More than 100 talented high school pupils put on a barnstorming performance of Broadway classic Guys and Dolls.
The high energy production by the students and staff of Ysgol John Bright in Llandudno celebrated 10 years of shows on the stage at the prestigious Venue Cymru.
Seventeen-year-old Tomos Bohanna, from Colwyn Bay, who took the role of Nathan Detroit made famous by Frank Sinatra in the film version, dreams that his experience will lead to a career on the stage.
The Year 12 student chose to join the sixth form at Ysgol John Bright because of its outstanding record in drama and music and he has revelled in playing the New York gambling ‘fixer’ who juggles organising illegal dice games with stringing along his long suffering fiancée Miss Adelaide (Katie Haywood).
He said: “I’ve always loved performing and I chose the sixth form at John Bright’s because their drama department has a fantastic reputation.
“I have always dreamed of appearing in the West End and to have the chance to be on stage at Venue Cymru is a great experience.”
His sparky performance was brilliantly matched by Katie Haywood and that of the other couple of the story, legendary gambler Sky Masterson (Tom Roberts) and the straitlaced holy roller Sarah Brown (Lilly Street) who falls for him, all three Year 11 students.
It was a wonderfully vibrant show and the ensemble pieces on the stage had a real air of spectacle about them – from the very start with a buzzy, bustling opening – while the main characters all turned in extraordinarily mature performances.
That Runyonland musical opener set a pace that continued through the evening with some of the highlights Katie’s Bushel and A Peck nightclub number, Sky’s Luck Be A Lady and Sit Down Your Rocking The Boat from Euan Butterworth, playing Nicely-Nicely Johnson with relish, as well as a jazzy tap dance from Bethan Seaman while Lilly Street’s voice soared through all her numbers.
The 15-year-old from Rhos on Sea is another with ambitions to study Music and Drama and she said: “I did find it quite a challenge because the songs are very high for me, I’m not usually a soprano.
“But I’ve grown in confidence since the start and I’ve loved playing here at Venue Cymru. I loved the atmosphere and performing with all my friends, especially as this was my first starring role and all my family were here.”
Alongside her Katie Haywood, also 15 and from Rhos on Sea, said: “I’d love to go into acting. I’ve been in every show since Year Seven and I flew from the ceiling in Boogie Nights in 2017.
“I love old musicals so this was right down my alley and the songs and music are great.”
Tom Roberts, 16, from Llandudno, a very cool Sky Masterson, said: “He’s a gambler and a real larger than life kind of character so he’s nothing at all like me.
“I’ve been in every show since Year Seven as well and I get a real buzz out of performing on such a big stage and in a theatre like this.”
The performance was a real team effort with music teacher Daniel Sajko leading the orchestra which included students while other pupils worked with the lighting and as stage hands.
Head teacher Ann Webb enjoyed it too and said: “This has been a brilliant opportunity to be on a big stage and as a school we are incredibly lucky to be able to do this.
“It has been a culmination of 15 weeks of hard work and effort and we’re very proud of them all.
“We even have students supporting with the lighting and scene changes backstage and they have to train up their successors before they leave so that this wonderful experience can continue.”