review

Holgate Academy's first show since lockdown takes the audience to the village of Motonui in the Pacific Islands, as they recreate Disney's "Moana", complete with songs from the film.

The story follows Moana (Suzanna as the titular character), who sets off on a journey of discovery after finding a terrible curse in her village that is turning the coconuts black. Whilst on this journey, she meets the demigod Maui (played by Logan - complete with wig) who has problems of his own thanks to his broken magic hook that prevents him from shapeshifting.

One of the challenges that they must face together is giant crab Tamatoa (think Sebastian from the Little Mermaid, but scarier!). Such a big role required several actors to work together - with Harry providing the voice whilst Michaela, Jess and Daisy acted as the crab's claws. The costumes really helped to bring this fantastical tale to life, and a special mention must go to all of the teachers and sixth formers behind the scenes who got stuck in and made the performance one to remember.

The Chief Ancestors (played by Ellie, Cienna, Morgan and Michaela) act as narrators throughout the play, helping to move along the story and provide background on Polynesian cultures and beliefs. The production is filled with music, with the talented chorus performing big group numbers from the film such as "You're Welcome" and "Shiny", whilst dancers represented the ocean in dramatic scenes depicting Moana's voyage across the Pacific.

The cast and crew of Moana

Other actors included Ella as Chief Tui (who took on the role last minute - although we'd never have known!), Faith as goddess of nature Te Fiti (who had an incredibly quick change towards the end of the play), Annerley and Anabel as Moana's mother and grandmother respectively, and Hollie and Evie as Moana's friends Hei Hei and Pua. A special mention should also go to Ciaran, a member of the chorus who was still keen to take part (according to the teachers, he insisted on it!) despite breaking his leg a few weeks ago - taking the old saying too literally, perhaps?

Finally, the production would not have happened if it wasn't for the dedication and determination of Mrs Morris, whose relentless hard work helped to bring a slice of the Pacific Islands to a cold December evening in Hucknall. An excellent production that all involved should be proud of - Holgate continuing their tradition of high quality musicals, and I can't wait to see what they have to offer next year! Tom Morley, December 2022


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