First class special effects and fine performances in King classic

Millie Harris as Carrie in Carrie: The Musical

Millie Harris as Carrie in Carrie: The Musical - Credit: West Suffolk College

REVIEW: Carrie: The Musical by Conservatoire East at West Suffolk College

So this was IT.

A return to live theatre at West Suffolk College after nine months of pent up performing arts frustrations.

Actually, it wasn’t IT, the creepy tale written by Stephen King based around a clown called Pennywise who likes to terrorise children.

1 Millie Harris as Carrie as Emily Hopper as Margeret (Carrie's mum) looks on

Millie Harris as Carrie as Emily Hopper as Margeret (Carrie's mum) looks on - Credit: West Suffolk College

This was the opening night of a take on another of his works called Carrie: The Musical.

The production was all ready to go just before Halloween before Covid restrictions halted proceedings. Relaunched just after Valentine’s Day, did I feel the love for this work created by Conservatoire East and directed by the local legend of the arts named Han Colthorpe, with music direction by Claire Bostock, both ably supported by assistant director, Lottie Pook?

Would it be joyland or misery?

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I’d seen the film starring Sissy Spacek – so I knew the story.

5 - Millie Harris as Carrie and Chante Hutchins as Miss Gardner

Millie Harris as Carrie and Chante Hutchins as Miss Gardner - Credit: West Suffolk College

For those who don’t know the plot, essentially, a young outsider called Carrie is persecuted both at home and at school as she tries to find her place in society.

Big themes resonate throughout as Carrie confronts acceptance, bullying, friendship, puberty, religion and revenge, throughout the two-hour show.

Carrie reluctantly tries to fit in but as things transpire, it seems sure that she is going to shank her redemption.

Set predominantly in an American High School, the vibe is like that of the film Dazed and Confused for people of my generation, or Stranger Things for people who aren’t in my age bracket.

6 Daisy Beckett as Chris and Seyi Imologome as Billy

Daisy Beckett as Chris and Seyi Imologome as Billy - Credit: West Suffolk College

Overall, there is a nice pace to this throughout, as the story builds to a foreboding crescendo at a ‘Senior Prom’ – and you just know it’s going to be marvellous – and it was.

Carrie herself – played by Millie Harris - grew in confidence throughout and she really captured the vulnerability and power of her character splendidly.

Notable other nods to Emily Hopper - who showed maturity beyond her years as Carrie’s mum Margaret.

As did Daisy Beckett whilst playing the leader of the trolls and Chanté Hutchins displayed genuine empathy as Miss Gardiner (Carrie’s teacher).

4 - Millie Harris as Carrie with Ben Adamson as Tommy

Millie Harris as Carrie with Ben Adamson as Tommy - Credit: West Suffolk College

Billy, played by Seyi Imologome had definite swagger. And Ben Adamson and Eloise Jackson deserve praise for their efforts as Tommy and Sue.

The set and special effects were first class and one spooky happening made me jump out of my seat.

The music was bang on thanks to Concord Theatricals Ltd and overall you come away from this fully satisfied – whilst reflecting on the idea that it is thoroughly pointless being horrible to people – as it will always end up badly. So just be nice instead.