StreetDreams was performed by second-year BA Musical Theatre students (Friday/Saturday evening cast) from the Guildford School of Acting at the Ivy Studio, Guildford.
Drawing Guildford School of Acting’s summer 2014 season to a close was the world premiere of StreetDreams, an entertaining yet serious ensemble show with book co-written by Bob Tomson (who also directed this production) and Allan Swift, and an inventive pop score by Brian Spence.
The musical follows a group of council estate street dancers, ‘the Crew’, in their bid to win the StreetDreams dance contest and its associated prize money, having been persuaded to enter by a filmmaker who wants to chronicle their progress for his documentary. Their strongest competitor comes in the form of ‘the Students’, members of the local college dance class led by former professional Sarah. Adding to the tension, Sinead, previously the Crew’s best dancer, successfully auditions for the college class at the beginning of the show, while one of the Crew’s male members becomes embroiled in a love triangle with two of the Students.
The cast of second-year students from Guildford School of Acting’s BA Musical Theatre programme showcased a wide spectrum of talent in their production of StreetDreams, a piece that evidently presents significant demands for both individuals and the ensemble.
Spence’s songs feature many densely layered harmonies in the group numbers for both the Crew and the Students, as well as artfully deploying offstage cast members as backing vocalists for the solos. Over the course of several mesmerising dance routines, Jason Pennycooke’s choreography expertly differentiated between the Crew’s authentic street dancers and the classically trained Students who merely turn their hands and feet to street, and even threw in moments of tap, ballet and Bollywood for good measure.
Tamsin Pollock as Sinead executed her various dance routines with unswerving panache, finding a worthy match in Martine Kosberg’s impressive performance as Portia, with whom Sinead competes for the solo spot in the college class. The Crew’s Lily Stone and Teyah Lee made a fantastic onstage double-act, as did Alice Fletcher and Ailsa Davison, who excelled as besties turned love rivals Natalie and Fliss.
Other fine acting turns were provided by Joshua Price, who grabbed the audience’s attention even from the back of a busy stage, and by Runar Runarsson, Samuel Ring and Benjamin McMillan who were endlessly captivating as three larger than life judges. Samantha Thomas delivered consistently strong vocals, and Tone Ollestad was both graceful and authoritative in the role of dance teacher Sarah.
Guildford School of Acting’s production of StreetDreams perfectly realised a previously unknown show that pits the privileged against the poor and the nurtured against the naturals. Its absorbing story, with many unexpected twists, kept the audience on the edge of their seats from start to finish.