Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

Gold stars all round for class act

All girls together: Sarah Cotter, Jess Ingram and Jodie Hopwood  are standing firm, while Karrise Willetts stretches her legs. 

St Trinian's – The Musical

Highbury Youth Theatre

Highbury Theatre Centre, Sutton Coldfield


THIS is a brave and heart-warming production in which director Jane Mason has coaxed the best out of her youthful charges – and their best has been produced because they have given it their all, sometimes against cruel odds in a world in which it sometimes seems there is no justice.

They ensure that St Trinian's retains its tearaway reputation by devoting themselves to the task of stealing a priceless picture – The Last Brunch – which they hope will stave off the bailiffs for a little while.

Pigtails are not in evidence, but the skirts were clearly produced during a shortage of material and the indomitable spirit which Ronald Searle inculcated into this doughty emporium of little learning lives on.

And yes, this is the musical version. St Trinian's comes a-trillling, to pleasing and often amusing effect.

There's a cast of thousands. Well, nearly. Thirty, to be more or less precise, and the teamwork that is the feature of the show is clearly in evidence.


Karrise Willetts, pouting perfectly, makes Sarah an irresistible reminder of Posh Spice, Jess Ingram is a bundle of energy as Becky, and Millie Farrelly scores appealingly as Trixie.

James Cutajar is an understandably frustrated quizmaster, and Greg Hayes is Samuel, the staff member who cannot resist the manly charms of headmistress Camilla Fritton, played with show-stealing confidence by Roddy Lynch. Their Love is in the Air duet is a winner all the way, with the flamboyant Miss Fritton gallumphing to and fro with the unstoppability of John Sergeant at his finest.

There is a saucy reference by one of the boys (from St Iscariot's Catholic School) to his package, and one of the  memorable lines is “Calm down, Pumpkin”, reminiscent of Michael Winner, insurance-flogger. And yes, the music. It is well handled, both in solo mode and by a quartet of girls who provide intermittent pleasing interludes.

It would be good to come comprehensively to the task of commending the cast, but there are just too many – too many young people working like stink and giving their all to a team spirit that never falters. They all deserve a medal. To 09.07.11.

John Slim 

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