Review by: Deirdre Rambo for the Southern New Jersey CAPPIES
ELMER, N.J. — Arthur P. Schalick High School’s entertaining production of “All Shook Up” — which ran February 27 through 29 — promotes “A Little Less Conversation” and a lot more excitement! “It’s Now or Never” to enjoy this delightful mix of drama, love triangles, and humor.
Featuring hits by Elvis Presley, “All Shook Up” is a jukebox musical with a story written by Joe DiPietro. It follows the intertwining romances across a small town in the 1950’s. Their lives are quiet until the rowdy roustabout Chad shows up and turns the town upside down with the power of music and love!
With energetic choreography and masterful comedic timing, AP Schalick’s “All Shook Up” left a constant smile on my face. Along with the period-appropriate costumes and set, the actors had an understanding of what they were saying that helped cement the realism of the setting. With all the loose ends tied up at the end, I felt the happiness of the characters through the actors’ portrayal.
The leading actors all fit their characters perfectly. The duality of Molly Wood as she played both Natalie and Ed was impressive. Her voice and mannerisms were distinct as both characters, even when she sang, such as in “A Little Less Conversation” as Ed. Chris Crawford Jr. as Chad was funny and charming with an amazing voice showcased in “Follow That Dream” and “Jailhouse Rock.” There were moments when the staging was distracting as Chad directed many of his lines to the audience, but this often added to his comedic timing.
The supporting characters and ensemble matched the energy of the leads the entire show. Tayla Evans as Mayor Matilda was perfect at making me dislike her with her attitude, and even better at changing my mind to like her character in “Devil in Disguise.” The townspeople also deserve a mention. Lizzie Vastano, one of the barflies, caught my attention in every number with her energy and engagement. The ensemble seemed to shine in songs with more of a story element. It seemed as if in certain dance numbers, they lost their characters altogether and focused more on the difficult choreography than their facial expressions. Despite this, each member of the ensemble perfected the choreography with sharp, precise movements.
The tech in this show was simple, but effective. The use of light on the walls to create the illusion of prison bars in “Jailhouse Rock” was very creative. The pinks and reds used as mood lighting in a few scenes created a warm atmosphere. The lack of live music removed some immersion from the otherwise lifelike set and environment, and there were some microphone issues which were distracting at certain points. Overall, these were minor issues and never detracted from the energy and pure fun that “All Shook Up” provided.
With a range of funny and quirky characters portrayed amazingly by the students at AP Schalick, “All Shook Up” is perfect for a night of entertainment. With twists and turns at every corner, this show was a lovely experience that left me feeling “All Shook Up”!
Deirdre Rambo is a student at Overbrook High School.
The CAPPIES is an international program with Chapters all over the U.S. and Canada centered around celebrating High School Theatre, bringing it into the limelight much like all the high school sports teams and their highlights each week. The program is run by a group of students from each school called Critics. All Critics travel from school to school to see a performance of their play or musical. After the show the Critics write a critique. These critiques are submitted to the mentors and advisors where they are proofread and the top articles are selected for publication. The top review is published here. The 2nd & 3rd placed reviews were written by Sarah Nicell of Delsea Regional High School and Vanessa Macias Of Lindenwold High School respectively. Those reviews will be posted on the CAPPIEs of SNJ Facebook page and our website https://www.cappies.com/snj.