Anything Goes Sails to Success!
By Minna W, Year 10 Journalist Leader
From the 16th until the 18th of November, Notting Hill and Ealing High School set sail on a magnificent voyage aboard the SS American, travelling across the pond from New York to London on an ocean of madcap mishaps, music and romance! Cole Porter’s classic musical, Anything Goes, has long been a favourite of the West End, but premiered at Notting Hill as a
fitting celebration of the school’s 150th birthday!
NHEHS’s Anything Goes was a breathtaking musical and an absolutely incredible experience to be a part of. From the beginning of rehearsals three months ago, up to the performance, the cast and crew worked tirelessly to create a truly memorable piece of musical theatre. During the course of rehearsals, the cast members were swept from the 21st century to 1930s America, where they were transformed into hapless gangsters, notorious nightclub singers, lovestruck Wall Street workers and fresh-faced, young sailors, all ready to escape the boredom of city life and be set free by the excitement of travel. This show, with its mixture of energetic dance routines, complicated costume changes and a plot with more twists and turns than a roller coaster, presented many challenges, but, because of the endless positivity and determination that radiated from the cast at all times, problems that seemed as big as tidal waves soon became only tiny swirls on the shore. And of course, the story properly began to come to life with the building of the magnificent set that turned the school hall into a cruise ship! To others, this would be an extremely hard task, but the set team approached it with single-mindedness, creativity and skill, so Notting Hill’s assembly hall was gradually washed away to allow the SS American to come cruising in. But while the actors were strolling around the set, singing and dancing – the only part of the show that the audience were seeing – what was actually happening backstage?
One of the most important elements in this show was the costumes, which presented the lavish 1930s style of clothing that was the height of fashion during the time. The costume
department also had an extremely challenging job managing all of the costume changes in between scenes – as soon as a group of sailors came offstage from a dance, they would have a matter of seconds to transform into flapper girls draped in daring, showy materials, before dashing back on stage. The sheer amount of changes meant that the costume department had to be on top of everything at all times, but, as always, they executed every costume change perfectly. The costume team wasn’t the only department to experiment with the 1930s style – the hair and make-up team also explored using different techniques from the era in order to bring a sense of realism and style into the production, and adding plenty of glamour to bring it to life! All of the departments played incredible roles in the making of the production, transporting the audience from London all the way to a dusky bar in Manhattan, and then aboard an ocean liner. Of course, no musical would be complete without music. We were lucky enough to have an incredible band of professional musicians, who cooked up a storm with the jazzy swinging score. It was all given a professional touch by the amazing lighting team who added that sprinkling of West End glamour to the proceedings.
Altogether, this was a spectacular way to celebrate the 150th birthday of NHEHS and a voyage that is sure to sail on in our memories for many years to come.