This Is Me at The Hawth Crawley Review

24-25 July 2018

Reviewed by Louise Watts

I have been lucky over the years and have been able to see many big shows, but sometimes it is important to go back to basics and support local amateur talent as this is where everybody’s career starts and if these children coming through are not nurtured and praised then there are no stars of the future.

Yesterday evening, I took my 3 daughters aged 15, 13 and 9 to The Hawth in Crawley to watch a local performing arts school showcase their work. Stages Performing Arts are based in Crawley and have been performing for over 25 years.

I am no dance expert and therefore have no intention of commenting on technique or skill, but I have 3 dance mad daughters who have been dancing since they were 3 years old and I have therefore attended many dance shows, auditions and exams as a result of their talent, so I like to think I have some knowledge when it comes to spotting performers deserving praise.

The show opened with “The Greatest Show” from the fantastic “Greatest Showman” film. An absolute winner as an opener but slightly expected by the name of the show and to be honest I don’t think there will be a performing art show this year that does not have a Greatest Showman section.

The first act continued as it began… fast paced, incredible dancing and some amazing choreography. It was separated into sections including various musicals medleys and some pop music medleys. The costumes were bright and vibrant, and the dancing was varied and slick. The stars in the first half for me were Mollie Brackpool and Grace Graham as Alexander and Eliza Hamilton and Evie Brackpool (clearly a very talented family!) as Barbara Streisand singing “Don’t Rain on My Parade”. It is not surprising having heard Evie sing and seen her dance that she has earnt herself a place at Italia Conti in London… good luck Evie!

A show wouldn’t be a show without a bit of cuteness and this came in the form of a gorgeous little boy called Rowan Williams as Prince Charming in Cinderella. He was absolutely incredible and considering his young age, he coped very well on stage in front of the audience! His Cinderella was played by Mia Lawson who is definitely one to watch. Her energy and enthusiasm were immense, and her flexibility and dance moves were top notch. She has a very positive future ahead and she is going to cost her parents a lot of money – start saving now!

The first act lasted around 1.5 hours and was followed by an interval before the second act commenced. This opened with a colourful performance of Frank Sinatra’s “New York”. The fast paced, high quality continued with amazing performances again by the older girls in Made in Dagenham. I now want to go and see the show!

The stars for me in the second half were Mia Blackman with her rendition of “Wishing you were somehow here again” from Phantom of the Opera – she gave me goose bumps due to the incredible, heartfelt performance. Another star who is off to Italia Conti… good luck Mia!

Dharam Gill was outstanding during the beautiful ballet performance of “The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas” – a tale of children’s innocence during the holocaust. I have been to see the full ballet and the story is incredibly moving told through ballet. Dharam was an amazing dancer and has incredible talent, definitely one to watch!

The finale took us back to the Greatest Showman and an outstanding performance to “This is Me” – very impressive.

The second half was a little shorter but in total the showcase was around 3.5 hours long. I felt a bit weird watching a dance show where I didn’t know any of the children performing but it was an absolute delight to watch and there are some extremely talented children who have bright futures ahead.

The Hawth itself was perfect as usual, the bars were open for drinks and snacks which was imperative on a hot evening. The staff were polite and friendly and always on hand to help in any way they can. Parking was easy with a large onsite car park which is also free!

The Stages Performing Arts School are performing again tonight and I would encourage anyone with or without children who enjoys watching dance to head off and support a local cause, you will not be disappointed!

Rating: 4/5

Tickets cost £16

This Is Me is at The Hawth in Crawley from 24-25 July 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit hawth.co.uk or call the box office on 01293 553636.

The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, Sussex, RH10 6YZ | 01293 553636

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