Inverell High School Rock of Ages musical flourishes in adversity

The sets were built, costumes designed and music well rehearsed ahead of Inverell High School’s first performance of Rock of Ages on Thursday – but then disaster struck.

Star performer Kye Pactwa took someone’s advice to ‘break a leg’ too seriously and injured his knee. With no understudy and very little time, it was up to director Jade Bradley to step into the role. 

“I’m very sorry to everyone who had to go to that,” Ms Bradley joked. Although she admitted it was a “scary” moment, the dedicated cast and crew were committed to keeping the show going.

Kye was no exception, and took to the stage for the rest of the show’s run, leg brace and all. 

“He had this attitude of he wasn’t going to take no for an answer, he was going to do it, he wasn’t going to let anyone down; and he just smashed it, he was amazing,” Ms Bradley said.

“All of us are so grateful for the effort he put in.”

Ms Bradley was proud of the entire cast and crew for flourishing under adversity.  Ad-libs and improvisations turned Kye’s injury into a fun joke for the audience, who laughed liberally throughout. 

Narrator Zac Nedianu’s energetic performance set the mood.

“(He) just sold the show,” Ms Bradley said.

“His big energy starting the show was really what I think gave everybody else a big drive.”

Zac joined Jordie Cox as Sherrie Christian and Kye as Drew Boley, with Jackson Blake and Lacey Myhill as Franz and Hilda Klinemann in exploring the ups and downs of life in LA for wannabe rock stars and ambitious developers.

Alex Jeffrey also starred as passionate protester Anita Bath, alongside Amber Gerrie as the mayor, Dustin Wilks as bar owner Dennis Dupree and Lachlan Corrigan as aging rock star Stacee Jaxx.

“Everyone just shone in their role equally, and that’s what I loved about it too, these little dark horses that we weren’t expecting that then come out and you go ‘where did that come from?’” Ms Bradley said.

Led by music teacher Jenny Craven and lead guitarist Jacob Dewberry, the band embraced the challenge of the 23-song rock musical.

“It was just phenomenal, the effort that the band put in,” Ms Bradley said.

A 100-strong cast and crew helped bring the large-scale production to life, including Chris Richter on lights and sound, stage manager Andrew Kerr, Glen Partridge on set construction, costume designer Deb Mccabe and choreographer Laura King.

“We are just so lucky to have the level of talent that we have at this school,” Ms Bradley said.