BY BILLY SUTER
FORTY-FIVE Durban teenagers, under the direction of award-winning local singer, actress and Glenwood High School drama teacher Marion Loudon, will be in the spotlight this week in a musical production titled Glenwood Goes Global.
The cast comprises mostly pupils from Glenwood Boys’ High School, where Loudon has been teaching since the beginning of 2017, as well as 14 female pupils from Redham College, Eden College, Durban Girls’ High, Holy Family College and Maris Stella School.
The new production, to be staged in the Glenwood Boys’ High School hall, follows last year’s Glenwood in Motion, a tribute to music from the movies.
Featuring choreography and costumes by Shelly Haggard from Roots and Wings. Glenwood Goes Global takes a musical journey from Durban to New York, Sydney to London, Paris to Rio de Janeiro – and beyond.
“Guided by our very own Mr Sookdeo, as the comical character Phil from TV’s The Amazing Race, audiences will need to hold on to their seats as the whirlwind race begin,” says Loudon.
“We will visit Canada, where we pay tribute to musical icons such as Shania Twain and Bryan Adams, with the hits That Don’t Impress Me Much and Summer of ’69.
“The race then heads across the Atlantic to Europe, where stops are made in Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Sweden and England. We experience the music of Roxette, Edith Piaf, The Gypsy Kings, Abba, Queen and the Beatles.
“The party really gets going before interval with hits such as Whiskey in The Jar, 500 miles, Hot Hot Hot, Havana and the South Korean hit, Gangnam Style.
“The second half kicks off with Australian favourites like Men at Work’s Who Can It Be Now. Audiences then wing their way across the Pacific to Jamaica with the sultry sounds of Shabba Ranks and Mr Loverman.”
Other highlights include a fun version of Kung Fu Fighting and an energetic Cotton Eye Joe, as well as the schools choirs’ rendition of the South African classic, Weeping.
“Then it’s off to the USA, where you get a taste of the greatest pop icons of all time, including Bruce Springsteen and the hip hop classic Rappers Delight. A fleeting transit is made to Mexico, before touching down on home soil.”
The South African tribute is a highlight, performing Mango Groove’s Special Star and Kurt Darren’s Kaptein.
“Glenwood Goes Global will whisk audiences across the globe for one big party,” adds Loudon.
Personal highlights, she says, include the boys performing the Haka dance, very warrior-like, in a nod to New Zealand, and a great rendition of Staying Alive, done Bollywood style.
“Shelly, as choreographer, does the most amazing job, getting the best out of these boys and girls. She has been a driving force behind getting all these songs and dances ready – and has a real knack of drawing performances out of rugby players,” says Loudon, who herself was on stage locally last weekend in Swinging Sixties, performing alongside Dave Marks, at Umbilo’s Rhumbelow Theatre.
What are the challenges and rewards of directing pupils?
“The challenge is the students’ commitment, as they have such busy lives and cannot commit to a rehearsal schedule. It is very rare that we ever rehearse with a full cast,” explains Loudon.
“The rewards are tremendous, though – the improvement in these kids, in just two months, is incredible. They are singing and dancing and have a whole new group of friends … and that is so lovely to watch, especially from boys who started out really shy.”
Tickets for Glenwood Goes Global cost R50 each and performances are at 7pm from Wednesday to Saturday, July 25, 26, 27 and 28. They can be bought at the door on the night, or at the school’s finance office.