Back to the Roaring 20s with KGV

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 March, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 March, 1993, 12:00am

AS the curtain rises at the King George V School hall, one is taken back in time to that period known as the roaring '20s.

There are the flappers (young women in the 1920s, known for flaunting their unconventional dress and behaviour) with feathery headdresses and long strings of pearls, and the men with tall hats . . . Welcome to the city of Chicago! Chicago will enthral audiences with the razzle-dazzle, the Dixieland jazz, songs, dances and the sharp, colourful costumes.

The musical, performed by some 150 students, is the highlight of the school's calendar. Director Claire Bowen said: ''It has been undertaken very professionally by the students and very effectively; we had great fun.

''Basically, I think it will be very good,'' she told Young Post at a dress rehearsal.

Preparation started with school-wide auditions for the cast before rehearsals went into full swing last December. With a school population of 1,200, a good one-quarter of the student body - pupils from year seven to 13 - is involved in working on the costumes, the lightings, music and as backstage crew.

The story of the musical is about corruption in the Chicago of the '20s, where one could get away with murder as long as one knows how to exploit the system.

Taking the three leading roles are Zarina Shroff, Velma Kelly and Douglas Mo - all 16 years old. The trio are all excited about the show. Zarina plays Roxie Hart who murders her lover when the latter decides to break off their adulterous relationship. She said of the musical: ''There is a lot to remember, but we are quite confident once we know what we are doing.'' The production crew and the cast also underwent vigorous and intensive rehearsals for the musical.

Douglas Mo, who plays Roxie's defence lawyer, Billy Flynn, said: ''She [Ms Bowen] likes pressurising everybody; it keeps the energy going.'' Zarina said it was easy for the cast to get into their characters. ''Once successful at the audition, the cast isexposed to the language and music of the '20s.'' Music director Tim Chapman is responsible for getting the Chicago Stompers band into shape. He said there were no difficulties because the ''band specialises in Dixieland jazz''.

And the responsibility for getting students into their garb falls on Ms Melanie Davies. ''It took a lot of time getting the people together for measurement,'' she said.

While designing the costumes, Ms Davies said she read a lot of the script ''finding out about the different scenes''.

''I used my own ideas from what I know and many of the students helped make them,'' said Ms Davies, indicating the team effort involved.

The musical, which opened on Wednesday, ends tomorrow.